Brechael

Brechael is an education resource specialist, working with students who have learning disabilities. She discusses the benefits of being a parent who works in education.

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My name is Brechael Walker,
I'm 31 years old,
BRECHAEL, 31
EDUCATION RESOURCE SPECIALIST

and I'm an education
resource specialist.

An education resource specialist

essentially is a
special education teacher.

The only difference is
instead of teaching

an entire classroom
of students at one time,

I'm a case manager in that
I see about 30 students

throughout a day at different times

within a small
group learning environment.

My largest group can be about six
to seven students at one time.

And I'm working with students

exclusively with
learning disabilities.

And those disabilities can range

from mild to moderate
learning disabilities.

Students with autism,
who are on the high functioning

spectrum of the disability,

students with specific
learning disabilities,

such as reading comprehension,
math comprehension,

students who need
support in writing.

So, I work with students
varying in learning disabilities

at the elementary level, as well.

So, within a given year
as an education resource specialist,
BRECHAEL’S REPSONSIBILITIES:

I am a case manager,
so I'm responsible for the

individualized education plans
for each of my students.
CREATE INDIVIDUALIZED EDUCATION PLANS

And with that,
that includes me writing reports
WRITING PROGRESS REPORTS ON STUDENTS

and holding the yearly meetings
with each of the students
HOLDING YEARLY MEETINGS WITH STUDENTS

and the individualized
education plan team.
AND TEAMS

And in addition to that,
I am creating progress reports

to provide the teachers
and the parents with

a level of understanding as to
how their child is progressing

throughout the school year.

I'm collaborating with teachers,
with parents as I stated,
COLLABORATE WITH TEACHERS & PARENTS

and overall,
I'm responsible for making sure

that my students
with learning disabilities
ADAPT CURRICULUM TO STUDENT NEEDS

are able to access the curriculum.

So, I might be pushing
into the classroom

and providing services
and teaching a small group

of students within
the general education setting.

And providing them with resources

so that they can access
the curriculum content

that they're working on
with their main teacher.

I collaborate with teachers,
but my direct supervisor

is the principal of the school.

So, I work with the principal
and the administration at the school,

and I am a case manager
in that I oversee

all of the students
on my case load's IEPs.

And another word for IEP
is individualized education plan.

And so in conjunction
with the school psychologist,

the teachers, the parents,
and the principal,

we all meet together yearly
for each of the students

on my case load and we discuss
the progress of that student.

And how we can better
make change and goals

to help that student
within the school year.

For a specific student
that I might help

within the classroom,
I may do a small group

within the back of the classroom

after the teacher has done
a overall lesson.

And so, I will provide
that lesson in a way

that the student can
better understand it.

So I'm bringing in visuals.

I may take that student
out of the classroom

and we may do some movement
or kinesthetic learning

where they have tangibles
where they can touch and feel.

If they're working
on a butterfly lesson,

I might bring some visuals
in about butterflies,

and just making sure
that I'm teaching

to that student's strengths,
and every student has a strength.

Every student has a weakness,
so I'm making sure

that they're able to
understand the lesson

within the classroom through
just bringing in resources

and curriculum manipulatives.

I work with a lot of
students with autism,

and a lot of my students
on my case load that have autism

are on the high functioning spectrum,

but some of them have
difficulties with behavior.

So, this particular student
wasn't able to sit in his seat.

He was roaming
around the classroom,

sometimes leaving the classroom

at inappropriate times
throughout the school day,

and so I made a behavior chart
for him to make sure

that he is rewarded every time
that he is in his seat.

He's focusing on the instruction
that the teacher is providing.

And so I would check in with him
throughout the school day

to make sure that he was
able to meet his goals,

and his goals are written on the log
that he has on his desk.

And so, every time either the teacher
saw that he was doing well

or I checked in with him
throughout the day

and saw that he was doing well
towards meeting his goal,

we would give him a
little sticker or token.

So, throughout the day –

he would get a prize
at the end of the day.

