Jan 16, 2008 11:17 AM by Greg Boyce
Sonia Bechberger isn't your typical teacher. It wasn't until after starting a career as a social worker that she realized her skills could make a difference in the classroom.
She says she "wanted to be able to help those kids who have a love for learning, want to know things but don't do well in a typical cookie cutter structure of a traditional high school." Sonia knows about not fitting in. "As a student myself," she says, "I hated school. I really had a bad time with the structure and the requirements from the adults." That perspective gives her a common ground to relate to her students, most of whom struggle with behavior problems or learning disabilities. "If you don't develop a relationship with these kids you're not going to make a difference in most cases. They have to know that you're somebody they can trust."
She says her work in special education at Lewis-Palmer High School in Monument can be exhausting, but she enjoys working with them. Bechberger is News First's Teachers First recipient for September.