Teachers must be prepared for a bit of everything at the workplace, such as different student personalities and varying needs. And the right training can make all the difference in a smooth and effective classroom experience.
That’s where Andria Young steps in.
The University of Houston-Victoria associate professor teaches students about applied behavior analysis in the School of Education & Human Development’s special education program. The main idea is to discuss behavior – why it’s happening and then how to intervene.
“When dealing with special education students, you need to assess what is happening beforehand and know what the function is,” she explained. “Teachers in the classroom a lot of times don’t get this kind of information. But this is something they can really use.”
Teaching wasn’t always part of the New York native’s plan.
Young obtained her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of South Florida in Tampa, Fla., and a master’s degree in experimental psychology from The University of Texas at El Paso. While working at a Galveston mental health and mental retardation center, the seed of wanting to teach first took hold. So she went back to school to earn a doctorate in educational psychology and individual differences from the University of Houston.
“I was working with adults and children with disabilities, and I realized they needed more skills if they were going to be independent,” Young said. “That led me to the decision that I wanted to teach the teachers. It was one of those things in life where you just follow the river’s flow, and it takes you where you need to be.”
Young maintains a busy schedule in the classroom, but it doesn’t end there. Her 8-year-old son, Will Young, also keeps her running from soccer practices, to scout meetings and more.
“He’s my hobby,” she said with a laugh.
She also enjoys exercising, most often riding her bicycle down the country roads near her Victoria home.
As for her work with UHV, she looks forward to seeing what the future holds. The school’s new autism program, which she helped to develop, got its start this semester with 10 students. And that is pretty good for a first class offering. Other new programs and the faculty’s encouragement for students to pursue master’s-level degrees also point to future growth.
In addition, Young is developing a free, continuing-education course focused on behavior assessment to help educators get the professional development hours required each year.
“I think with the projects faculty members are working on, there’s going to be a lot going on,” she said. “It’s nice to see that renewed energy in the school.”
The Faculty Feature is an online feature highlighting faculty members from each of the University of Houston-Victoria’s four schools. To nominate a faculty member, email Paula Cobler, UHV director of marketing and communications, or call her at 361-570-4350.