This I Believe, by Shelby Dombroski

This summer, TCU College of Education professors Steve Pryzmus and Michael Faggella-Luby had students write This I Believe Essays at the beginning and end of their course studying Exceptional Children and Youth at Risk.   The next postings will feature the students’ final essays. 

I didn’t believe that my thoughts on special population students could had changed any but when I truly evaluated my thoughts and beliefs, I had realized they had.  I believe that all students are important and needed to be valued in the classroom no matter what concern, language proficiency, or disability they bring to the table. They are all able to be funds of knowledge on some point or experience. I have also added, when it comes to language how ca I use different forms of translanguaging into my classroom to better benefit my students. I myself need to be able to adapt and be encouraging to all types of languaging in my classroom. This brings me to my original point that I had at the start of the class. I believe the education of students’ at-risk needs to hold a high importance to all educators and leaders of education. Education leaders such as campus administrators should model positive relationships with faculty and families. Then the idea of supports will trickle down to the classroom teachers.  The foundation of a student’s education lies in the arms of their teachers. We can all remember the teacher or teachers that changed our life or view of a subject, and all those teachers have in common is their ability to drive each individual student to the best they can be.  Each teacher had a way to motivate, empathize, relate, and connect to us as students, to help each and everyone one of us grow. We need more game-changing educators to help motivate and relate of all our students who are given the at-risk label.  I believe we need educators who are willing to cause change and help each and every student to their own personally level of success. Each teacher needs to find new and innovative ways to present the content but also be able to relate it to the lives of the students sitting in their own classroom. I believe that every student with the at-risk label has the chance to succeed in their own individual goals for life, especially when they have an educator that drives them towards that goal. No matter what makes a student at-risk one of the key aspects to remember is that those students spend most of their day in a classroom, what kind of educator do you want to be? I believe we as educators can all be one of those teachers you remember in the future, if we just use different tools and ideas to help connect, relate, empathize, and motivate our students understand the core content that will later help drive their own future.

I Believe in Encouragment

Author: Ashley Tilley, TCU Student, Fall 2014

Isaac Newton once said “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” This quote reminds me that, encouragement I have received from countless others has given me the ability to see much further than I would have ever thought possible. I truly believe that no one who is successful got to where they are now alone. It was through the encouragement of someone else that they were able to realize their potential.

I believe in encouraging those in need of reaching their true potential. Without the encouragement of my sister, teachers, and mentors I probably would not have as many accomplishments as I do today. I believe words of encouragement carry power because they cause the person on the receiving end to realize what they are truly capable of.

I would not be at TCU today if I had not received the encouragement to apply from my mentor in high school. My senior year was very stressful. I had no clue what school I wanted to go to but I knew it would not be TCU. I went to Poly which is about fifteen minutes from TCU and every year we took trips to visit. The trips made me feel happy and welcome and I really enjoyed them. However when I reflected over all of the visits to the school I did not like the feeling I got. I started to feel insecure, and I questioned my decision to apply. I thought I would never get in because I was not smart enough. I thought that even if I did get accepted I surely would not get a scholarship. Obviously I was wrong, and my mentor helped me to realize this. When I told her the reasons for me not wanting to even try she said “You might as well try the worst thing that could happen is you don’t try and then you will never know whether it was possible.” She really helped me to realize that the way I was thinking was just an excuse not to try. I am very grateful to have had her to encourage me to apply.

I know how powerful encouragement can be. One day I hope I am able to encourage others to do things they never thought were possible. Also I will make sure to encourage those around me to go for the things they believe in because doubt should never be a factor in any person’s decisions.

I believe in the value of human life

Author: LaTonya Whitley, TCU Student, Criminal Justice Major, Published Fall 2012

I believe in the value of human life because I am a survivor. I have survived many things, but the one story that I hold near and dear to my heart is being a survivor of rape. My mom would allow numerous men to sleep in the bed with us at an early age; I believe I was around five or six when I first discovered “being touched”. I remember waking up to one of these men, a family friend, touching me. He had removed my panties and performed a sexual act on me. Confused I immediately got out of bed with my panties in my hand searching for my mother. My mother happened to be in the next room on the couch with a man, who was not my father. I stood at my bedroom door with my panties in my hand and when she saw me, naked with just a t-shirt on, she yelled at me to return to my room. I obeyed, went back in my room and slept next to the family friend who just molested me. From the age of five-six to age sixteen, I spent my life being a victim of molestation, numerous attempted rapes and one rape. The predators were family friends, adult cousins; ironically none of the perpetrators were strangers. I tried telling my mom on numerous occasions, but my pleas for help, fell on deaf ears. I remember trying to get help from my father but he just made excuses why he did not rescue me. About three years ago, I discovered why. He has been accused of molesting my cousin and having sexual relations with his biological daughter, my sister. I grew up angry, I was angry with my mother, my father and God. The sexual abuse I experienced, encouraged my promiscuous life style and it prevented me from having the knowledge to choose a decent man.

I spent the great part of my life in relationships that were toxic. I would go from one bad relationship to the next; always looking for one person to love me, and I thought I could find it by having sex. I would work, go to school, party, travel; I would do anything not to face reality. I was oblivious to the outside world, and the outside world was oblivious to me. Then one day, through no fault of mine, I lost my job and my world came crashing down. After I lost my job, I became extremely angry, I did not want to be around anyone; not even my children whom I love so much.

One day I read a book, called, Initiation by Elizabeth Haich and it changed my life. I began to work on me and what I needed to improve my life. Obtaining a job was a factor, but rebuilding a new me was more important. I realized that God has been with me all my life, even through the suffering I experienced. He only let me suffer long enough to teach me the value of human life, specially my life.
Though I experienced a lot of hardship throughout my lifetime, I have many things to be grateful about. First, I allowed God in my heart, mind, body and soul. I have four children and none of them suffered the way I suffered; as a matter of fact three are in college and one currently attends high school.

Someone once told me that bad things happen to good people, those people who have been hurt by life. I have learned that external forces do not have to devalue a human life; rather it can be used as a positive reinforcement to inspire change. This is why I believe!