Special Education M.A.

Year Approved


First Advisor

Strand, Charles


During my time as a federal setting III EBD teacher in a self-contained elementary-aged program, there have been two critical elements in this field that have provided me the passion to tackle this topic of effective classroom management strategies for problem behaviors and the environmental factors that may drive those problem behaviors. I chose this topic to provide my students hope for a successful future, even if the world outside of school is setting them up for failure. As a federal setting III EBD teacher, I saw my students struggling in school because environmental factors, such as lack of sleep or homelessness. As I tried to support them in the best ways I possibly could, I realized that this needed to be a team effort… This leads me to the second element special education that drove me to these topics, which was the lack of effective strategies that kept students like mine from being successful in the general education. As a federal setting III EBD teacher, I could not help but ask myself questions like, “Are my students only in this program because they are homeless, tired, and/or hungry?” Because of these factors, my students struggled to control their emotions and exhibit expected classroom behaviors. It was difficult for them to sit down in their seats, problem solve, or resolve conflicts. My students were always in fight, flight, or freeze mode due to the neglect, abuse, or lack of resources obtainable to them outside of school. Then I continued to ask myself, “Why am I constantly being called to de-escalate situations and provide them with breaks? Is this something that could be addressed by the general education teacher to maximize their time to learn?” These are the questions I would ask myself on a daily basis and I am sure that other teachers can relate and find these strategies and understanding of environmental factors helpful to create a higher success rate for our students.

Degree Name

Special Education M.A.

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis