Teacher of the Week: Carrie Hopkins

Teacher of the Week: Carrie Hopkins

Meet CARRIE HOPKINS, who went into her career thinking she would teach kindergarten until just after graduation, when an unexpected development altered those plans.

"I got a TA position, and I fell in love with these two autistic boys," she says. "So then I went back to school and got my master's in special education."

Here's more on Barkstall Elementary's special-ed teacher.

What's most rewarding about teaching to me is ... seeing what might be small to someone else, but is magical for someone else. For instance, we had a student who couldn't carry their tray finally learn to do it, and I was so excited about that.

What's unique about me as an educator is ... flexibility. I think I have a unique way of coming up with something that works in the moment, which is important in this kind of education. It might not work later, but it works in the moment. I think the ability to pull something out in the moment is unique.

What's unique about our school is ... the year-round calendar. For me, it's a tough job. The schedule really gives you time to breathe. My daughter is 6, and she's in first grade here, so I see her every so often, and we wave at each other.

The teaching supply I can't live without is ... Velcro. We do a lot of matching activities, so we put Velcro on a lot of things in this room. Book tape, too, in case I need to laminate something but can't.

My favorite pastime — other than grading, of course — is ... binge-watching Netflix. It's super relaxing. Right now, I'm watching "Taken" (the series). I've never seen the movies. I like how action-packed it is.

The topics I enjoy teaching the most are ... the functional skills — brushing your teeth, self-feeding. They need those skills the most.

If I weren't a teacher, I would be ... a radio DJ. I love music. You don't have to see anybody. And you get to talk about music. My nickname has always been CareBear, but I'm not sure I could turn that into a DJ name.

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