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  • Writer's pictureMadaline Dunn

Investing in professional development to support students and their growth with Rachelle Abelson

Rachelle Abelson, an outstanding math teacher at Chattahoochee High School, commits herself to investing in personal growth to make sure that her students have access to everything they need and are constantly engaged academically

Rachelle Abelson always knew she wanted to be a teacher. Growing up, she enjoyed helping others and lending a hand to her friends when they were struggling with homework. This fondness for teaching was consolidated as a student when she became inspired by a teacher. Ever since then, Rachelle has passionately pursued the path of education.

Following her undergraduate degree, Rachelle attained a masters degree in special education. Commenting on the impact this has had on her teaching, Rachelle said it allowed her to further her knowledge and expand her reach. A big believer in investing in personal growth and professional development, Rachelle recently received certification in gifted students, too. Speaking about this achievement, Rachelle said: "It was a great experience, and adds another level to my teaching specialty. It will help me reach as many students as possible and help them to better grasp the curriculum."

Her commitment to accessibility shines through in her teaching strategies, too. Whether it's formative assessment, peer mentoring or quizzes, Rachelle prioritizes communication and collaboration in the classroom, so students feel heard and don't feel embarrassed to ask questions. One way Rachelle creates this environment is through having an open dialogue with her students in class. Rather than putting up their hand to answer a question, Rachelle encourages students to call out and get involved and has found that breaking down these barriers is effective.

Recognizing the challenge of having lots of different levels within one classroom, Rachelle says she offers students times throughout the day when they can return to class if they are struggling with a particular area.

Of course, due to Covid-19, within the last eighteen months, there has been the added challenge of having students being out of school and working online. To overcome this challenge and preserve the personal touch of teaching, Rachelle recorded all of her lessons, and to keep students engaged, used a range of online activities and games.

Rachelle's favourite part of being a teacher is seeing the "switch flip" for students who are struggling with math. "Seeing that kind of development is wonderful," She said.

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