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Student/Alumni Stories - Rukiya Isoke '02

Michelle Woodruff

"As a single mom working two jobs and raising two children, I began my career in 1989 and educational career in 1990 at RIT.  I started taking one course at a time then two courses, sometimes three or four courses (evenings, days and weekends).  By 2001 I had earn an Associate, Bachelor’s and Master of Science in Secondary Education.  This would mark the beginning of a new career for me.  In 2002, I relocated to Atlanta, Georgia.  I began working with deaf high school students, whose average reading skills were at the second grade level.  It was a challenge getting my students to read their ninth and 10th grade academic books.  I was determined I would teach each grade level until I could figure out where my skills would be best served.  I taught first, second, sixth and eighth grade students before landing the perfect position.

"For the past three academic years I have been teaching deaf infants and toddlers (3- and 4-year old).  My job brings me so much joy!  I know that I am making a difference in these young lives.  They arrive to my classroom with zero-to-five sign words, point and cry.  Once the students are 5 years old,  they are promoted to Kindergarten.  The average student leaves my classroom with an average vocabulary of 700-800 words, emerging reading skills, can provide personal information, can identify eight-10 sight words, produce sentences using four-seven words and write their name.  I love my job!  I would have ever believed the fulfillment one can get from a job.  Thanks to earning my MSSE degree at NTID, I would have this opportunity!"

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