Samantha Dirkson

Special Education Teacher

Began at Teachwell:

 2020

Why did you choose this field?

I have always enjoyed working with kids of all ages! My parents work in the field of special education, and I was able to learn and grow from their experiences as well. It led me to my own career in special education.

What did you think you were going to be when you grew up?

When I was growing up, I thought for the longest time that I wanted to be a veterinarian. It turns out that is a lot harder to accomplish when you have an allergy to cats... :)

What or who most inspires you?

I am really inspired by any individual, adult or child, who does not give up when the going gets tough. I have a lot of respect for those with the resiliency and grit to work through life's challenges with a positive attitude.

Why Teachwell?

I have a passion for working with students with special needs and abilities. Teachwell is a great fit, because it allows me to work with students in a more intimate, one-on-one teaching setting.

What are you proudest of?

I am proudest of the look that students get when a difficult concept "clicks" for the first time. What a rush!

How do you hope to make a difference?

I hope to work with my students to positively reinforce skills that will be important throughout their entire lives.

What lessons has your work life taught you?

Fostering positive, personal relationships to connect with both students and adults is the most important part of teaching.

What is your background experience – degrees, experience, skills?

I graduated from the University of South Dakota with my Bachelor's of Science in Elementary Education and Special Education, with a technology endorsement. I have been a behavior therapist/tutor for students with Autism, and I was a special education teacher for elementary-aged students prior to joining Teachwell.

People would be surprised to know that I . . .

grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada. I decided to come to USD to get out of the city, met my husband on the first day of college, and now I don't ever plan to leave the Midwest. I love everything about South Dakota (except for those loooong cold days in winter)!