Connie Ma has worked as a level 2 teacher for The New England Center for Children’s (NECC) Higley Road residence for two years. She was nominated by a colleague because she “goes above and beyond to ensure students are set up for success. She is a positive role model, gets Higley to school first, and holds her students and staff to high expectations, pushing them to be their best.”
How long have you worked for NECC?
I’ve worked at NECC for a little over 2 years! I started in June of 2020 and have been a case manager and backup core shift manager. I’m currently a case manager, core shift manager, as well as assistant to my educational coordinator on Higley Road.
What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of the job is watching my students independently complete a skill or task that they’ve been working so hard at learning. Nothing is more fulfilling than seeing how proud your student is of himself.
Why did you choose a career in helping children with autism?
I always knew I wanted to work with the Intellectual and developmental disabilities population though my involvement with Special Olympics Connecticut and my summers spent as a counselor at Camp Horizons in South Windham, CT. A career in helping children with autism spectrum disorder was the next logical step in combining my interest in the population with my passion for education.
NECC is a great place to learn the skills needed to be a competent and compassionate educator/clinician in the field. My supervisors and fellow staff are great supports who help me become a better educator each day.
Have you taken advantage of any of the grad programs or teacher training at NECC? If so, how have they impacted you as a teacher?
Yes! I’m in my final year of the Simmons University program. The Simmons program has taught me the “why” behind the way we teach. Understanding the “why” helps me recognize and implement various strategies for remediation as well as helps me train new staff to become great teachers.
What is something about you that your colleagues might be surprised to learn?
I enjoy building Legos! I’m currently working through the floral sets (orchids, succulents, bonsai tree, etc.).
Who is someone you look up to?
I look up to my brother who has always supported me in my endeavors. I aspire to give my students and staff the support he continuously gives me to make the most out of each day.
What is your life philosophy or a motto you like to live by?
Think happy, be happy. A positive mindset will set you up for success.