And that's another part of my job.

I'm always monitoring students'
progress and behaviors

in meeting their academic standards

or meeting their
behavior standards as well.

I'm currently making $70,000

and I'm in my sixth
year of teaching.

I started making $48,000.

That was my initial salary
in my first year of teaching,

so I've had a influx in salary
over the past six years.

I don't get bonuses per se,
but there is a salary scale

that most school districts have,

and you get an incremental
bump every year

based on your experience
or based on doing

continuing growth
educational coursework.

So if you are going by years
you would go down

on the salary scale,
but if you go by experience

and you're taking educational
coursework over those years,

you'll move over to the right
on the salary scale.

And both of those, either years
or the educational courses

that you take as a teacher can
increase your salary significantly.

However, there is a cap on
the salary scale for teachers.

As a teacher,
I have a retirement package.

Medical is included with that,

and then I'm also paying into
the Teacher's Union as well.

My path, I completed four years
of a bachelor's degree
BRECHAEL, 31
EDUCATION RESOURCE SPECIALIST

and then two years
of graduate school.

So collectively,
it's six years of schooling.

To go the special education route,
you don't necessarily

have to go to graduate school
but that's just something,

that was a goal
that I wanted to obtain.

And you can be a
special education teacher

with a bachelor's degree
and four years of schooling

with a combination of
student teaching as well.

The requirements
for teacher certification

are different in each state.

So, California
has their own requirements

and various states
across their country

have their own requirements as well.

Well my mom is an educator,
so I've always seen her teaching

and I always loved
what she was doing.

And I knew I wanted
to be a teacher,

but I didn't know in what capacity.

I went to college and received
my bachelor's degree from UNLV.

And while I was in college,
I was working as

an instructional assistant
within a school setting.

And I knew then that I wanted
to work in special education

because the classroom
that I was working in

was a special education classroom.

And I didn't know exactly
if I wanted to go into that career

until I started to research

what were the high need
areas in education.

And science, math,
and special education

are those high need areas
across the country.

So, I knew I would always have a job
and I would be working with children

and I love working with children.

My bachelor's degree is in psychology

and typically, psychology majors
go on to graduate school.

So I knew, going into graduate school,

that I would have to pursue
a teaching credential.

And so that brought me to
Loyola Marymount University

which has a combined
teaching credential

and master's program
in special education.

So within two years,

I was able to receive
my teaching certification

in special education
and my master's degree.

And during my master's program,

I worked as an instructional assistant

under a resource specialist.

And I also took some time
within the master's program

to do student teaching.

And I was able to gain
a lot more experience

as to how to be an
effective resource specialist.

When I was in my master's program,
I had student teaching.

So that kind of gave me
an opportunity to see what

the day to day of teaching

and working as an education
resource specialist was like.

Obviously when you get on the job

and you're working
in your own classroom

with your own students,

things are going to be
drastically different.

But I think going to grad school

gave me a lot of
experience and knowledge

to feel prepared when I go
into that classroom day one.

I remember graduating
with my master's degree

and feeling so unprepared
for going out and interviewing

and I remember creating portfolios
of like, my curriculum vitae,

which is lesson plans
and just my experience

in a portfolio with my resume
and a business card

for each of my interviews.

And I actually interviewed 10 times
and I got all 10 job offers.

So, by the fall,
after I graduated in May,

I had a position immediately
following graduate school.

So, I think going to graduate school
and being a teacher

is definitely going to put you ahead

of teachers who just have
a bachelor's degree.

When I was applying,
I knew where to apply for positions

from a helpful website
called edjoin.org.

And edujoin.org has all of
the educational positions

available throughout
the state of California.

In special education,

I think there's always
room for growth.

You can work with students
with varying disabilities.

Learning disabilities,
student who have autism spectrum,

which is on the rise
and is a high need area

within special education.

And students with mild
to moderate learning disabilities

or moderate to severe
learning disabilities.

So, there's varying,
different ways that you can

work with students
in the special education space.

