Sometimes our greatest motivations in life stem from the people most dear to us. For Tyler Maroushek, that was his older sister, Kylie. His sister lived with a genetic disorder called Noonan Syndrome, until she unexpectedly passed away at age 22 in 2015.

“It happened the week before my freshman Welcome Week so it was really tough. But at the same time, it has also pushed me to become a good teacher, which is the field I am now going into,” Tyler said.

Tyler is a junior at WSU pursuing a double Special Education (SPED) major in Developmental Disability and Learning Disability. With the learning disability program, Tyler is learning how to help kids acquire knowledge while the developmental disability curriculum is preparing Tyler to help his students build language, mobility and independent living skills

As he spoke of why he is pursuing a degree in the College of Education, Tyler emanated positivity and enthusiasm about where his education and his passion for working with students with disabilities will take him after graduation.

Why SPED?

Tyler’s motivation for becoming a Special Education teacher comes not only from his sister but also his love for working with kids.

“I want to be a positive role model in their lives to help them experience a better education.  A teacher that cares about helping them reach their goals and giving them a valuable and positive experience,” Tyler explained.

Tyler specifically wants to work with students with developmental disabilities because he has had much experience with it. Growing up with his older sister helped make the skills necessary for a Special Education teacher come naturally for Tyler. His patience and genuine interest in understanding students’ backgrounds, how they learn and go about their day will serve Tyler well in his future career.

“The cool thing about students with disabilities is that you don’t know what they have to offer until you get to know them. That is what I am looking forward to most –getting to know all of my students, addressing their needs and pulling out the unique characteristics each one has to offer in the classroom,” Tyler said.

In high school, Tyler had many opportunities to work with students with disabilities from taking a service learning class to helping run the Special Athletic Competition in Winona. Tyler’s involvement in the lives of many students already has reinforced his decision of going into this profession.

Why WSU?

Tyler chose to pursue his bachelor’s degree at WSU for two reasons. Since he’s from Winona, WSU is close to his home and family. Tyler also knew that WSU is known for having a great SPED program.

“I know a bunch of people that have gone through the education program at WSU and it is known to produce great teachers, has a lot of information, and many great professors,” Tyler said.

Life in the SPED program at WSU

Although the WSU SPED program certifies students to teach K-12th grades, Tyler has decided he would enjoy working with elementary schoolers most.

“It is a critical stage in their life where they are learning how to talk, use their body and their mind. It is a big jump in their lives and it is really cool to be such an important factor in their development,” Tyler said.

Due to his double major, Tyler has a full year of student teaching ahead of him next year. Tyler expressed great excitement to jump into this next part of the program and begin working with students on a daily basis.

A Teacher Who Cares

Tyler knows that being a Special Education teacher won’t always be the most glamorous or easy job. However, the opportunity to be the reason that a student gets out of bed in the morning and is excited to go to school is more than worth it for Tyler.

That desire to ensure all students know they belong is evident in all he does to prepare for his future career. For Tyler, the SPED program is more than just a major, it is about being a teacher that sees each student as an individual with something unique to offer.

Liked Tyler’s story? Meet more awesome students in the More Than a Major Series!

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Erin Kloepping

Erin is a Communications major with minors in Mass Communications and Training and Development. She will graduate in 2019. Erin is from Brodhead, WI and her interests include visiting unique coffee shops, collecting all things vintage, traveling and filmmaking.