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Michael Bernardis, Special Education

Why did you decide to become a Special Education teacher?

The reason I first became a teacher was because of the teachers who taught me. I had some very good teachers, particularly in high school, who I admired for what they did. They were so caring and giving to me. My teacher would always be available after school for me to go and to meet with him and I always found that so admirable and very helpful to me. I thought, you know, “wow, this would really be a great place for me to think about in terms of a profession, in terms of work.” That is when I first got started thinking about that. I went on and actually got a position as a teacher in high school. One of the classes I was teaching had a social services component, so I took my students to Napa State Hospital at that time and we were involved with young adults there who were challenged by special needs. I was amazed at what that kind of work could do and so that’s when I decided to go into special education.