Ganow discovers calling in special education
Monday, December 08, 2008
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Huffman ISD teacher Chris Ganow is the adaptive behavior teacher at Huffman Middle School and was recently voted Teacher of the Year.
When Ganow graduated from college in 2000, he had absolutely no idea that he would become a teacher. Earning a degree in anthropology, his dream to become a world renowned archaeologist like Indiana Jones never quite came to fruition. His work took him to Belize and Central Mexico, but he soon realized he could not continue that career path for the rest of his life. He knew there was a certain element missing, but did not quite know what it was at the time.
He signed up for a two-year commitment in the Peace Corps and was assigned to the Peace Corps’ Water, Health, and Sanitation Division in El Salvador, Central America. This was the move that would eventually lead him to teach.
After almost a year, due to medical issues, Ganow’s Peace Corps career ended. Upon regaining his health, he applied to a program to earn his teaching certification and became a substitute teacher working mainly in Special Education classrooms. Eventually, he accepted a position as an adaptive behavior teacher at Copeland Intermediate in Huffman.
Being voted Teacher of The Year at Huffman Middle School has been his first recognized accomplishment, but he thinks he and his students achieve a multitude of accomplishments every day.
“I really enjoy working with my students. Many of them have a number of obstacles they need to overcome on a daily basis,” said Ganow.
He said he finds it to be more than fulfilling to be the person who can help a child properly navigate the pitfalls and trouble zones of life. Then, the following day, when the same child shows him a thing or two about navigating life, he said he receives his greatest reward as the student becomes the teacher.
“I live for that moment when I learn something new, and my student recognizes that they are teaching others, he said. “There is a certain level of fulfillment that a person gets from teaching that cannot be duplicated in any other career.”
Even though his peers voted him Teacher of the Year, he still considers himself a bit of a ‘greenhorn’ when it comes to the teaching profession. He said he was not absolutely sure he wanted to be a teacher until he became one, only three years ago.
“I have come to love the job more and more. There are not too many other professions offering the same type of job satisfaction and sense of fulfillment teaching does on a daily basis,” said Ganow. “As much as I regularly leave work feeling fulfilled, I also always leave with a sense of what I can do better the next day.”