Skip to Main content
Chelsea Downes

Chelsea Downes

Deaf education/Elementary education major

Chelsea Downes

What is your major? Do you have any minors?

I am a Deaf education/Elementary education major, with a minor in ASL

What are you passionate about? What inspires you?

My passions lie with creating a safe and accessible learning environment for my Deaf and Hard of Hearing students. Though I am not D/HH myself, I do resonate with some of the struggles my students face now, both personally and academically. As such, it is incredibly important to me that my students know how much I care about them. Even though I maintain high expectations with my students, I make sure they feel comfortable enough to make (and learn from) their mistakes. Above all, I want to prepare my students with experiences and tools that will help them be successful in their adult life.

What is one lesson that you learned at Flagler that you will never forget?

A quote from my convocation ceremony during Freshman year will always stick with me, "get comfortable being uncomfortable". This statement echoes in my mind each time I feel anxious about doing something, especially if it is unfamiliar to me. Learning from our mistakes is an essential part of life, so we might as well get acquainted to the feeling.

If you could share a piece of advice for a new student, what would it be?

Nike puts it best... just DO it! College is the best time to step outside of your comfort zone. Some of my best memories came from just saying yes to random events Flagler would host, or attending club meetings that I wouldn’t normally be interested in. Worst case scenario? You learn you don’t like something & don’t have to do it again. Best case scenario? You make a ton of fun memories and possibly even learn things that’ll help you in your future career. There’s nothing to lose!

Our core values are Transformative Learning, Citizenship with Integrity, Thoughtful Stewardship, and Respectful and Inclusion Community. How have you contributed to these Core Values during your time at Flagler?

Since my freshman year, I have been involved with numerous clubs and organizations on campus that have promoted each one of these core values. Specifically, my role as Vice President of Pride Alliance (formerly known as Club Unity) has given me the opportunity to bring LGBT+ diversity to the forefront of Flagler College. As a result, the club was able to host events such as lip sync competitions with real drag queens, informational sessions about REAL issues in the community, socials, and so much more.

What are your plans after you graduate?

Since I graduated in December technically, I’ve already started my career as a Teacher of the Deaf. Currently, I work with a range of Deaf and Hard of Hearing kids, generally around 6th-12th grade. Not only am I a reading teacher, but I also provide specialized instruction for other content areas, as it relates to the students’ IEPs. For next school year, I’m going to have my own self-contained classroom of 4th/5th grade! As much as I love my students and my job now, I am thrilled to be putting my training/experience with Elementary school to good use.

Eventually, I would love to go back to school for a master’s degree, either in Deaf Ed or Special Ed. Because of the Flagler Fast Track program, I was able to take 4 out of 5 undergrad courses at the graduate level, so now I am nearly halfway done with getting my masters! But as a brand new teacher, most of my time is spent in survival mode so I’ll just have to wait until I have more time!