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Ever since I was five years old, when I was asked the question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” I answered “a teacher!” How blessed am I that I get to live my childhood dream every day! As Director of Aegis at St. Benedict Classical Academy, I am not only a teacher, but I am a voice and an advocate for students.  

I grew up learning about education and the importance of inclusion from my family. Two of my brothers were diagnosed with special needs in elementary school. Unfortunately I have seen both of them “fall through the cracks” multiple times in their academic paths through many schools. Although acceptance and inclusion was widely recognized in my own family, to others it was not so clear. As I watched my eldest brother especially struggle in and out of school, I discovered my passion for teaching and helping others navigate the world of special education. 

At St. Benedict’s I feel honored to bring my own experiences into my work here with my students in the Aegis Program. Aegis is Greek for “protection” or “support” and was created to provide extra assistance to students at SBCA. As Director of Aegis I am another set of ears to listen to students, parents and teachers. I am a friendly face that students know they can come to for their once a week math prep, or reading assistance. I am a noticer of kids who might benefit from additional outside academic services. 

The teacher in me wants all of our students to come to school to grow in their faith and love for God, and also feel successful in their schoolwork. For my students, success can be measured by working hard every day to accomplish small goals. Success can be a smile on their face after they remember a step in a long division problem. Success can be whispering “yes!” after spelling an irregular word correctly on their spelling test. Success can also be a subtle refusal of my help during our prep time to say, “Hey Miss Fair, I can do this on my own now.” Every small success brings my students closer to their goals and helps them feel confident in their academic life here. 

Oftentimes I am asked what is my favorite part of my job at SBCA. I smile as I think of all my students and the obstacles they have overcome, and respond by saying it is when I see my students’ new confidence and spark of hope in their eyes with each new day and each new lesson learned. One of my favorite moments at SBCA happened last year when one of my students delivered a sweet card thanking me for being his teacher. He began to tear up telling me he’s reading one of his first chapter books on his own. He told me that he would not be reading at all if it wasn’t for our time together each week. I was so very proud of all the hard work he put in to get to that day and thankful to be on his school journey with him through Aegis at SBCA.

AUTHOR: Katie Fair, Director of Aegis

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