GIBSON CITY, Ill. (WCIA) — It’s not always easy for kids to adjust to a new school. It’s a different layout and there are some unfamiliar faces.
In Ford County, the Butler family feels there’s a certain educator at Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley Middle School who made the transition a little bit easier.
“You always have the worries when you’re going from elementary school to middle school. It’s a big change for children,” Amy Butler, a parent at GCMS, said.
But, Jennifer Allen, their son’s teacher, calmed those nerves for Amy and Brad Butler.
“Just fantastic. She was understanding but she wasn’t too soft,” Amy continued.
Brysen, their son, has ADHD. With that can come forgetfulness and spacing out, but Mrs. Allen made sure that didn’t impact Brysen’s learning.
“I was doing really bad on one of the papers, like D. I got a D I think. She kept helping me and gave me extra homework so I would get the grade up,” Brysen said.
That’s Mrs. Allen’s goal.
“I would break up assignments or break up notes so that they were in manageable parts,” she said. “We would check his assignment book on a daily basis to make sure he had everything done. Make sure he understood where everything was in his binder because organization was a big problem.”
Mrs. Allen has been a teacher for 30 years, 20 in Gibson City.
“I’m trying to teach them to be a well-rounded person,” Mrs. Allen said. “I think it’s beyond the books. I just want to teach them that they can set goals and they can make those goals come to life.”
She strives to be the person students can trust.
“Making a connection and building relationships with the kids,” she said. “Letting them know that they’re loved and they’re cared for.”
Those connections are important to parents too.
“She held him accountable, that’s something he’s going to carry forever,” Amy said. “Building those life skills of ‘okay I have ADHD but I also know that I can’t use it as an excuse to get out of doing homework.'”
It’s something Mrs. Allen strives to continue doing in her classroom each day.
“Just one of those kids that’s why you go into teaching — is for kids like him,” she added.
Mrs. Allen knows teaching goes beyond the books and wants to focus on social-emotional learning too. She said especially since COVID, the kids need support now more than ever.