Teacher Talk: Featuring Karyann Kahler

1) Tell us about yourself.

Well, I’m from Southwest Philly. Arthur is the first and only school that I’ve taught at—I’ve been here for 13 years. I teach in our autistic support program.


2) What’s your favorite thing about Arthur?

Arthur really is a community. The other day, during that freak snowstorm, some kids slept at other kids’ houses because they couldn’t get home; I just love how everybody helps each other out. For my students specifically, it’s really important to me that they are embraced as part of the Arthur family. Just today I saw a fifth grade boy hold a door for my kids and he gave them a compliment about how well they were walking in line. My kids felt so good getting a compliment from an older student! FoCA helps make that community. Parents see FoCA working together with the school and it helps set the tone. Seeing all the funding come to the school has been awesome.


3) What does FoCA support look like in your classroom specifically?

That kidney table and that white board were FoCA purchases. And from the Amazon wishlist, I just got my laminating paper. It’s my life! Seriously, everything in this room is laminated because visuals are really important. For example, we velcro each student’s schedule to their desk every day and my nonverbal students use a communication book to hand me a picture of what they need: bathroom, snack, etc. They bring it everywhere. So when I got my laminating paper, I seriously felt like I hit the lottery.


4) Recent moment of joy?

I use clips to hold up chart paper in the front of the room. I was working with a small group in the back of the classroom when the paper slipped out of the clips and fell down. One of my students ran over to catch the paper and then asked his classmate for help clipping it back up.  It was so amazing, because he rarely asks for help and doesn’t interact much with his peers. We’ve been working on asking questions all year and it was so gratifying when he applied what we have been learning without any direction from me. It definitely made me smile. I love my students!