Passionate teaching for special needs

"Find your passion and give it your all” is a piece of advice Jacy Bata lives by when it comes to teaching.

Jacy graduated from MSUM in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary inclusive education and a minor in special education along with an add-on license in academic behavioral strategies (ABS), allowing her to teach mild disabilities in K-12 settings She currently teaches K-5 special education in Langdon, N.D.

Teaching special education wasn’t always Jacy’s plan. She originally wanted to be an elementary school teacher emphasizing in math. Like many others, her preconceived notions of special education made her nervous about the career path. But an introduction to special education class with Professor Keri DeSutter changed her outlook completely.

“Her class made special education more feasible,” she says.

Jacy enjoyed making accommodations and modifications for the different scenarios and case studies she was given in class. She learned about a vast number of disabilities and how to work with a student to accomplish their individual learning goals.

“Jacy consistently displayed the passion and the drive to teach students of all abilities,” says DeSutter. “She enjoyed being challenged and worked hard to overcome difficult situations.”

While Jacy was at MSUM, her niece was diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome, a disorder mainly characterized by lethargy, feeding difficulties and hormone deficiency. She realized how different the needs of each child are and wanted to be in the classroom supporting students.

“Their learning is just like anything else, just smaller and more honed into their specific needs,” she says.

Jacy values the time she spent at MSUM. She believes the professors inspired her to continue in special education while in college.

“I loved the practicum they set me up with,” she says. “I went to a high-needs intense classroom in Moorhead that I found rewarding and eye opening."

Jacy currently has a master's in special education with an emphasis in visual impairment and is working toward her doctorate degree online at UND.

“There is so much more to learn and to continue learning,” she says. “I feel like every day and every year is so rewarding.” 

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