Jessica Benton Wake County Elementary Educator

Hello all! I am a special education teacher in Wake County.  I have been teaching for 11 years, six of which I was in a self contained Intellectual Disabilities Moderate classroom and five of which I have been in a Cross Categorical Resource classroom. I have worked with kids with intellectual, emotional and learning disabilities. I have always been drawn to students that think differently. I like figuring out ways to influence behaviors positively. In fact, I like the challenge of working with students with behavior problems. Establishing a relationship and winning over students that others struggle to reach gives me a sense of pride.

Starting in 2011 I began organizing with Wake NCAE around the school board races. We won a pro-education school board majority that year, and I was hooked for life. I think social justice issues go hand in hand with education issues. I really don’t see how we, as educators, will be able to even touch the achievement gap without looking at education through a social justice lens.

I am really looking forward to working with y’all (southerner for life) this semester. I’ll be looking at posts for questions, but if you ever have something pressing, please don’t hesitate to ask. I believe with my heart and soul that teaching is the most important job you can do. It is also very tough, but the rewards you get can’t be found anywhere else.

The main thing I want you to know right now is that you are not expected to know all the answers…ever. Our culture puts a lot of pressure on us to know what to do all the time, and I want you to rest assured that that is never going to happen.  Go ahead and forgive yourself now so that you don’t start your first years with undue pressures, and be prepared to ask lots and lots of questions. Teaching is all about life long learning, and luckily for us, we do it together in teams. You are never alone.

Very much looking forward to hearing what the next generation of teachers has to offer our students. Welcome to the best profession there is!!!


5 responses to “Jessica Benton Wake County Elementary Educator”

  1. ahunt27407 says :

    Hello! Nice to meet you, we’re looking forward to hearing your insight this semester!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ahunt27407 says :

    We are “group 14,” Alison, Renee, Jamie, and Kelly. We are juniors in the Child Development and Family Studies major. Our first question for you is: how do we help children with disabilities feel included and NOT singled out in the classroom?

    Liked by 1 person

    • bentonwuzhere says :

      The answer to this is going to be different for every student. I know that sounds so generic to say, but it really is true. The best ways to prepare your classroom and your mindset is to: 1) check the child’s file and just look at the most recent Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Usually the spec ed teacher can get you an abbreviated version with the things you need to know. 2) Talk with the special ed team at your school, especially if they’ve worked with the student before (conversations will always give you the best info). 3) Keep an open mind. I have had teachers in the past ask if all kids with disabilities can learn. I really believe so, it’s just at different rates and in different ways. There’s a real reason they want us to work in teams for these kids, and it is through your teamwork that you’ll be the most successful!!

      If you can have a handle on who is coming into your classroom BEFORE the year starts, you always stand to do better, especially if there’s a tendency towards behavior. Being ready day one with a good seating arrangement or behavior chart can save you so much time and energy. Talk to your special ed teachers, they are a good resource.

      Teachers also fear being fair when it comes to providing kids with different things for their individual needs. When kids ask why they can’t walk in the front of the line or use the fancy pencil grip, I simply say that it’s because you don’t need this thing and another does. Everyone gets what they need around here, and they accept that. Don’t overthink equality and fairness. You don’t have to be equal to be fair. Fair is giving kids what they need to be successful, and many times that’s different for each child!


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