Rachel Hanson is teaching special education at Orono Middle School through the end of December while another staff member is on a leave of absence. She is teaching math and skills classes to 6th and 7th graders. She is also coaching the 8th grade volleyball team.
Hanson grew up in Norwood Young America. She said she realized she wanted to be a special education teacher while still in high school. In May 2011, Hanson received a Bachelor of Science degree in special education-learning disabilities (K-12) from St. Cloud State University.
She completed an elementary practicum and three special education practicums in elementary and high school settings. This is her first time teaching middle school students, and she says it’s very different.
“In high school they’re so independent and in elementary school they’re so dependent on the teachers,” she said. “In middle school, they’re transitioning into young adults.”
Hanson said she believes teachers need to recognize the needs of all students and individualize every lesson using a variety of techniques.
All of the members of her immediate family are teachers. Her dad and her sister teach at Norwood Young America and her mom teaches at Chanhassen High School. Both her mom and her sister teach special education.
She said she enjoys teaching at Orono and would love to stay in the district if the opportunity arises. When her position ends in December, she said she’ll search for another long-term substitute job or full-time position.
“It’s like a big community here,” said Hanson. “It’s so welcoming.”
Hanson played basketball in high school. Every summer since 2007, she has been a referee for the Central Girls’ Basketball team in Norwood Young America.
In her free time, Hanson enjoys being outside.
“I’m an outdoors person and I like to stay busy,” she said.