Right now I'm in
my sixth year of teaching.

And I think maybe in the
next two to three years,

I would like to pursue
another master's degree

and possibly work in the
speech pathology space

as a speech pathologist.

Still working in special education

and working with students
with disabilities,

but with speech disabilities.

If someone wants to pursue
a career in special education,

I would suggest them going
and becoming a teaching assistant

within a special education classroom

so that they can kind of
gain access and learn firsthand

what the day to day of
a special education teacher does.

Mentoring is very important.

Tutoring is also another space
that you can pursue as well

to see if you really love
working with children

with students and within
the education space overall.

When you're a teacher,
you're working with students

and you're working with children.

And they're our future.

And it's so important that
you love what you're doing

and you come in with
a positive attitude every day.

And special education
and working in education

is the most amazing
and fulfilling job there is.

My name is Brechael Walker
BRECHAEL, 31
EDUCATION RESOURCE SPECIALIST

I'm 31-years-old and
I'm an Education Resource Specialist.

I'm currently making $70,000
and I'm in my sixth year of teaching.

I started making $48,000,
that was my initial salary

in my first year of teaching.

So I've had a influx
in salary over the past six years.

To date, I feel very secure
and confident in our finances.

Maybe five years ago,
not so much.

Because I was just starting out
in my career.

But right now, I feel very confident
in our finances and savings.

So, I graduated with
my Bachelors Degree

from the University of Nevada,
Las Vegas.

And I was fortunate enough
to have my parents

help me pay for,
or completely pay for

my undergrad degree.

And so when I pursued
a graduate degree

from Loyala Mary Mount University
I took out school loans

to the tune of about $20,000 a year
because I wasn't working at the time.

And I did pursue student teaching
while I was in graduate school.

And so, during that time
the $60,000 overall,

I started making payments
six months after I graduated.

And so to date,
I have $37,000 that I owe

on my school loans.

There's also a Teacher Loan
Forgiveness Program

if you make 120 payments
which is about 10 years of payments,
THE TEACHER LOAN FORGIVENESS
PROGRAM IS A PROGRAM FROM

on your school loans.
THE US DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION.

You can, and you're working
for five consecutive years
TO LEARN MORE GO TO:
STUDENTAID.ED.GOV

as a teacher,
within an at-risk school setting

you can get some,
or part of your loans paid off.

So that's a great advantage

to also working in the
education space, as well.

Currently I'm making $70,000.

And, on a monthly basis I am
making $5,800.

But I'm bringing home
$4,300 of that a month.

And I'm paying for my school loans.

Right now, it's about $350 a month.

I have collectively $37,000
in school loans that I owe.

And then I'm also
paying teacher's dues

which is about $135 a month.

My husband works
in the non-profit space

for an organization that works
in the civil rights space.

And he makes $95,000.

So collectively, we're making
about $165,000 annually.

And so, with his check
and with my check monthly,

we have our mortgage,
which is about $3,500 a month.

We have his school loans, as well
which is about $900,

or excuse me, $500 a month.

We have a child
and her diapers and formula

and medical needs are
about $150, $100 a month.

And food and groceries are about
$400 a month.

And I'm trying to think,
utilities are also an expense

which is probably about $400 a month.

I know our utility,
or not our utilities,

but our cell phone
is about $235 a month.

And I think that's kind of
give or take where we're at

with our finances on a monthly basis.

What we try to do is save
half of my check a month.

So, we're probably saving about
$2,100, $2,200 a month.

And so we try to either
save my whole check

or save half of it
and exclusively live

off of my husband's check.

So that we're saving,
because saving is so important.

If I get sick or if the baby's needs
come into play

then we also need savings,
no matter what.

We were saving before our baby

but we haven't started saving
for her college fund.

And things of that sort just yet.
But I know that's something

in the future
that we need to work on.

My family has always
invested in real estate.

And so through seeing it as a child,
into my adulthood,

I always knew
I wanted to invest in real estate.

