Jessica Reagon: More than a teacher
I am a special education teacher at Steamboat Springs Middle School, and I need help from this community to effectively do my job. This community trusts teachers with your most valuable assets, your children. But we also need you to trust us when we tell you what we need to do our jobs. We desperately need you to support 4A, 4B and 4C.
I should be clear — I am not just a teacher. None of us are just teachers.
I’m a caregiver. I help kids get their day started, remind them to take their meds, get what they need for class, get ready for the whole day.
I’m a counselor. I facilitate problem solving between students, peers, teachers and families. I listen, hug, console sadness and celebrate successes.
I’m a performer. I model “magic tricks” to show kids there are different ways that might work for their different brains. I engage kids who are terrified of math and hate reading so that they want to try.
I’m a motivational life coach. I provide snacks, band aids and materials. I foster creativity.
I teach about drugs and promote self esteem, mental health, character, citizenship, respect, accountability, community service, environmental stewardship and responsibility.
Additionally, I teach our curriculum.
I don’t do any of this in an actual classroom because there is no space for one. I share an atrium with another special education teacher. It’s a little glass-enclosed entryway that we have taken over as a “classroom” for targeted interventions, quiet learning space for distractible students, calming space for escalated students, small group learning environment and a conference space when “privacy” is needed for a conversation.
That situation impacts relationships. Relationships between teachers and students are proven to increase student participation as well as academic risk taking. Students who feel valued by trusted adults at school show better attendance and fewer risk taking behaviors. For struggling students, relationships with teachers can make or break success.
Yet as we expand in numbers and pack our spaces tighter, relationships become strained, and students feel vulnerable, exposed and overstimulated. We are already at a crisis of overcrowding, and it isn’t going to ease up.
Teachers educate, but we also keep students safe, feed and care for them and love them. And we need your help. You trust us with your children — please trust us when we tell you what we need to effectively do our jobs. Please vote “yes” on 4A, 4B and 4C.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.