What Inspires You?

As a new Reading Kingdom blogger, I wanted to post about who I am, what I do, and why I do what I do. So my big question is…What inspires me?

When I was in 8th grade, I participated in the school’s peer counseling/peer tutoring program. I was assigned to a classroom of children with disabilities. While I am unable to tell you exactly what types of disabilities these students had, I can say that while I was taking algebra, they were learning single and double-digit addition. I would work 1:1 with each student in the class as a mentor and peer. I believe my teacher assigned me to this particular class because she saw something special in me. At the end of the school year, I won an award and savings bond for being a compassionate, caring student, in part because of the work I did with the students in that class. From that point forward, I knew I wanted to help people. I was uncertain in what capacity, but I knew I wouldn’t find myself in a business office or in retail.

People often ask me – “Why would you want to teach special education? Wouldn’t it be so much easier to work with ‘normal’ children?” Or I get “Wow, that is so admirable” or “You must be so patient” or “That’s so challenging. You have a big heart.” At the end of the day, it’s not really about any of that. It goes back to…What inspires me?

I received my bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, which led me to pursue a master’s degree in Special Education. After 6 frustrating and restrictive years teaching special education in the public school system, I earned a doctorate in Special Education. I had to reach a level in which I felt some level of control over my career. A level where I felt I could really make a difference, without the burden of unnecessary restrictions and boundaries.

What inspires me? I am now a part-time co-director of a nonprofit private school for children with severe disabilities. Each day, I can make a difference. I can change a small part of my community, the lives of children and their families, and maybe even change the perceptions of those who look down upon individuals with disabilities. Any typically-developing child with learn to read and write and add and subtract. That’s the nature of being “typically-developing.” I never know how far my students will go. Each skill they gain is such an amazing accomplishment. It may be that they learn to play with a new toy or to find a hidden object or follow a new two-step direction. Each milestone is a time for celebration with the child and his/her family. Each fundraising event means bringing in donations to better the lives of children who are often over-looked or under-estimated. This inspires me to learn and grow as a professional and as an individual everyday.

So…What inspires you?

Carrie Wells, Ed.D.

Professionally, Dr. Wells is an experienced special education teacher. She received her Bachelor’s degree in elementary education and her Master’s degree in special education from the University of Florida. In 2008, Dr. Wells completed her doctor of education degree in special education with a minor in autism from Nova Southeastern University. Her dissertation topic involved teaching early literacy skills to children with autism. For the last 3 years, she has worked as co-director of Abi’s Place, a nonprofit organization for children with severe disabilities. She also teaches graduate-level courses for future special educators through the University of Phoenix.
In her personal life, Dr. Wells is married to a wonderful husband who is also an educator. She has a daughter, Lydia, who is 2, and she has a baby boy on the way the end of September. While she is very passionate about her career, Dr. Wells finds parenting to be the most important and amazing experience imaginable!

Latest posts by Carrie Wells, Ed.D. (see all)