Meet the special education teacher creating real change in the classroom

Mary-Margaret Gamblin is part of the next generation of teachers ushering in a shift to the education system. Now more than ever, thanks to advancements in social and emotional development, teachers are able to build an educational system that looks at each student as a whole.

“It’s honestly so exciting to think, ‘What is education going to look like in five years? In 10 years?'” Gamblin told In The Know. “No matter what step is next for me, I know that I want my life’s work to be within education.”

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Gamblin is a second-grade special education teacher at a school in the Bronx. She grew up in the Kentucky public education system, an experience she credits with leading her where she is today. Gamblin’s mom was a high school math teacher who really inspired her daughter to pursue teaching.

“I’m in something called an ICT classroom,” Gamblin explained. “It’s an integrated co-teaching classroom, so I have the esteemed privilege of having a wonderful co-teacher — she’s our general education teacher — and then, I am the special education teacher.”

As a special education teacher, Gamblin’s job is to focus on making sure her students are able to progress in their developmental standings.

“We all have a right in this country to a fair and equal education,” she said. “It’s our challenge to make sure there’s not a negative stereotype because you’re different.”

As much as Gamblin loves following in her mom’s footsteps and teaching in a classroom, her ultimate goal is to work in education policy and advocacy.

“I would love to say, ‘Oh, I’m going to be the Secretary of Education and I’m going to fix all these problems.’ But it really does start at that smallest level,” she said. “At the end of the day, if I can create joy in my scholar’s lives and make them proud of their work, I’ve done my job.”

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