October 13, 2022
Pittsburgh, Texas native and Liberty University sports management alumni, Marvin Porter is teaching Functional Academics on campus for the first time after spending three years teaching the subject at Plano East High School, and four years teaching it at Denton High School. Wingspan sat down with Porter to learn more about the class he teaches and what got him started in special education.
Wingspan: How has your experience here on campus been so far?
Porter: “I’ve been amazed here, very, very amazed. The staff are amazing, very, very helpful. The students are a blessing to be around. Everybody’s nice, and everybody’s accepted. Campus has been nothing short of amazing.”
Campus has been nothing short of amazing,
— teacher Marvin Porter
Wingspan: How did your previous experiences with people who have special needs lead to you teaching the subject you do?
Porter: “FA kind of just fell into my lap. I’ve been in special education for seven years. I got my alternative certificate to teach, but I didn’t go to get it for SPED. I actually went to get it to teach history, and I just kinda fell into SPED when I started subbing. I started subbing, and the second day I was subbing I was in SPED, and I’ve never left it since.”
Wingspan: How does teaching special education students differ from teaching students who are not in the SPED program?
Porter: “It’s different because you get more one-on-one time with the kids, and you give them the help that they need, the little piece that they’re missing and when they go to a general education class, you fill that gap in for them. It’s more learning. The ratio is smaller for students to teacher. You get a lot more done in that environment. The kids can actually sit there and not be bothered by certain things they’d be bothered by in general education.”
I actually went to get it to teach history, and I just kinda fell into SPED when I started subbing,
— teacher Marvin Porter
Wingspan: Do you think there are misconceptions about special education students? If so, what do you think they are?
Porter: “Definitely. I think a big misconception is that people misconceive those kids as having disabilities that can cripple you. They’re just like every other kid. The only thing is, the difference is that they just learn a little differently. It takes them time to process things a little differently.”