Blog: Teacher Feature: Michelle Wild, Tenured Faculty

Recognized for her astounding work and dedication in Special Programs and Services for the Disabled, meet our next Teacher Feature, Michelle Wild from our ABI Program.

Tell us about yourself.

I am a tenured faculty member and have worked in the Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Program through Special Programs and Services for the Disabled for over 30 years. Interestingly, I started as an intern in my senior year of college and never left Coastline College. I hold a Masters in Psychology from the California State University, Fullerton (CSUF).

Over the years, I am grateful to say that I have been honored in various occasions for the work I do and love. I was named the 2000 Coastline College Teacher of the Year, the 2000 California State University, Fullerton Psychology Alumna of the Year, and the 2000 Orange County Community College Teacher of the Year. Also, I was the recipient of Microsoft’s national David R. Pierce Faculty Technology Award in 2001.

Photo courtesy by Michelle Wild

What do you love about working at Coastline?

I love working here because of the students. My students have all experienced some type of traumatic event and are doing everything they can to recover. Their resilience is an inspiration. I learn something about hope and never giving up from them every day.

I love teaching in the ABI Program because it requires me to think outside of the box. I am always challenged to think of new ways to approach teaching and learning. I’m not one to do the same thing over and over again, so teaching in the ABI Program keeps me on my toes, motivated and inspired. What’s not to love about a job that does that?

What is unique about your class or classes you teach? May you share your teaching style?

I teach thinking skills (e.g., organization, time management, problem-solving, decision making, reading to learn, etc.) to adults who have suffered some type of brain injury. My students are at various stages of their lives (and careers) and are now required to learn to do things differently. They are trying to find a new path. I love the challenge of helping each student find the strategies that work for them.

Photo courtesy by Michelle Wild

My teaching style is to make what I teach as practical as possible for my students. For instance, I use a variety of resources (e.g., business, technology, sports) and help students see how concepts can generalize across all aspects of life. The ability to generalize is often lost after a brain injury and can limit the success of a survivor. It is a personal challenge to try as many different approaches as necessary to help them regain this vital skill.

Share an interesting or unknown fact about yourself.

I used to figure skate, although I preferred speed skating. Above all, there was something about whipping around the rink that was much more exciting to me than doing figure eights. Fun fact: I didn’t have speed skates, so I was the only one during speed skating time that was speeding around the rink in figure skates and a figure skating outfit.

Tell us about the app(s) you design.

I design apps to help individuals with brain injury and other cognitive conditions deal with the challenges they face on a day-to-day basis. The BEST Suite is designed to address common issues of time and energy management, organization, goal-setting, strategy management, and self-regulation. The BEST Suite includes:

BEST: Brain Education, Strategies and Technology

The BEST Suite includes:

  1. PaceMyDay: To identify and track daily tasks that are most taxing and recognize how pain, anxiety, etc. influence overall daily successes.
  2. ReachMyGoals: To help to establish and track realistic SMART goals which leads to a sense of life balance and greater independence.
  3. StrategizeMyLife to identify, track, and rate the effectiveness of strategies.
  4. CompleteMyTodos to organize, manage, and track basic tasks. The apps share information reducing redundancy and the chance of error.

You might be thinking, “Hey, I could benefit from an app that would help me with those issues.” Quite frankly, You could be right about it. We have many users who aren’t dealing with cognitive challenges but still benefit from the Suite, for instance. You can learn more about the Suite at

Who do you look up to and why?

My students—I look up to my students. They are finding ways to overcome amazing challenges. As a result, I have so much respect for what they are going through and feel grateful for what I learn from them about determination, resilience, and so much more.

2017-2018 ABI Graduates

What three tips do you want to share with Coastline students when it comes to their educational journey?

  1. Enjoy learning–we often don’t enjoy the journey until it’s too late.
  2. Apply what you learn–strive to apply what you learn in school to your life.
  3. Learn from others–there are so many lessons that can learned from others who have experienced things before us.

About the Teacher Feature Series

Coastline College proudly highlights their renowned faculty through the Teacher Feature blog series. This week’s feature showcases Michelle Wild, Tenured Faculty, Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Program through Special Programs and Services for the Disabled. Say hello on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram: @bestbrainorg.

Are you or someone you know interested in learning more about the ABI program?

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