Reflecting On 28 Years As A Special Education Teacher

May 16, 2019

Karen Foote has been a special education teacher for 28 years. She works at the Academy of Arts, Careers and Technology with high school students. She spoke with Reno Youth Radio reporter Hannah Mills about her job and what she’s learned along the way.

Foote has been a special education teacher for 28 years and couldn’t imagine herself doing anything else. Throughout her career, she has learned that her students are like all the other kids but just might need a little more help and support in different areas.

“Every kid has strengths and every kid has weaknesses,” she explained.

One way she supports her students is by keeping lines of communication open between teachers and a student’s family members. Foote says family involvement is another key factor in the success of her students.

There are many ups and downs that come with being a teacher. Her favorite memories include those that involve her students’ success and growth, something she finds rewarding to see; however, there are also some difficult moments that come with her job, too. 

“You get really close to all your kids, so it’s really hard to see them make bad decisions.”

Something Foote also struggles with as a special needs teacher is the label that is put on her students. She recalls some of her students who were classified as special needs to be some of the brightest and most brilliant in many aspects.

“We are all kind of in this world together, and we are all just trying to figure it out.”

That was our Reno Youth Radio reporter Hannah Mills speaking to special education teacher Karen Foote. Reno Youth Radio is a unique partnership between KUNR and the Washoe County School District to elevate the voices of high school students and teach them how to be radio reporters.