Meet the New Faculty of Special Education

The Special Education department at UMF is proud to welcome some new, bright, exciting members to the professional team. Kate MacLeod, Dominique Tetzlaff, and Kevin Good are the newest professors in special education at UMF.

Kate MacLeod is joining the the special education faculty in the Secondary and Special Education Division here at UMF. She is completing her doctorate in Special Education at Syracuse University and holds a Certificate of Advanced Study in Disability Studies from Syracuse and a Masters of Science in Special Education from Long Island University. Kate was a high school special education teacher and inclusion facilitator in New York City, and has expertise working with urban adolescents with disabilities. Her research and writing has been published in academic journals such as Educational Leadership, Disability & Society, Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, and International Journal of Whole Schooling, educational magazines such as Rethinking Schools and TASH Connections, and book anthologies focused on inclusive and special education. Her current research agenda is focused on best practices for the inclusion of students with complex support needs; understanding the culture of inclusive schools; and the development of teacher networks to support inclusive education. Kate is also an educational consultant who works with administrators, teachers, and families in the northeast and across the country to support their work to create and improve inclusive practice and culture for all students. She is a new resident of Unity, Maine and when she is not teaching, researching, or working with schools and families, she loves to play music with her husband and friends, and spend time outside with her dog Amelia. Kate is absolutely thrilled to join the UMF community!

 

 

Dominique Tetzlaff has been in the field of education for almost ten years. She started her career as a special education teacher in a middle school serving at-risk students in a high poverty community. Dominique recently completed her doctorate in Special Education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and she specializes in high incidence disabilities, using technology for students with disabilities, and methods for teaching English Language Learners. Her dissertation study Using Mobile Technology to Increase the Math Achievement and Engagement of Students with Disabilities focused on the critical design features and implementation of mobile devices to support teacher-directed instruction. Dominique hopes to further expand this research line to develop guidelines for using digital lessons in the core content areas for students with disabilities. Dominique is very excited to be part of the UMF faculty and is looking forward to enjoying the community with her family!

 

 

Kevin Good is an instructor in Special Education.  He holds two master’s degrees and is preparing to finish his Ph.D. His focus in special education has resulted in various experiences including teaching, research, advocacy, and assistive technology consulting.  Kevin is interested in all areas of special education, but his primary teaching and research is on assistive technology, inclusive education, teacher education, literacy, academic and behavioral instructional approaches, and best practices in instruction and technology use.  His primary goal is to develop and mentor future teachers as they prepare to meet the needs of all learners.  He is also excited to work with community members with their assistive technology needs be it related to pk-12 education, higher education, or life.  As the Maine CITE coordinator at UMF, Kevin seeks to help all individuals at UMF learn more about the roles of assistive technology in the classroom and in life. Kevin is excited to be joining the UMF community because of its longstanding reputation in teacher education and its location in one of the most beautiful places in the country!

UMF is very excited to welcome Kate, Dominique, and Kevin to our faculty. If you see them around campus be sure to say hello and welcome them to Farmington. From all of here at UMF, we want to give a warm welcome to our new professors in Special Education!

Teaching with Fulbright in Bulgaria

Caroline Murphy is a recent UMF graduate who is working with Fulbright as an English Teaching Assistant (ETA) in Bulgaria. Caroline too the time to answer some of our questions about her experience thus far.

 

What made you choose Bulgaria?

I chose Bulgaria because I was very interested in living in eastern Europe and experiencing a culture different from my own, because the Bulgarian Fulbright Program is a very active and growing organization, and because I really fell in love with the country whilst in the application process – I could really see myself living and teaching there.

bulgaria-2

What are you hoping to gain from this experience?

From this experience I am hoping to gain a broader perspective on world affairs, to challenge myself to explore new teaching methods and a different way of life, and to develop my skills as an ESL (English as a second language) educator as that is one career I am considering after Fulbright.

 

How has teaching in another country changed your viewpoint/philosophy of teaching in general?

Being an ETA in Bulgaria has reinforced why I want to be a teacher and strengthened many aspects of my teaching philosophy – being as creative as possible in all aspects of classroom life, never giving up on students, always reflecting on my own teaching and trying to be better.

 

What challenges have you faced teaching in another country and how have you faced them?

Teaching in another country has been challenging for sure. The language barrier is significant – my students have varying levels of English proficiency and my Bulgarian is certainly a work in progress, so communication can be difficult. Discipline expectations are very different in Bulgaria than in the United States and this has really challenged my classroom management skills. I’ve faced these challenges by always trying to have a positive attitude and by thinking for creatively when problem solving. It’s helpful to always keep in mind what a fantastic opportunity Fulbright is and seeing every challenge as a chance to learn something new and become a stronger teacher.

 

What can you tell us about Fulbright?  What made you decide to pursue a Fulbright teaching opportunity?  How does a student apply?

The Fulbright Program is sponsored by the US Department of State and funds exchange opportunities in the form of English Teaching Assistantships and various research grants. I chose to apply for a Fulbright grant because I had a strong desire to teach English overseas and Fulbright provides a unique opportunity to completely immerse oneself in a different culture while teaching. To apply for a Fulbright grant, a student should first contact the Fulbright Campus Advisor at their school (at UMF ours is Dr. Anne Marie Wolf). They will then complete an application, have an on-campus interview, and submit their transcript. The Application deadline each year is in October, and final decisions are made the following spring.

 

How does teaching with Fulbright differ from your student teaching experience?

Fulbright is completely different from student teaching. The application process is very rigorous and receiving a Fulbright grant requires previous experience working with English Language Learners and/or prior experience living in a different culture. I have a mentor teacher, but her role is more about helping me adjust to Bulgaria and the school climate and less about assisting me with instruction. Bear in mind that this is different depending on the ETA – while I have a teaching degree and experience to back it up, many of my Fulbright colleagues come from different fields and are first time teachers, meaning they will receive more teaching assistance. But in general Fulbright is more responsibility than student teaching and is really much harder!

 

What kind of training does Fulbright provide for teachers?

Each country provides different training for English Teaching Assistants, but all provide some sort of orientation before beginning your teaching placements. I had a ten day orientation in Bulgaria’s capital city and we received some background training on ESL teaching strategies and classroom management.

 

Thank you Caroline for taking the time to tell us about your experience! For more information about Fulbright teaching opportunities visit their website or contact the UMF Fulbright Campus Advisor at anne.marie.wolf@maine.edu.