Feature Teacher: Becki Gabriele

By Lucas Fischer | Jun 17, 2017
Becki Gabriele

Camden — Each month we profile a different teacher in the Camden and Rockport public school systems so the community gets to know the strength of the teaching staff in the classrooms. These profiles are compiled, written and submitted by Camden Hills Regional High School sophomore Lucas Fischer.

Becki Gabriele is the final teacher we will feature in the “Feature Teacher” series that the FiveTown CSD and MSAD 28 Superintendent’s office has produced for the past two years. Our intention was to elevate the status of teaching by sharing some of the amazing backgrounds of the teachers working in our school system. In addition, we hoped to give you a better understanding of the philosophy and approach our teachers bring to the classroom each day. There has been a great deal of negative press about public education the past several years that does not reflect the reality of our school system (or many others). We wanted to offer a different perspective and instill confidence in our community about the high quality of public education offered in this district. We hope our readers have found the series interesting and informative. Next year we plan to run a series where we take a relevant topic, for instance, later start time, and offer a dual perspectives, one from our student intern and one from our superintendent. That series will begin next fall and will replace the Feature Teacher series and the monthly superintendent article. Enjoy the final Feature Teacher!

“You’ve got to reach them before you teach them,” said Becki Gabriele, a Special Education teacher at the Camden-Rockport Middle School. Gabriele believes that, in order to have success with her students, she must first get to know them personally. “I firmly believe in building bonds with those around me,” she said. In building a relationship between herself and her students, Gabriele gains trust from those students. “It has been a thrill to witness this trust help students realize their potential,” she said. She also finds that her students become more excited about learning when they realize that somebody is supporting them and wants to see them grow. “When they recognize that someone is advocating for them, their attitudes develop and they get excited about learning.”

Gabriele has been perfecting her teaching philosophy over the past 20 years in the Five Towns District. In 1997, she accepted a position as a substitute teacher which eventually led to her becoming a Special Education ed tech and finally a Special Education teacher. This year is her 15th year as a Special Education teacher at CRMS.

Gabriele grew up in Colorado Springs, Colo., before attending Whitworth University in Spokane, Wash. for two years. She married in Minneapolis and, in 1982, moved to Maine. Once in Maine, she and her husband purchased Marriner’s Restaurant in Camden, which they still own — 35 years later. In Maine, Gabriele had four children of her own. She eventually went back to school and began working in the Five Towns School District. She got her bachelor’s degree in Social Science through the University of Maine-Augusta, after which she got her degree in Special Education.

During the past few years, Gabriele and the rest of her department have tried some new ideas: instead of working with the same grade each year, Gabriele and her colleagues have been looping with the same group of students for two years in a row. This has allowed Gabriele to build stronger bonds with her students and their families. “It was quite taxing to keep moving and not really be caught up on things with each grade,” she said. Despite some advantages of looping, she also noticed some drawbacks to the new system, such as students becoming over-dependent, and believes that both structures have their own benefits and issues.

Recently, she and her colleagues have spent more time using a technique known as “co-teaching.” Using this technique, Gabriele collaborates with the regular classroom teacher to deliver instruction to a group of students that includes her special education students instead of taking them out and working with them separately. This is a different model than the traditional approach where her students might be included in regular instruction for part of the class period, but are just as likely to be pulled out for part of it for re-teaching or accessing alternative curriculum materials. The middle school is trying to limit “pull-out” to students who are unable to access the regular classroom.

Every year, Gabriele takes her students on a “walking field trip” to Marriner’s, where they might have a small snack or feed the ducks. Many of her past students have come to work at Marriner’s and she enjoys seeing this connection between her and her husband’s work. “I really do think that is is unique how my husband’s and my career paths have crossed,” she said. She also enjoys being able to provide job opportunities for her past students.

During the past few years, Gabriele has been perfecting her philosophy and skills. “My life is truly an expression of my teaching philosophy,” she said. “I approach my day-to-day life journey and address my classroom with fresh eyes each new day,” she continued. In the future, she hopes to see more of her students at Marriner’s and see them become part of the community. Most of all, Becki wants to keep evolving her methods and keep up-to-date professionally with the best practices in her field. “I intend to be proactive as an educator and never let my learning become stagnant,” she said. Like so many other teachers in our two districts whom I have interviewed this year, I am impressed with Becki’s dedication, thoughtful approach, and ethos of continual improvement. We are truly fortunate to have so many high quality educators in our midst.

Camden Hills Regional High School Sophomore Lucas Fischer is an intern in the superintendent's office.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Kendall Merriam | Jun 17, 2017 20:09

What terrific write-ups this school district does about their teaching staff to inform parents and the community! Too bad

RSU #13 does not do the same for their teaching staff.

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