Making connections

Mary Buvala’s relationships with her students, classmates, and professors inspires her to teach special education

Mary Buvala received her bachelor’s degree in history at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse. Unsure of what she wanted to pursue, Buvala moved to Minneapolis and joined AmeriCorps, working with English learners as an academic tutor.

“My time in the classroom really made me realize the connection I had with students,” she recalls, “and helped me see some improvements that teachers could make to help relay the content to students who struggle.”

Buvala’s experience working closely with a small group of students sparked her interest in teaching special education . Today, she is pursuing her MEd and teaching licensure in special education, while she works as a special education math teacher at Patrick Henry High School in Minneapolis.

When asked about what she enjoys most about her experience in the MEd program, Buvala says it was her connection with her own teachers, “The professors really want students to learn and be prepared when they go out into the field,” she explains, “Connecting with them and seeing how they teach was a such an inspiration for me as a future teacher.”

Buvala encourages students interested in the special education MEd program to, “Take initiative for the things you want and expect from the program. Make things happen for yourself. It will help you get the most out of your educational experience and will be good practice for when you are teaching in schools, too.”

Buvala also suggests connecting with positive, like-minded people at your school. She references an article she read in her program, Find your Marigold.

“What I liked about it,” she says,” is that it encourages students to find the people that will get you through tough times and not pull you into negativity, which can happen so easily.”