Every day Ivonne Perez arrives at Chaparral HS with a smile on her face knowing she will have another day of teaching her favorite students new lessons.
“I enjoy my job very much…,” said Perez. Especially when she sees her students improving every day and seeing the hard work they put in.
Perez teaches students with learning and physical disabilities which is what makes her day an adventure.
She became interested in teaching students with disabilities when she took a class in 1998 called Behavior Modification at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). Behavior Modification is the development of behavioral pattern through the use of some learning techniques. Perez transferred from UTEP to New Mexico State University that same year, where she finished her degree after five years. She completed her studies after finishing four years of college and one year of student teaching. .
Her first job in this field began at Bridges Academy Private School in El Paso, Texas. At first, Perez felt nervous and anxious to begin teaching these students.
She changed jobs transferring to the Gadsden Independent School District where she has been teaching students with disabilities for 19 years. She started at Gadsden Middle School and worked with disabled students for nine years, then worked five years at Chaparral Middle School and has now been working for four years at Chaparral High School.
“I enjoy teaching here because the community makes me feel welcomed.” says Perez.
She feels nervous and excited to see how the students will react towards the new activities she has for them.
“It’s a very difficult task to fulfill every students’ needs, each student is different; one student might be having a great day but another student can be struggling with the day’s activity,” says Perez.
The students’ day consists of many different activities, for example: follow the students schedule, take them to elective classes such as P.E and teach them academic skills which are math, language arts, social studies and science. “These kids are very individual, most of them can be really independent but others need more help,” says Perez. Some of the older kids have learned to become more independent; knowing she can help them become a better person is what
Perez has grown to love about her job more each day.
“The moment when the little light bulb inside their head turns on, that makes me happy.” said Perez. As a Special Education Teacher, she enjoys seeing students learn new things. She feels blessed knowing she has made the right decision in choosing this career.
The most valuable lesson Perez has learned throughout her career is to “never give up, you’re blessed to be working with these kids.”