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The student news site of Londonderry High School

Lancer Spirit Online

The student news site of Londonderry High School

Lancer Spirit Online

‘Mama Bear’ Miller helps special ed. students thrive

Photo by Morgan Laczynski
Special ed. teacher Kerry Miller helps senior Ava Norton with an assignment in her classroom. Special ed teachers often take the time to help students understand what they’re learning.

Special education teacher Kerry Miller has always had a connection with her students, and keeps a huge space in her heart for teaching. She was unsure on what kind of teacher she wanted to be until she encountered special education.

Miller was a preschool teacher for 15 years in Amherst, Mass. and then worked at Hollis Primary as a special ed paraprofessional. Miller spent her time working with young children thinking that it was what she wanted to do. But when Miller started a new chapter in her life and began working at a Middle School in Arizona, she found her true calling. 

“It was the first time that anyone talked about inclusion back then,” Miller said 

Miller was very passionate about getting students who were in programs such as ACT or Friends into a classroom of typical students so there is no isolation between them.

 “Just because someone might have a disability does not mean they can’t learn,” Miller said. “They just learn differently.” 

To Miller, having a disability doesn’t mean you are different, can’t learn or can’t live the “normal life” typical students can. It means you just process things differently.

“The difference between special education and special needs is that special education is more, we help them with what they need help with,” Miller said “but special needs is we teach them math, science, etc.”

Miller has a caseload of special ed. students to help them all to be the best students they can be. One student Miller has helped a great deal is senior Ava Norton.

“[Miller] works very hard to make sure we understand what we are doing,” Norton said. “We do grade checks every Friday and if she notices I am falling behind, Mrs.Miller will come up to me and ask “What do you need help with?”

Norton has been working with Miller for four years and has made a great connection with her. Miller has helped Norton with “moving forward” both personally and academically.

The best part of Miller’s job is getting into what she calls “the trenches.”

“[When]you’re working hand-in-hand with these students,” Miller said, “and showing them guidance, and whether they’re special education or not, when the lights go on in [a student’s] eyes, and [they’re] like, ‘I get it,’ that is like the best feeling for us. It’s just so rewarding.”

Miller works extremely hard to get the “I get it feeling” not just for her students but also for herself. She is very passionate about her job, so she takes her role as an educator/mentor in their lives very seriously.

“And when they learn, on top of that, it’s fantastic,” Miller said.

Something Miller takes great pride in is the fact that her students have a more difficult time in schooling, but they’re learning as well as anyone else. 

“I just find that I get a sort of mama bear feeling when working with special needs students,” Miller said “Not everybody gives them a chance, and we teach them tolerance and acceptance. In doing that we do we show typical peers tolerance and acceptance. Being able to connect those two students together is beautiful.”

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Morgan Laczynski, Fashion Editor
This is Morgan’s first year on the Lancer Spirit Staff and she is super excited. While also being the Fashion Editor she also loves being involved in other school activities, like ski club, pay it forward and big/best buddies. Her role on the staff is to find fashion trends, fun spirited theme’s in the student section, and to write about ‘fashion trends’ that are coming back into the school year. She is super excited to be apart of the staff and is excited to see what fashion trends make the page.

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‘Mama Bear’ Miller helps special ed. students thrive