Bachelor of Science in Special Education
K-5 special education/resource teacher
After graduating from high school in Omaha in 2000, Stephanie Kopecky attended the University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO). Kopecky began as a business major, a pursuit that lasted about a year and a half until she realized that she wanted to work with children after taking a special education course. One special education course was enough to convince Kopecky to immediately change her major to elementary special education. The single class made her aware that she wanted to work with children, particularly to work with children with disabilities. Today, Kopecky works as a K-5 special education/resource teacher.
Why did you decide to major in special education in college?
I was interested in learning about children with disabilities of all kinds. I took an introduction to special education course and loved it. The teacher and class inspired me to pursue my degree in special education.
What types of courses and projects did you have to complete in your special education major?
Courses with a variety of learning, including learning about different disabilities, testing students with disabilities, writing lesson plans, learning about Individualized Education Plans (IEP’s) and child abuse issues related to disabilities.
What was the most fascinating part of majoring in special education?
The variety of knowledge that you are shown.
What was the most challenging part of majoring in special education?
Learning about the broad range of special education there is. It was challenging not knowing which type of special education I wanted to pursue. I wasn’t sure the level of need I was interested in. I needed to do a lot of observations to realize that I wanted to work with children with mild/moderate learning and behavioral disabilities.
In what ways do you use the skills and knowledge you obtained in your special education major in your current line of work?
I used a lot of the knowledge, but to be honest, most of what you learn is through teaching and experiencing different situations with students and parents.
Do you have any words of advice for students who are considering majoring in special education in college?
I suggest getting a second degree in teaching reading or general education. I love teaching children with learning disabilities and other types of disabilities, but I feel I could have used more on teaching specific subjects, such as reading, writing, or math. There are a lot of children now that have many types of emotional and behavioral issues. I would have liked to take more courses on these types of issues in schools.
I would tell students to stick with this degree. It is such a rewarding experience to work with these children. It is very challenging, but I love it because every day is so different.