Teaching Special Education Motivates Young Teacher

Crystal Hathcock Riggs teaches seventh grade math, history and language arts at Lewis and Clark Middle School in Jefferson City. She also teaches students with learning disabilities, and that’s what really motivates her.

“I enjoy working with kids, especially those who struggle a little more than others when trying to understand a concept,” she said. “After they finally understand, I get the satisfaction of accomplishment.”

A 2001 graduate of William Woods University in special education, Crystal recently was rewarded for her work when the Missouri Association of Colleges for Teacher Education honored her as an Outstanding Beginning Teacher.

Crystal is continuing her education through the Graduate & Adult Studies program at William Woods and she’ll receive her master of education degree in administration in May 2004.

“I chose a master’s degree in administration to extend my career opportunities. I also feel fortunate to be able to gain another viewpoint on education. Now I have a much greater appreciation for principals, and the work they do.”

She says she hopes to put her M.Ed./administration degree to use in the future after teaching for a couple more years. In the meantime, she’s enjoying what she’s doing.

“The job is constantly changing, so it’s never dull. Each day I face is always a new adventure. I also enjoy working for a school that is constantly reaching towards higher standards.”

The scholarship support provided by the TEACHERS FIRST Challenge Program helps teachers like Crystal reach their goals.