Faculty Profiles

Stephen S. Rubin

Associate Professor
The School of Education, Ruth S. Ammon College of Education and Health Sciences

Alumnae Hall 238

General Information



Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1995)

M.A., University of South Dakota (1990)

B.S., State University of New York at Oswego (1980)

Personal Statement

Personal Statement

Philosophy of Teaching and Special Education

I started my teaching career as a vocational technology instructor in a general secondary education classroom. My path to becoming a special educator started when I became Chair of my department at Cook Jr. High School in Houston, Texas. At that time I became the liaison between special education and regular education which introduced to me a unique movement in the world of education, driven not only by the legislative mandate of Pub.L. 94-142 (Education for All Handicapped Children’s Act, reauthorized as Pub.L. 101-476, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), but by the values contained within the mandate. Today, the line between federal mandate and the ubiquitous personal belief system of serving all children regardless of their limitations has become wonderfully thin. My teaching philosophy is to dissolve this line even further. We must challenge ourselves to “want” to serve any student who has the good fortune to be in our classes.

Often, based on my years in the public school, teachers would consider students that were difficult to teach, “obstacles.” Their job and their quality of life would be considerably better if these difficult cases were removed from their classrooms. These attitudes, in my belief, indicate that teachers see their chosen field as an occupation, worthy of occupational hazards, vis-à-vis a profession, worthy of professional challenges. My philosophy is to validate their teaching as a profession rather than as an occupation. Both may be careers, and differences will no doubt be subject to academic discourse, but it is the individuals’ own perception of their career path that will lead to this validation. I relate this concept to seeing a doctor for a difficult diagnosis. If the doctor cannot treat the condition or disease, they will often refer the patient to a specialist. This is an active and accepted part of their profession. In the field of law, Attorneys may take on difficult cases and see them as challenges rather than as obstacles. Does the field of education foster these values? As a special educator I am particularly sensitive to the need for individuals who teach children and adolescents to develop a value system that will allow them to see themselves as professionals and challenge themselves to “treat” all students.

For graduate students in particular who are currently teaching in public and private schools, graduate school is part of their professional diet, which includes a menu of ethics, best practices, and enrichment through the procurement and evolution of resources. Over the past several years, faculty, myself included have developed and fostered a framework for teaching at Adelphi. This conceptual framework as it is known consists of six core values which are critical to the longitudinal success of a classroom teacher in and out of the classroom. The values in which I subscribe are (a) scholarship, (b) reflective practice, (c) social justice, (d) inclusive community, (e) wellness, and (f) creativity and the arts. It is through these values that we can organize a well-spirited curriculum. Lifelong learning through scholarship, taking time to consider the consequence and betterment of one’s own labor through reflection, ethics and equality through social justice, teaching and practicing diversity through inclusive community, creating a conducive learning environment through wellness, and fostering creativity in the classroom through creativity and the arts.

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