Hello! My name is Jennifer McDaniel and I am happy to share my professional learning portfolio with you!
Have you ever had a dream or aspiration that you allowed to slip away from you!? If so, did you one day reach a point at which your life's circumstances began to gently guide you to remember that dream and make it come true?
Welcome to my world!
I had always dreamed of becoming a teacher. As a child, I volunteered at the daycare center of a local church. As I grew into my teenage years, I was sought after by friends and family members for tutoring assistance. Then, when I was finishing up my sophomore year of high school, I had the opportunity to apply for one of the most meaningful educational experiences I have had to date - the opportunity to become a part of the Philadelphia Freedom Schools (PFS). (You can read more about the history of PFS here: http://www.sfacs.us/links/the_freedom_school_movement.) Upon selection, I trained to become a Junior Servant Leader, assisting a Senior Servant Leader in providing culturally-based math and reading instruction to Philadelphia students during a 6-week summer program. The following two summers, I worked with PFS as a Servant Leader Intern. This experience helped me to recognize my goal of becoming a teacher, specifically in the areas of elementary education and history.
In 2005, while working towards my Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in African American Studies at Temple University, I took a part-time job with the federal Department of Homeland Security. My intention was to support myself as I finished school, applied for graduate school, secured an apartment and a car, and established my independence. However, I remained with the federal government, eventually converting to full-time employment following my graduation from Temple in 2006. I continued onto graduate school, obtaining a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Curriculum and Instruction from American Intercontinental University in 2007. I used this degree to advance my federal career, eventually tapping into my teaching passion to help train employees within my agency.
As my life continued to evolve, I married a wonderful man and gave birth to beautiful twin boys. Then, In June of 2016, my twins were each diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) just two months shy of their third birthday. As my husband and I began to navigate this new world, we realized that the academic and social future of our sons would not be easy. Remembering how much I loved to teach, and feeling helpless at my lack of knowledge about ASD and special education, I decided to obtain my teaching certification so that I could change careers and gain more knowledge about special education law and procedure.
In April of 2017, I entered into the Post-Bachelor's Teaching Certification Program at Drexel University with a concentration in Pre-K - 4 education. I plan to obtain additional certifications in Special Education and Applied Behavioral Analysis. To begin getting formal teaching experience, I am also in the process of applying to become a Substitute Tacher for the School District of Philadelphia (via Kelly Educational Staffing) and an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher with VIPKID. I hope to work with all children, including those with special needs, those in the general education setting, and those who are mentally gifted.
I am excited about this journey, and am equally excited to share it with you!