PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Sara Klug is fast, funny and one of the best in the world at her job. She just received the ultimate award, proving something her students knew for almost four decades.
Klug teaches at Morgan Fitzgerald Middle School in Largo. The Council for Exceptional Children named her the winner of the 2018 Clarissa Hug Teacher of the Year, one of the highest international honors for a special needs teacher.
Klug's secret to being a successful teacher? “Positivity.”
To get into Klug's classroom each and every day, you need a password and one of the four H’s: hi, hello, handshake or hug.
“When they first come in, establishing the positive helps immensely," said Klug. "If I’m not at the door with my game on, it will not be pretty.”
But Klug's game is rarely off. The burnout rate for a special-needs teacher is about five years. She has been one for 37 years.
“My whole purpose, why I do what I do, is to have them make gains they can use for the rest of their lives," said Klug.
There are bright colors in Klug's classroom, complimenting her teaching pace that is fast, fun and constantly engaging. Positivity in abundance from start to finish.
“I do get results. Students scores go up here,” said Klug.
She prefers small classrooms and then breaks down the students into even smaller groups and work stations. The intimate surroundings allow Klug to better understand a student’s particular needs.
“I pull kids in and I make changes when I need to." said Klug. "This group of kids needs one thing, this group needs another.”