The Smoke Signal, MSJ's Official Newspaper


Special Education Spotlight Quotes

By: Staff Writers Mallika Gupta, Amber Lee, Kevin Li, Tanushri Sundar, and Zen Thumparkkul


The Special Education Department at MSJ teaches a wide range of special-needs students. To bring awareness to this department, the Smoke Signal collected information from special education faculty about the department’s structure, activities, and different classes. Here are some quotes from some of the Special Education teachers about their experiences in the department.


Stephanie Atwell (Resource)

“A lot of students have stress, and if you have an IEP, you probably have more stress. So having an outlet and a way to creatively unwind so that you can continue with your academic rigor is important. And most teachers don’t give grades for art, and so I allow space for them to feel that they’re being productive without wasting time.”


Tai Chung (Intensive Instruction)

“It’s very different [teaching special education]. But, most of the students, you show them love and compassion, they’ll start buying in. It’s very different, I can’t really complain. There’s days where if a general ed. teacher came in and observed, and was like ‘Oh my gosh, your class is rowdy,’ I could see that as being an amazing day. So, it varies.”


Ronalyn Lumain (Moderate)

“I will give them [the students] all of my resources, either financially, either my time, or anything, I will give the best that I can to help them improve, become more functional in their lives.”


Ryan Taylor (Resource)

“We like students to be accountable for their own goals, so they need to be aware of them and they need to really show that they want to make progress towards it, so they have to fill out pages sometimes, like worksheets at the end of the week [that say] ‘What was your goal? Did you accomplish the goal?’, stuff like that.”


Tai Chung (Intensive Instruction)

“General ed teachersthey teach like one lesson, and that lesson is right down the middle. Some students go above it, some students go below it. Special ed teachers teach nine different lessons for each student. The central idea is there, but then you have to modify it for each student’s abilities. So you have to know your student’s strengths, weaknesses, preferences, learning styles.”


Sujata Singh (Moderate-Severe)

“But the ultimate goal is that…I should teach them to transition out of school into society at the best of their abilities…and guide them to the government agencies where they can get life-long support.”


Sujata Singh (Moderate-Severe)

“Each student has about six goals, which are very different. So six times nine—45 goals I work every day. The teacher has to be very motivated, very professional, and very knowledgable about the type of work I’m doing. I can’t just cook it up and do it all on my own.”


Sally Tse (Mild-Moderate)

“I’m hoping that they won’t be as intimidated when they transition over to Ohlone if that’s where they’re choosing to go. [I’m hoping] they’ll know where to go and they’ll feel more comfortable with the area.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *