Even Rarer Birds: Men In Elementary Special Education - My Introducation

Hello Men Teach!

I just read about your organization in Newsweek and thought that I would introduce myself. I just turned 50 years old, have been married for almost 20 years, received my M.Ed. in Special Education: Learning Disabilities in 1982 and, after a career change (I also have an M..S.W. in Clinical Social Work and worked in various military, hospital, and community service settings as a social work clinician before returning to education), have now taught for 12 consecutive years in a rural Virginia public school district.

I have had - and continue to have - a very rewarding teaching experience due to my talented and dedicated school-based colleagues, my demanding yet supportive (woman) principal, and responsive and respectful central office administrators.

My classroom setting is as unique as my educational background: a 4th and 5th grade multiage, full special education-inclusion classroom that I have co-taught with the same two (another man + a woman) wonderful friends/colleagues for the past 12 consecutive years. I am not only the lead mathematics teacher for ALL of the children my classroom (and thus responsible for our overall high-stakes testing outcomes in mathematics), but I am also the school-wide, school board appointed Math Coach. I am thus as proficient writing Differentiated Education Plans for our identified Gifted Students as I am writing Individualized Education Plans for the special education students on my caseload/in our classroom. I am known as an outspoken advocate for sound general and special educational practices within my school district.

I also have a very full and rewarding life outside of school. My wife and I live on a small farm with our well-loved and vetted horses, cats, and dogs.

I am also an internationally-known web-based music interviewer in the genres of progressive rock and progressive bluegrass (newgrass), and am an internet advocate for kindness/stewardship (adoption and spay/neuter) for our wonderful companion animals - especaially cats.

Best wishes to all,

:)Steve Steve Sikes-Nova, M.Ed., M.S.W.
4/5 multiage full-inclusion teacher and "the virginiaprograsser" Newgrass, Prog & More!
Web Radio & Interviews on Live365.com

Very interesting story

I really enjoyed the story of your work and career. Fascinating!

I meet so many interesting men working in this field and and always reminded how fortunate children are to have such good men in their daily lives.

Thanks so much for sharing your story.

Bryan