TOW Cockerham

Special-education teacher Abby Cockerham is shown with a student at Lincoln Trail Elementary School in Mahomet.

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‘See the able, not the label.’ That’s the outlook Lincoln Trail Elementary alumna ABBY COCKERHAM brings to the classroom now, back at her Mahomet alma mater as a COMPASS special-education teacher. Here’s more from The News-Gazette’s 14th Teacher of the Week of the 2019-20 school year.

I find my work important because ... it impacts the lives of students in a positive way. The students I work with might be easily misunderstood because of their disability and lack of verbal communication. I can help others understand that these students are more than their disability.

I became a teacher because ... school was hard for me. I want to help other students that school may be difficult for and be their advocate.

As far as my favorite and unique lessons to teach ... toileting is the most unique while social skills is probably my favorite.

My most fulfilling moment on the job was ... when one of my students was struggling to tell us what he wanted to be for Halloween. He went to the Smartboard and used Google to find a picture of what he was describing to us. Seeing him problem solve and use the technology available was impressive.

I’m passionate about ... helping people in a variety of ways.

My own favorite teacher was ... Mrs. Calcagno here at Lincoln Trail. My favorite subject was math. I wasn’t very good at math, but I loved the subject.

Know an exemplary teacher? Send your nomination to Anthony Zilis at