A teacher of the year finalist says personalized learning is key to success for her students.
At Gray Middle School in Groveland, teacher Jessica Simmons knows when a student is having a problem. She can spot it by looking at them.
In her class, she sets up learning centers, where her students participate in different activities. There’s a listening center for students to choose audiobooks, a computer station for reading and writing, and vocabulary building.
Simmons teaches students with autism and other intellectual disabililties and is a Lake County Teacher of the Year finalist. She says it is essential to know students well, and know which methods work and don’t work with each student.
“You have to know what sets them off,” she said. “I always know as far as when they stutter or when their eyes are glazed over. We give them a verbal de-escalation period. You have to provide them clear choices.”