‘This is my dream job’
By Lauren Vaught
Morgan County Primary school teacher, Heather Doolittle, was awarded Wal-Mart Teacher of The Year Award and with all the effort she puts into her class and students, its hard not to see why.
Doolittle has four special needs students that range in age from Kindergarten to second grade.
“She just has a gift,” said Stephanie Holstein, Doolittle’s classroom paraprofessional. “For such a young teacher, she has such a natural ability for these guys.”
In the classroom, Doolittle works on different activities depending on each individual student’s goals, while integrating small lessons and life skills into the classroom.
“I do different things like teach sign language to them and how to behave in different public settings. A lot of what I teach is socializing,” said Doolittle.
Every Thursday Doolittle will take her students on a field trip to town. This is done to help the students develop social manners.
“Some days we will go eat in town and teach them to eat properly, others we will go shopping in the grocery store. Parents have even noticed a difference in the way they react in public,” Doolittle said.
Everything Doolittle does in the classroom works on learning life skills. On Fridays the students work with kitchen appliances like using the microwave and the stove while making snacks to reward their efforts.
ntegrating the regular students in with the special needs students is an important step in their learning to socialize. Efforts are taken from both sides to spend time as one unit. Story time and activities are planned multiple times a week so Doolittle’s students can interact in a group atmosphere.
“It takes great regular students to help include my kids,” Doolittle said.
Doolittle teaches sensory integration to both the regular student and her own. Singing and sign language are ways the kids can interact and communicate during activities.
“She knows her students well and understands their individual needs,” Betsy Short, Morgan County Primary School principal said. "She meets their needs with patience, understanding, and compassion.”
“I’ve had most of my students for three to four years. I’ve been able to see them grow and learn,” said Doolittle.
Doolittle does stay in close contact with families due to the students’ medical fragilities. So staying involved according to her is part of the job.
“She just loves them,” said Holstein.
“The most important thing to me is to make my kids feel as much a part of this school as any other student,” Doolittle said.
Doolittle’s door is decorated according to the season.
“Last Christmas we had reindeer with light caught in their antlers. This is a primary school; it should be fun,” Doolittle said.
The doors are definitely fun; the kids love it,” said Holstein. “She’s always so creative with them.”
Doolittle’s passion for teaching and generating fun and creative learning in the classroom is what has taken her so far.
“I wouldn’t do anything else, said Doolittle, “This is my dream job. I love it.”