"Next" Magazine Vol. 3 Fall 2016 - Page 35

CONTINUED FROM p.15» school, community, teachers, students and families. If she can answer yes to that question, she calls it a successful day. “While I’m here, I get to work alongside the teachers to give examples of instructional or behavioral strategies unique to each child and their special needs so that we can make sure that every student receives the best education possible,” Baldridge said. “I get to work one-on-one with students, whether it’s to teach English, colors, strengthening vision, working on fine motor, or so much more. I also am currently working alongside the owner and manager of the school to come up with a way to begin implementing data collection and monitoring of the students’ progress that is appropriate for the teachers’ levels of education as well as the school’s available resources within the village.” Baldridge has worked with teachers at Morton and Crawford middle schools in Fayette County to arrange for needed resources to be sent to the school. She said it has been amazing to see teachers back home rally together to support the school in India. Baldridge interacts with a child from a village in Mayasandra. In March, Baldridge got a treat from home. UK College of Education faculty members Dr. Amy Spriggs and Dr. Katherine McCormick, from the Department of Early Childhood, Special Education, and Rehabilitation Counseling, brought a group of UK students to the school to help with a camp. It was the same trip Baldridge had made with faculty the previous year.  Spriggs couldn’t believe the changes in the school since her visit last March. When Baldridge returns to Kentucky, she will be seeking a job in her field. “It was great seeing the improvements made just since our trip last year.” “It was great seeing the improvements made just since our trip last year,” she said. “Molly has definitely made an impact on that school. I believe the school has made an even bigger impact on her. Molly has grown in her ability to teach, but she has also been able to take a step back and really ask herself what this community needs. Identifying individual needs is one of the biggest strengths a teacher of students with disabilities can have.” Spriggs went on to say, “Molly has this fear that she is not going to make an impact. She has already made a huge impact. Just ask anyone in the village. Just ask the parents of the kids she is teaching. Just ask the teachers who are so willing to try anything she suggests.” “Coming to India has definitely created space for me to dream, and to dream big,” she said. “So while I don’t think I can tell you where I’ll be five years from now, I think short term I would love to teach special education at a school that serves mainly inner city or low-income families. Having the opportunity to love and serve those within my own community at home sounds amazing to me and being able to do that through a job I know I am going to love sounds even better.” For more information about leading or participating in an alternative service break program, contact Dr. Katherine McCormick (kmcco2@uky. edu).  For more information about participating in the course Baldridge joined, contact Dr. Amy Spriggs (amy.spriggs@uky.edu) about the course EDS 558.  | 35