Sunday, January 11, 2015

Can Fish Really Climb Trees?

Post by Kailynn Buchmann: Kailynn is a graduate of Bettendorf High School and is currently in her second year of teaching Special Education. 

As I sit down to write this blog, it is really challenging me to think about who I am, what I have been through and who I want to be. This is my second year of teaching as special education teacher and I know that I can say, without a doubt, I learn something new every day.

Even though this is my first year teaching at Bettendorf, I have been a part of the bulldog family for quite some time now. When I was in 5th grade, my family moved to the Bettendorf Community School District for one main reason, so I could get the best education and I believe that I did.

While attending Bettendorf High School, I enjoyed many great opportunities such as competing in the color guard, participating in college courses and working in the community. Did anyone ever order meals from a small business called What’s for Dinner Tonite? (If so, I probably made them). I have always felt a sense a pride telling people that I went to Bettendorf schools and I feel the same sense of pride telling people that I am able to work for this district.

Following graduation, I went on to Scott Community College and then transferred to the University of Northern Iowa.  While going to school at UNI, I had an amazing opportunity to work in a few special needs group homes. This gave me the opportunity to work with the best people I will ever meet.

Even though these people have various ranges of abilities and have a lot to deal with in their lives, they are so happy to be living and always strive to do their best. For them, even doing the simplest task such as tying their shoe was a challenge, but I can guarantee you that they strive to break through that challenge every single day. Working with these special individuals has given me a lot of knowledge and compassion in the field of special education.  I strive to work and overcome challenges just as hard as these people do every day.

Albert Einstein once said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” This quote means SO much to me in the work that I have done in the past and the work I do today. It is my challenge to myself to unlock my students’ potentials and find a way that they can feel good about learning as well as themselves. It definitely isn't always an easy road, especially, for students who don’t like to come to school and are challenged in learning.

A few keys to success that I try to do when working with my students are:
•             Develop a trusting relationship with them
•             Keep a positive attitude
•             Start each day fresh
•             Celebrate the small stuff

Being a special education teacher at Bettendorf High School has definitely presented challenges to me. I work with my students every day to find ways that they can be successful in their classes and community.  Sometimes it is an easy fix, but sometimes we, together, have to work really hard.  The biggest step is being able to move past the label and find what works for each individual student. I feel lucky to work with such an amazing staff that is always willing to go the extra mile and find what works for these students to be successful. Who knows…maybe if we just give the fish the tools to succeed, they really can climb trees?


  1. More often than not, students come to us with the best they have got and it's our job to move students forward to be successful in whatever path they choose in life. I know in my teaching experience, that path of success is never the same for any child. Some learn easy, some struggle, some choose to learn the hard way. However, consistency and building that positive relationship kick starts them onto the path of success!

  2. Kailynn,
    I applaud the work you do with all your students to help them overcome their challenges-you've had some tough ones this year!! Finding what works for each student is the key to helping them all be successful. I am thankful that Jimmy and Rachel chose you for our team! Keep up the great work!