Catherine Hebert is a special education teacher with TWO graduate degrees who shares her journey to finding work she is passionate about.
1. What is one sentence you would use to describe who you are and what you do?
I am a partner, mother, and trauma informed special education teacher with a focus on working with students with social, emotional, behavioral disorders.
2. Did you take the GRE? If so, what was your experience studying for the GRE like?
I did not take the GRE. There was no requirement for my grad programs to take it.
3. Why did you decide to go to grad school? What program did you attend? How did you choose your specific program?
After I became a single parent, I was determined to find a career in a field that would not only support my family, but would allow me to hopefully always be employed regardless of the economy and our geographic location. I was a Minnesota Reading Corps tutor at the time and loved working with kids, especially the ones from the self-contained behavior classroom. I chose to attend St. Mary’s in Winona, Minnesota for a Master of Arts in Special Education. It was local and allowed for a hybrid learning model. After graduation, I taught for 3 years before deciding to go back for another master’s degree in order to expand my learning in working with students with social, emotional, behavioral disorders and other mental health needs.
I chose a Master of Education in Psychology that included a graduate certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis. I was so excited to go back to school that the first program to pop up in my initial searches,
University of Cincinnati program, that was the one I chose to attend.
4. How do you feel your graduate degree has impacted your career?
Other than the licensure to become a teacher, the knowledge I gained during my graduate programs has provided much more in depth skill development in order to best meet my students’ needs and to
support the adults I work with as well. I have developed connections to people and organizations through my programs that continue to provide opportunities and people who continue to help me grow as a teacher and challenge me to continue to learn and grow all the time.
5. Do you have any advice for someone interested in pursuing a career in education?
There are so many avenues and options in education. My advice would be to find a shadowing opportunity with a variety of school personnel and see what each one does. If I had done that, I might have chosen social work or school psychology instead of teaching, but I’m so
energized each day that I get to go to work and teach every day. I am so grateful that I chose special education on a whim and would go back and do it all over again!