So, when we got married
our parents helped us

in buying an apartment building,

a five-unit apartment building
in Los Angeles.

And so with that, my husband and I
manage the apartment building.

And collect the rents
And we're able to,

that's a part of our savings, as well.
Monthly.

In being able to invest
in the real estate,

and manage the
apartment building that we have.

The five-unit apartment building
that we have generates

about $3,500 a month.

And then what we take home
is about $2,000 a month

after the mortgage is paid off
and after the utilities are paid for.

And, with that we're able
to pay our mortgage

or part of our mortgage and
other expenses that occur

through managing
the apartment building.

Yeah, money is really a means
to be able to pursue

what you want to do in life.

And so my husband and I
love to travel.

We love to eat good food.

And, we love to have experiences.

So, we want to make sure
that we're always on target

in saving in order to
have some of those life luxuries,

such as traveling and
having just experiences overall.

In pursuing a career in education
you have a great work/life balance.
BRECHAEL, 31
EDUCATION RESOURCE SPECIALIST

My day typically starts at 7:30.

And then school gets out at 2:10 PM.

But I am writing the IEPs
that I discussed,

the individualized education plans.

I'm having IEP meetings after school.

I'm meeting with
parents and teachers.

And then I'm lesson
planning and preparing

for the following day.

So usually I will leave the school
at around four, 4:30.

And then I'll take whatever
materials are necessary

for me to lesson plan
when I get home.

And I'll work an additional
two or three hours at home

in writing IEPs and
planning and preparing for

either the next day, or that
following week for my students.

On the weekends, I usually
take a break on Saturdays.

And then Sunday evenings
I kind of wind down

and I get ready
to prepare for the following week.

The perks of teaching,
obviously, you have summers off.

Which is great.

So, I'm able to take some time off
during the summers.

I work at a year-round school,
so we're on for 12 weeks

and then we're off for five weeks.

So that's great perk in that
while everyone else

is still on the regular
traditional school calendar

I can take those five weeks off
while everyone else is at school

to prepare for the
following 12 weeks,

or just take a break
and do some traveling

within the school year.

I just had a baby so I'm
currently on maternity leave.

I work at a year-round school so,
our last day of school was in July.

And so I've been on
maternity leave since July.

And we're in December right now

I'll be going back after the New Year
on January 9th.

So, I've had a great, was is that?

Five months off of maternity leave
with my baby.

So depending on what
district you're working in,

they have,
or my particular district I work with

the Long Beach
Unified School District,

they have what's called STAT leave.

So that's half pay
that you're getting while

you're out on maternity leave.

My baby is four months old right now.

And I am extremely excited
to get back to work

but I'm also going to be missing
staying at home

and being a mother.

I'm excited to go back to work
because my students,

I haven't seen them since July.

And so, just getting back
into the swing of teaching

and making sure
that they're progressing

on their learning goals is
going to be my main priority.

So, yeah I'm just excited
overall to get back to work.

I haven't gotten back to work yet

so I'm not sure what that juggle
is going to be like.

With juggling the career
and the baby

but I do have a lot of help.

My mom will be watching my baby
while I go back to work.

And so I do have a lot of support.

So, I'm hoping to be able to juggle
both very swiftly and smoothly

and have a good transition
back to work.

My name is Brechael Walker,
I'm 31 years old,
BRECHAEL, 31
EDUCATION RESOURCE SPECIALIST

and I'm an education
resource specialist.

An education resource specialist

essentially is a
special education teacher.

The only difference is
instead of teaching

an entire classroom
of students at one time,

I'm a case manager in that
I see about 30 students

throughout a day at different times

within a small
group learning environment.

My largest group can be about six
to seven students at one time.

And I'm working with students

exclusively with
learning disabilities.

And those disabilities can range

from mild to moderate
learning disabilities.

Students with autism,
who are on the high functioning

spectrum of the disability,

students with specific
learning disabilities,

such as reading comprehension,
math comprehension,

students who need
support in writing.

So, I work with students
varying in learning disabilities

at the elementary level, as well.

