Special Education Teacher Attracted to Urban Campus
“Since I didn’t have a background in teaching, I wanted to get a master’s degree in education to provide me with the tools to be an effective teacher, and validate my experience as a teacher.” —Malinda Hinton, M.Ed. ’13, Special Education
Hometown: Lilburn, GA
Education: M.Ed. ’13, Special Education (Behavior and Learning Disabilities), Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
B.A. ’09, Psychology, Spelman College, Atlanta, GA
Job Title: Middle School Math Teacher, 6th Grade
Employer: Gwinnett County Public Schools
Special Education in Malinda Hinton’s Words
Babysitting led to career in special education
When I was younger, I babysat a set of twins. One day, one of the toddlers started screaming and wouldn’t stop. That experience was when I realized I wanted to work with children with emotional issues. After receiving my bachelor’s degree, I volunteered at a school counselor’s office and eventually became a substitute teacher. Since I didn’t have a background in education, rather than enroll in a teacher preparation program through the county school districts, I decided to earn a master’s in education to provide me with the tools I needed to be an effective special education teacher.
Urban campus attracted me to the program
Since my alma mater was a traditional college setting, I knew attending an urban campus in the heart of the city would provide me with a totally different experience. Besides my cohort, the teacher support was amazing – I had never experienced anything like that before. For example, my mentor teacher and I were not communicating well. After sharing this with my professor, she showed up the next day to have a meeting with both of us. Following that meeting, we were a perfect match. Another rewarding experience was participating in the Network for Enhancing Teacher Quality (NET-Q) program and presenting a poster at its conference on mathematics.
Offered teaching position before graduating
In the middle of my student teaching experience, the school’s administrators thought I was a perfect fit for the school and they hired me one year before the program ended. Most recently, my administrator asked me to be a mentor teacher next year. This will be a new experience for me and I can’t wait to get started. I will be responsible for working directly with a student teacher who will shadow me every day for about three months. They will teach my class and I will help expose student teachers to what teaching life is all about.