TeachSpotNov17photo1Teacher name: David W. Wilbert.

Location: Rancho Cucamonga High School.

Number of years teaching: 11th full-time (14 years included those as substitute).

What made you decide to be a teacher: My ex-mother-in-law, Norris Pimentel, encouraged me to college, so I started college in September 1998. Although she encouraged me to go to school to be a teacher, I wasn’t sure if that’s what I wanted to do. I decided I would enter the Business Administration program just in case I did not want to teach! Norris was always encouraging me and cheering me on to complete my degree. The biggest laugh to this day is when I came home from one of my very first classes when I came home as said, “I’m going to do good in this class, I have to do a bibliography …I ’ve read the entire bible this is going to be an easy class.” In short, I’ve learned a lot! I graduated in 2002 with my BSB/A from University of Phoenix, passed the CBEST and immediately started sub-teaching.

As a sub-teacher I worked in multiple districts in general education classrooms and special education ranging from mild-moderate, severe and profound classrooms. County Principal Doris Dredd-Lee was my principal at Colony High School profound when I accepted a long-term position. Doris was instrumental in being a positive mentor who taught me so much. I was hired by SBCSS in 2005. Everyone over my tenure that I have dealt with in County Schools has always been loyal to me as a teacher, and I’ve always done my best to give that same loyalty to my students, parents, SBCSS administration, and everyone I work with daily. In 2012, I was very fortunate to start working with my current Principal Lori Mark as my supervisor – this has been a privilege. Lori has been an incredible mentor to me as a teacher. She has guided me along this journey and helped me to be a better teacher and team member. She always has been a very positive role model to my classroom staff and myself.

Although I am an “education specialist” teacher, I see my students as teachers themselves. As a teacher, I have learned so much from my students – more than any college degree could have taught me! Working with special needs students and their families has proven time and time again to be the very best choice I’ve ever made. It has become my passion, and I absolutely love every day that I am honored to be in the classroom with our students.

A classroom functions best when a teacher has para-educators who love their jobs and their students – to me, I am the most fortunate teacher in the entire SBCSS organization because my classroom functions very well due to the loyalty and dedication of the para-educators to the student’s safety and learning in my classroom. They make the classroom function at its highest level, and I am honored to work with them every day, and this includes the awesome support we receive from our SST Christine Johnson!

Teaching philosophy: Never set limits on any student at any level, they will always prove you wrong!

Describe what takes place in your classroom or location: Lesson plans are given to all students in a “general education” group setting adapted to their Individual Educational Plan. (We are always told that our classroom design looks more like a “general education” classroom … well, that’s the way it should be.) Our parents love the classroom setting because of the setting and, of course, the camaraderie between staff and student. The para-educators had requested to present lesson plans to the classroom, so as the teacher, I lay out an agenda and we all take turns in presenting lesson plans in all subjects to the classroom which gives me the ability to sit among or students and work with them individually.

Most valuable contribution to students: Not setting limits on students’ potential for learning. In our classroom, we have students who have gone from refusing to hold a pencil to holding a pencil and producing legible results freehand, copying and tracing. Working closely with our speech therapist Carol Hubbard on ways to present lesson plans on social skills, as well as a plan that is conducive to teaching all students American Sign Language, we all practice ASL as part of every lesson plan every day. The results are proven when students begin to start using ASL approximations to communicate.

What have your students taught you: Never set limits on anyone, especially our students! Our students have taught us that when we need their compliance, if we take time to explain instruction in a calm, dignified and respectful way, that we will most often get compliance and cooperation. Treating students with dignity and respect most always bears positive outcome. This applies to anyone we come in contact with!