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The Times
  • New special education teacher looks to be a positive influence

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  • William Clooney fondly remembers a story from his first teaching job after college.
    He taught in a self-contained classroom and a student who rarely came to class was upset with him because Clooney reminded the student of his brother. As the year went on, the two started talking and forged a relationship.
    “We found common ground and I began to help him,” said Clooney. “He grew to the point where he wasn't going to graduate to where he actually did.”
    Clooney, the new special education teacher at Fort Plain Junior-Senior High School, said he hopes he can make the same type of difference in the lives of students in Fort Plain. He sees the chance to work in a smaller school district as an opportunity.
    “I've always had a knack of working with kids. I'm used to playing basketball with them and I've always wanted a challenge and to make a difference,” he said. “Making a difference means being there for them in any capacity or being a role model. It means doing anything to make them think, be creative, challenge themselves or even challenge me.”
    Clooney residents in Latham and received his bachelor's degree in education from SUNY Albany and his master's degree in education from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. Currently in his eleventh year of teaching, he's taught in Schenectady, South Glens Falls and in Massachusetts.
    Utilizing technology plays a big role in Clooney's teaching style, he said, along with project-based learning and hands-on activities. He plans to utilize the SMART Board in his classroom to play educational games with students this year.
    “I love to use humor and different styles to the classroom and I love interactive activities so students can develop their social skills,” he said. “I also want parents to know that I'm here for their child and am available whenever they need me to be.”
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