Rancho Vista Elementary

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Jill O'Connor » Meet Ms. O'Connor

Meet Ms. O'Connor

Education:  My name is Jill O'Connor and I have been teaching for 21 years.  I was born and raised outside of Cleveland, Ohio in a small town called Elyria.  I received my undergrad in Human Ecology at The Ohio State University.  I then continued my education at Ashland University and earned my Masters of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction.  At that time, I also duly certified in general and special education.
Teaching Background:  I began my teaching career in Avon Lake, Ohio where I was able to teach general education, resource, and moderate/severe disabilities.  After 5 more years of dark cold winters I made the move to California!  After being here for 16 years, I don't see myself returning!  Since being her, I have taught in Palos Verdes as a special education teacher for students with moderate/severe disabilities.  I have taught at Cornerstone, Pointe Vicente, and now Rancho Vista.
Interests:    I recently was lucky enough to travel to Cambodia and Thailand and now I have been stung by the travel bug!!  This summer was packed with domestic travel.  I went to Sanibel Island, FL, Crystal Beach, MI, Sonoma, CA, Cleveland, OH, and Juneau, AK.   I love to to be active by biking, running, walking, and hiking.  The beach is always calling my name!  But most importantly, is my passion for teaching children!
Teaching Philosophy:  I wholeheartedly believe that every child can learn.  Each and every day, my students walk into my classroom the best they can be and it is my job to make them better.  Every child has the ability to continue to grow and advance in all areas.  
As a SPED teacher, I have smaller groups of students then one would find in the general education classroom. This allows me to develop a relationship with my students that is based on respect, kindness, humor, and a strong desire to succeed.   My classroom is very interactive with large and small group lessons and 1:1 instruction.  There are short large group lessons followed by rotating stations.  We love our brain breaks to help keep us focused.  My students learn through meaningful real-life experiences and hands on experiences.  I believe in teaching more than just academics.  All of our students need to learn appropriate social skills and these are taught directly and indirectly throughout the school day.   I believe in rewarding positive behavior but also showing that there are consequences for negative behavior.  Most importantly, I make sure we all have a lot of fun!!  
I teach the way I teach because these students need someone to believe in them.  They need a cheerleader in their life, and they deserve to have their teacher believe in them.  My students deserve to learn what everyone else is taught, but not necessarily the way other kids learn.  I teach this way because I care, and because I truly believe that for my students right now, at this time, it is what is best for them.