Commencement 2012: Special education teacher plays role of detective in the classroom

Emily Keane

Aurora University special education major Emily Keane (left), BA '12, receives the 2012 Golden Apple Award from Don Wold, Dean of the College of Education, at Honors Convocation on April 20.

As a special education teacher, Emily Keane says her job often requires a little bit of detective work. She constantly has to figure out how to differentiate instruction for each of her students.

But there’s no better feeling for the 2012 Aurora University graduate than getting through to a student who has been having a difficult time learning in class.

“I’ve always loved working with kids. I just fell in love with teaching,” said Keane, who received the 2012 Golden Apple Award, presented by the AU College of Education to an outstanding senior who has demonstrated exceptional academic achievement, campus leadership, superior interpersonal relationships and a caring attitude. “Seeing that ‘aha’ moment in my students is awesome.”

During her student teaching assignments this spring in Hoover-Wood Elementary School and Batavia High School in her hometown of Batavia, Keane learned how to run a classroom and work with other teachers to develop lesson plans. She hopes to continue working in the district this fall.

Keane’s long-term career goals include getting a master’s degree in urban education and teaching at-risk students in inner-city schools.

As a transfer student from Waubonsee Community College, Keane decided to come to AU because she kept hearing about the great special education program. She said her experience exceeded her expectations.

“My teachers went above and beyond their required duties. Their passion for teaching shined through brightly,” she said. “They went out of their way to help me any way they could.”