Monday, August 18, 2014

LATHAM PROFILES: Kara McDowell

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The flexibility in the opportunities to implement personalized curriculum here that creates memorable experiences, cannot be found in many schools. Each teacher here at Latham is allowed to be creative in their approach which makes our school extremely complex and unique. I am a part of an amazing educational team that is supportive and dynamic. It makes this job enjoyable and exciting. 

Describe a few of your responsibilities and how you spend much of your time.

As a classroom teacher I am responsible for creating engaging lesson plans, drafting Individualized Education Programs for each of my students, and creating an environment that is safe, social, and stimulating. I spend much of my time teaching my class basic school subjects, as well as providing support in social scenarios, implementing anti-bullying curriculum, and supporting each student’s individual needs. 


What skills are most important for professionals who work with individuals with PWS?

Flexibility, resiliency, and patience are all important for working with individuals with PWS. The ability to “think on your feet” and change your plans as necessary, is extremely important. Our students need people who will do anything they can to help them achieve their goals. 

What are the most important lessons you attempt to teach new staff?

The most important lesson I attempt to teach new staff is to listen. Listen to the students’ stories, comments, concerns, etc., and you will learn more about them as individuals. Listen to veteran staff’s advice, helpful hints, stories, etc., and you will learn more about how to be successful with our population. 

What do you love about working with individuals with PWS?

Their perseverance and ingenuity is incredible! All of the students at Latham are capable of surprising themselves, peers, and staff everyday! 

Has this job taught you anything about yourself?

As a recent college graduate embarking on my first teaching career, I did not realize that I was accepting a position that would teach me so much about myself. This job has taught me that I have incredible patience, tenacity to help others achieve, and an amazing sense of creativity and imagination.  

How do you spend your time when you’re not working at Latham?

As a new resident of Cape Cod, I spend most of my time exploring all this area has to offer and enjoying the beach. I also enjoy relaxing in my apartment by reading and painting in my free time. 

What advice would you give to someone contemplating a career at Latham Centers?

Learn about what we do here at Latham! Take a look at our website and blog to see what we do and what we are all about. Learning about the individuals we serve and their complex needs is also essential to any one’s success here at Latham. And if you want to be a part of a wonderful team.. apply! We are an amazing group of professionals and we work with an even more amazing group of young individuals!

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