Teacher of the Week | Laura Hiatt Maglio
Joseph Rassel | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted March 5, 2006
School: I have been at Thornebrooke Elementary for two years. I'm an exceptional student education teacher for students with autism.
Education and experience: I have a bachelor's degree in Collaboration in Special Education from Auburn University and a master's degree in Autism and Behavior Disorders from Auburn University.
Time teaching: Two years.
Reason for becoming a teacher: Teaching students with autism is a fulfilling and rewarding profession. My students are all unique with individual abilities and needs. Every day is a challenge and I am always learning something new. I am often asked, "Why would you want to teach students with disabilities?"
I tell them it is because of the feeling I get when I see a student use the bathroom independently for the first time, when I see a student use their communication device to ask for help, when my student makes eye contact with a peer.
It is the little but significant accomplishments that make my job worthwhile.
Greatest moment as a teacher: Every day I experience a moment that I could consider "the greatest."
However, one moment that comes to mind occurred at the end of last year during the annual fifth-grade ceremony.
While watching my fifth-grade students walk across the stage with their peers, all I could think of was how proud I was of them and their accomplishments.
Additionally, when I glanced into the audience, I saw their parents clapping and cheering with pride.
It was a moment that I will never forget!
Most embarrassing moment as a teacher: During my first year as a teacher, I was attempting to play a song during circle time. For some reason, my compact disc player wasn't working. Because my students thrive on routine, I had no choice but to improvise by singing a cappella.
Unfortunately, I was not blessed with a nice voice. One of my students let me know by yelling, "Ms. Maglio, your singing stinks." The paraprofessionals in my classroom could not help but laugh.
Trying not to laugh myself, I used this "teachable moment" to explain the importance of saying nice things.
Favorite aspects of being a teacher: First, I would have to express how much I love working with such an amazing group of children. Their love and enthusiasm make coming to work such a blessing. Seeing my students grow and progress throughout the year is another wonderful part of my job. Finally, I enjoy working with such a remarkable staff. It is a great feeling to work with people who share the same passion and love for teaching as I do. Thornebrooke Elementary is a magnificent school filled with professionals who support one another to make a difference in children's lives.
Least favorite part of teaching: Having to say goodbye to my students is one of the hardest things that I have to do as a teacher. Whether their family is relocating or they are graduating to the sixth grade, it isn't easy. Although I will continue to say goodbye to my students throughout my career, I do not believe I will ever get used to it. I just have to cherish the time I have with them and hope that I have given them the best education I can while they were in my class.
Favorite movies: Beaches, Rudy and Walk the Line.
Last book you read: Somebody Else's Kids by Torey Hayden.
Favorite hobbies: My favorite hobbies include working out at the gym, playing competitive sports such as basketball and volleyball, and reading (when I have time).
Family: Fiance, Samuel Haratine (I will be getting married on April 22), parents, Richard and Elizabeth Maglio, sister and brother-in-law, Amy and Brian Moore.
If you weren't a teacher, what would you be and why? This is a difficult question; I honestly couldn't imagine doing anything else. If I weren't a teacher I would still want to be in a profession where I could help children. I believe I would either be a social worker or school psychologist. Either profession would allow me to work with children who need help, guidance or support.
Person you most admire: The two people I admire the most are my parents. I admire them for their selflessness, kindness, intellect and hard work. They have taught me how to be a better person, how to love and respect others, how to work hard, and how to enjoy life.