Inspired By Children With Special Needs: Annual Fund Scholar Catherine Gauthier

Catherine Gauthier has always loved working with young children. As a teenager, she served as the resident babysitter for her three younger siblings and other neighborhood kids. She also taught gymnastics classes to children ages three to six.

“During one season, I had a little boy with cerebral palsy in my class so I had to adapt my teaching and provide him with additional support for most activities,” recalls Gauthier, 24. “Watching him smile and laugh as he jumped down the long trampoline is something I will never forget.”

That experience sparked her interest in special education, a career path that was later cemented by a college internship at the New England Center for Children where she worked with teenage boys with developmental disabilities. At Teachers College— where Gauthier was named the 2016 Joan Amron Annual Fund Scholar—she achieved her goal, earning certification in early childhood special education.

Thanks to the Annual Fund Scholars program, Gauthier completed her degree in February and is now a special education teacher at an inclusive preschool in Springbrook, New York.

The Annual Fund Scholars program allows donors to underwrite student financial aid packages with gifts of $2500 or more to the TC Fund designated for financial aid. Gifts are matched by TC’s Board of Trustees and scholars are named in honor of the donor. More than 100 Annual Fund scholars have been named since 2013. 

“The scholarship definitely took the pressure off and allowed me to concentrate on my studies,” Gauthier said. “I am deeply grateful to Ms. Amron for her generous support of my TC education.”

While at TC, Gauthier served as a student teacher, an experience that allowed her to test out the strategies and philosophies that she learned in her courses. One of the highlights was working in a kindergarten-first grade class taught by a TC alumnus at the Cooke Center Grammar School in Manhattan.

“He put an emphasis on play and the social interactions between students with varying needs and abilities,” she says. “I really learned a lot about what I believed in, how to pick my battles, and how to approach different children with different preferences.”

Writing her philosophy of education at the beginning and again at the end of her program also proved to be a valuable exercise. Through student teaching, Gauthier discovered the importance of building bridges between home and school in her communications with families. She expanded her philosophy of education to include family involvement.

“That was really huge, the family involvement so that the teacher is not doing the job isolated from the other caregivers in that child’s life,” she says. “I see the benefits of it every day.”

—Mariko Thompson Beck

Published Tuesday, Jul. 12, 2016

Published Monday, Jul. 11, 2016

Inspired By Children With Special Needs: Annual Fund Scholar Catherine Gauthier

Catherine Gauthier has always loved working with young children. As a teenager, she served as the resident babysitter for her three younger siblings and other neighborhood kids. She also taught gymnastics classes to children ages three to six.

“During one season, I had a little boy with cerebral palsy in my class so I had to adapt my teaching and provide him with additional support for most activities,” recalls Gauthier, 24. “Watching him smile and laugh as he jumped down the long trampoline is something I will never forget.”

That experience sparked her interest in special education, a career path that was later cemented by a college internship at the New England Center for Children where she worked with teenage boys with developmental disabilities. At Teachers College— where Gauthier was named the 2016 Joan Amron Annual Fund Scholar—she achieved her goal, earning certification in early childhood special education.

Thanks to the Annual Fund Scholars program, Gauthier completed her degree in February and is now a special education teacher at an inclusive preschool in Springbrook, New York.

The Annual Fund Scholars program allows donors to underwrite student financial aid packages with gifts of $2500 or more to the TC Fund designated for financial aid. Gifts are matched by TC’s Board of Trustees and scholars are named in honor of the donor. More than 100 Annual Fund scholars have been named since 2013. 

“The scholarship definitely took the pressure off and allowed me to concentrate on my studies,” Gauthier said. “I am deeply grateful to Ms. Amron for her generous support of my TC education.”

While at TC, Gauthier served as a student teacher, an experience that allowed her to test out the strategies and philosophies that she learned in her courses. One of the highlights was working in a kindergarten-first grade class taught by a TC alumnus at the Cooke Center Grammar School in Manhattan.

“He put an emphasis on play and the social interactions between students with varying needs and abilities,” she says. “I really learned a lot about what I believed in, how to pick my battles, and how to approach different children with different preferences.”

Writing her philosophy of education at the beginning and again at the end of her program also proved to be a valuable exercise. Through student teaching, Gauthier discovered the importance of building bridges between home and school in her communications with families. She expanded her philosophy of education to include family involvement.

“That was really huge, the family involvement so that the teacher is not doing the job isolated from the other caregivers in that child’s life,” she says. “I see the benefits of it every day.”

—Mariko Thompson Beck

Published Tuesday, Jul. 12, 2016

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