Position: SPED pre-K teacher at West Elementary
Experience: Earned a BS in psychology and a master’s in Early Childhood Special Education at George Washington University, taught high school, then at Eastside, then back to the high school, started in the Pre-Pioneer building teaching SPED pre-K which moved to West Elementary. She has 25 years of experience.
Fun Fact: Hutchins grew up in Maryland near the D.C. area. She and her husband moved after he retired as a butcher.
Q: How was the change from high school to pre-K?
A: “Refreshing,” said Mrs. Hutchins. She said the change made for new experiences, and she studied early childhood education, so she was ready to teach. “There were different problems. It wasn’t easier or harder.”
Q: If you had the chance to go back to high school or elementary level, would you?
A: “I would absolutely stay.” She said pre-K is where she belongs and that the children grow faster at this age. “I like to watch them grow,” Hutchins said.
Q: What’s the most rewarding part?
A: She said when they progress a lot. She had a student one time and said, “He progressed so much, he could go back to the regular classroom.” She said that she felt very proud then.
Q: Did you see a dip in enrollment this year?
A: Mrs. Hutchins said she teaches around 20 students. “Many were VIP students, but after Christmas break, they all came back.” She said it was difficult to teach students that young across Zoom. Deborah said, “The program is growing so much.” She said that the SPED pre-K programs in Warren County are the best in the region. “I can’t just say West,” she said, “but Bobby Ray and Hickory Creek, as a group, we’re excellent.”
Q: What’s your goal as a teacher?
A: Mrs. Hutchins said each student is different. “We get them as ready for kindergarten as much as possible,” she said. Each child has certain things to work on. She added that she loves working with kids but said it is challenging at times. “These kids are energetic,” Deborah said. “Sometimes I’m just so exhausted when I get home.”
But the work is worth it to prepare young children for school, she adds.