High 5: Special Ed Teacher Treats Students As People First
EDEN, Utah – Students and parents at Snowcrest Junior High couldn’t imagine a day without special education teacher Chris Schunk as they navigated the highs and lows of the last school year in the middle of the pandemic.
Mr. Schunk gets this week’s High 5 for going above and beyond for his students.
“Math, academic core, and advisory,” Mr. Schunk described his workday. “It’s not always roses in here but we work through those things.”
It’s not just the school work, but also life’s problems.
“Students will come to me to talk about issues they have outside of school,” he said. He can also be lighthearted. “I joke around with the kids, I really do. I try to keep it loose.”
He teaches mild to moderate special education at Snowcrest Junior High in Eden.
Mrs. Baileys works in the classroom with him and together they have a lot to do.
“A big part of our job is we help them with the classwork from their general education classes,” he said. “That can be English, you know. Name it. We are helping them with assignments.”
Schunk said the key to success is seeing the students as people first.
“I could have the greatest lessons ever, but if they don’t believe in me and they don’t trust me and they don’t buy into me as a person, then they’re not going to access everything that I have to offer.”
Student Aspen Torman said, “He makes math understandable and he makes everything understandable when he teaches.”
“It’s awesome. He made me love math so much more. I already hate it, but he makes it so much fun,” student Noelia Fonnesbeck said with a giggle.
They all put their gratitude on display as they surprised him with a banner that honored him with the KSL High 5.
Parent Jori Torman sent in his nomination. “You’ve made this year an amazing year for a child I stressed so much about to come to school,” she said.
“I cannot believe this,” Schunk kept saying as his students cheered for him.
“Every student loves him here. He stays late. He is willing to help them whenever he can,” said school principal Heather Hardy. “He is the last teacher to leave because he really cares about the kids here.”
Special education aide Tessa Bailey said, “He comes in with energy, with joy, and he comes in, and just like the kids have said, he makes it a beautiful experience.”
“I’m seriously floored by this. I had no idea I had such an effect on the students and community up here,” Schunk said. “This is awesome. I am floored by this.”
As the School year comes to an end at Snowcrest Junior High, parent Jori Torman told him, “I just can’t say thank you enough for helping me and for helping my child.”
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