By: Joseph Dario
Name: Ms. Abigail Holmes
Subject: Special Education, Matter & Energy, co-taught algebra
Education: BS in Psychology
Previous Jobs: Substitute teacher at Blair
Years Teaching at Blair: 4
Hobbies: spending time with her sons, walking the dog, shopping,gardening, reading, and going to movies, roller coasters, and the beach
Special Ed teacher Abigail Holmes calmly sits in her chair with her legs crossed and a smile on her face. She wears a black dress and a pair of high-heeled shoes and leans onto her desk in a relaxed manner like a cat sitting by a sun-lit window.
Holmes has taught at Blair HS as a teacher for four years and she takes teaching seriously. She has two teenage boys, often goes to the gym, and loves to walk her dogs.
Holmes' reasons for being a Special Education teacher are very important for her. "One of my main goals is to give kids the skills they need to get out of school, such as instead of studying for a test, I think they should focus on research," she says.
In college she earned an undergrad in Psychology for several reasons. "I wanted to see how people behave and why," Holmes pauses, then laughs and says, "I really liked the research part: finding what makes people tick."
Holmes was not completely sure when she began to love teaching. "I had never thought about [teaching]. It wasn't until I started working at Blair [as a substitute] when I wanted to be a teacher." She looks up and ponders for a second. "A lot of things came together... [such as] the opportunity to earn my masters in Special Education. I was interested in finding ways to learn better."
One of the games Holmes remembers playing with her younger sister as a child was "Teacher." She smiled and moved her hands mimicking a teacher as she remembers, "I liked the part about grading papers."
For Holmes, becoming a teacher in MCPS was difficult. "The school system is hard. They make you jump through a lot of hoops." For any person who wants to become a teacher, Holmes gave a little advice: "Be organized. Have all the stuff you need."
Holmes is very enthusiastic about her job. "[Teaching is] really exciting when you see the students leave the class knowing what they didn't [before]. [Teaching is] frustrating to keep order. [Teaching] takes a lot of energy. There have been a lot of negative moments," she says laughing.
Holmes remembers one particular situation which clearly showed her influence on the students. "I was teaching how to add and subtract fractions, and the class was writing on the board, and one girl just totally got it," Holmes says enthusiastically. "She ran to the board and did problems. She was so excited."
Holmes says her training in Special Education helped her greatly as a teacher. During a 9th grade teachers meeting last year, she remembers that she knew most of the things the instructors were trying to convey. "I was amazed at how much general [education] teachers were learning [on teaching strategies]!"
As a Special Education teacher, Holmes continues to strive to help each student gain more knowledge. "Just because a person is in Magnet or CAP, [he or she] should still get good learning capabilities," she says.