So, within a given year
as an education resource specialist,
BRECHAEL’S REPSONSIBILITIES:

I am a case manager,
so I'm responsible for the

individualized education plans
for each of my students.
CREATE INDIVIDUALIZED EDUCATION PLANS

And with that,
that includes me writing reports
WRITING PROGRESS REPORTS ON STUDENTS

and holding the yearly meetings
with each of the students
HOLDING YEARLY MEETINGS WITH STUDENTS

and the individualized
education plan team.
AND TEAMS

And in addition to that,
I am creating progress reports

to provide the teachers
and the parents with

a level of understanding as to
how their child is progressing

throughout the school year.

I'm collaborating with teachers,
with parents as I stated,
COLLABORATE WITH TEACHERS & PARENTS

and overall,
I'm responsible for making sure

that my students
with learning disabilities
ADAPT CURRICULUM TO STUDENT NEEDS

are able to access the curriculum.

So, I might be pushing
into the classroom

and providing services
and teaching a small group

of students within
the general education setting.

And providing them with resources

so that they can access
the curriculum content

that they're working on
with their main teacher.

I collaborate with teachers,
but my direct supervisor

is the principal of the school.

So, I work with the principal
and the administration at the school,

and I am a case manager
in that I oversee

all of the students
on my case load's IEPs.

And another word for IEP
is individualized education plan.

And so in conjunction
with the school psychologist,

the teachers, the parents,
and the principal,

we all meet together yearly
for each of the students

on my case load and we discuss
the progress of that student.

And how we can better
make change and goals

to help that student
within the school year.

For a specific student
that I might help

within the classroom,
I may do a small group

within the back of the classroom

after the teacher has done
a overall lesson.

And so, I will provide
that lesson in a way

that the student can
better understand it.

So I'm bringing in visuals.

I may take that student
out of the classroom

and we may do some movement
or kinesthetic learning

where they have tangibles
where they can touch and feel.

If they're working
on a butterfly lesson,

I might bring some visuals
in about butterflies,

and just making sure
that I'm teaching

to that student's strengths,
and every student has a strength.

Every student has a weakness,
so I'm making sure

that they're able to
understand the lesson

within the classroom through
just bringing in resources

and curriculum manipulatives.

I work with a lot of
students with autism,

and a lot of my students
on my case load that have autism

are on the high functioning spectrum,

but some of them have
difficulties with behavior.

So, this particular student
wasn't able to sit in his seat.

He was roaming
around the classroom,

sometimes leaving the classroom

at inappropriate times
throughout the school day,

and so I made a behavior chart
for him to make sure

that he is rewarded every time
that he is in his seat.

He's focusing on the instruction
that the teacher is providing.

And so I would check in with him
throughout the school day

to make sure that he was
able to meet his goals,

and his goals are written on the log
that he has on his desk.

And so, every time either the teacher
saw that he was doing well

or I checked in with him
throughout the day

and saw that he was doing well
towards meeting his goal,

we would give him a
little sticker or token.

So, throughout the day –

he would get a prize
at the end of the day.

And that's another part of my job.

I'm always monitoring students'
progress and behaviors

in meeting their academic standards

or meeting their
behavior standards as well.

I'm currently making $70,000

and I'm in my sixth
year of teaching.

I started making $48,000.

That was my initial salary
in my first year of teaching,

so I've had a influx in salary
over the past six years.

I don't get bonuses per se,
but there is a salary scale

that most school districts have,

and you get an incremental
bump every year

based on your experience
or based on doing

continuing growth
educational coursework.

So if you are going by years
you would go down

on the salary scale,
but if you go by experience

and you're taking educational
coursework over those years,

you'll move over to the right
on the salary scale.

And both of those, either years
or the educational courses

that you take as a teacher can
increase your salary significantly.

However, there is a cap on
the salary scale for teachers.

As a teacher,
I have a retirement package.

Medical is included with that,

and then I'm also paying into
the Teacher's Union as well.