Walking in another’s shoes: special education teacher shares daily routine


Keyana Burries

As a co-teacher for math teacher Allen Nesbitt’s Geometry 2 class, special education teacher Rachel Allen helps junior Perry Jackson with his test.

Mackenzie Pozela Opperman, Reporter

Kicking off the day bright and early is routine for special education teacher Rachel Allen. As soon as the clock hits 7:15 a.m., people can see her bustling towards her first class. As always, Allen is alert and ready to teach study skills with a huge smile on her face.

Once in the classroom, Allen takes a hands-off approach with her students, encouraging them to voice their own opinions about the topics they are learning. They often do interactive experiments, such as shaking Coke and water to test reactions.

After the students finish their work, they check their grades and work on missing assignments.

After an hour and 27 minutes, the bell rings, giving Allen her cue to rush and navigate her way through the maze of kids in the hallways. Despite efforts, it is difficult for her to make it to her second block class, algebra, by the time class starts.

Since each block is located in a different classroom, Allen often struggles to get through the crowded halls. However, Allen enjoys the fast-paced, unpredictability of her days.

“Being a special education teacher is rewarding and a new experience every day,” Allen said.

After Allen gets all her students settled in, her class dives straight into notes for the day, moving on to a new lesson and its homework. She frequently walks around the room, helping general education and special education students alike.

“She is an awesome, outgoing and kind teacher that really helps me,” sophomore Andrew King said.

The second bell of the day rings, but Allen does not rush out. This block is her plan time which she uses to eat lunch, call parents and grade homework. During second and third lunch she watches the hall to make sure kids are following the rules.

It is also during this time that she helps students with homework and anything else they might need. Allen finds this time necessary to create bonds with her students.

“It is important to have a bond with kids inside of class and outside of class so the students know they have someone in this building,” Allen said.

For fourth block, Allen co-teaches geometry with math teacher Alan Nesbitt.

While Nesbitt is teaching the lesson, Allen is monitoring the students, doing paperwork, helping kids with any questions they may have as well as helping Nesbitt with anything he needs assistance with.

The final class of the day is CREW. It’s during this time where the class plays games and goes over extra lessons with the students. On Wednesdays during CREW time, Allen and fellow special education teacher Stephanie Jones lead the yoga club to any students interested.

“It’s our way of relaxing,” Allen said. “Some days it’s very hard and frustrating but overall it’s a fun adventure.”