posted October 17, 2014- written by Ashley Weselak, SOE Graduate Assistant
“I love my job because I am inspired every day.”
Teaching was something that Christopher Guidarelli always envisioned himself doing and, while Buffalo’s general atmosphere pulled Guidarelli in and inspired him to make the next big move towards his educational endeavors, it was the exceptional field experience to be gained that solidified his decision to attend Buffalo State.
“I wanted to help children take the set of cards they were dealt and use them to succeed in life.”
At Buffalo State Guidarelli became a member of the Buffalo State Chapter of Best Buddies. Here he had the privilege of serving as vice president for one year. Through this experience he learned how extracurricular activities can truly help students with disabilities develop. He also gained a deeper understanding of the individual growth of students with disabilities and says, “Now I can see through my own students their success and how they deal with everyday life, which inspires me on a daily basis.”
As an undergraduate Guidarelli received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award. In 2011 he was admitted to an elite group of teacher applicants who show the greatest potential for a job in New York City schools. He interviewed and was one of only 150 people admitted.
Guidarelli is currently in is 4th year of teaching in New York City.
As a new candidate in the field of exceptional education, Guidarelli entered the workforce with a sense of ease, feeling well prepared for the challenges ahead. “I completely credit Buffalo State, the Exceptional Education program and the professors for this.”
Within his first year of teaching, Guidarelli’s mentor recognized his background and extensive groundwork. Almost immediately he was confronted with every challenge a teacher might face, but his approach was, “from this one can only grow.” Guidarelli believes that a student’s success is a process, and that knowing and accepting this is one of the most difficult but rewarding realizations.
Guidarelli's first students aided in his personal growth as an educator. During his first teaching year he encountered struggles, difficulties, and trust issues with students who had once too often experienced the abandonment of former instructors who left the classroom mid-year, before any true connections could have been formed. Guidarelli first worked to gain the trust of his students, then led them into an amazing year where he watched as the kids succeeded emotionally and academically. His students grew exponentially and, at the close of the school year, a few had even placed-out of special education – something that had never happened at this school.
“I learned more from them than I could have ever taught,” he says.
Guidarelli recognizes that there are many challenges in teaching, but he advises teachers to keep their passion for educating at the forefront of their minds.
“Don’t give up! There are days that seem so painstakingly difficult, when you question all of your intentions in getting into the field of teaching, but you must not give up.”
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