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Benton Hall Academy teacher follows family's footsteps

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Many of us still fondly remember our favorite teachers from grade school, high school and college.

News4 recently visited Benton Hall Academy where we met Joanna Glick, an elementary school teacher, who instructs students with autism.

We also observed how a classroom can be many things to these students, including a place to learn, get approval, and sometimes just be a kid.

While that can lead to some lighthearted moments, it also means teachers must stay on their toes.

They have to be ready to handle constant interruptions and distractions that can easily derail daily lesson plans.

Jimmy Purcell runs Benton Hall Academy. He describes teachers like Joanna Glick as special, dedicated, professionals, who shine in the classroom.

“We've got 2,400 families and students that have come through since 1977. Our students are guys that just don't do well in a bigger school setting. They need a little more support, a little more nurturing," Purcell said.

Glick is a former Brentwood middle and high school teacher. She recently started working at Benton Hall Academy and says making sure her students get what they need is a top priority.

"I teach students with learning differences. So sometimes things that might have gone easier or more smoothly in the classroom can take a lot longer to get through," Glick said.

Glick’s mother, Kathie Franzke, a former teacher herself, came to Benton Hall Academy to watch her daughter work in the classroom.

"It's kind of fun to have the roles reversed. She just sat and watched me teach,” said Glick.

Franzke was asked what she thought when she saw Glick working with her students.

“It was great seeing her daughter in action. Just a great sense of pride and excitement," said Franzke. “I think as she got older I saw her connect with children wherever she went. There was that connection that just doesn't happen and she related to them so well.”

Glick credits her mom for giving her the patience and desire to help all students learn and grow.

"Even just seeing the look on their face when I say you got it, or awesome job, and that lets them know that they've learned, and that you can know the answer, and you're very capable, and that's what excites me most,” said Glick.

Her mother was beaming from ear to ear after listening to her daughter talk about her students.

"I just loved hearing her describe all of that, because that part has never changed over the years, how a teacher feels when her student gets it,” said Franzke.

Both women also smiled when talking about a recent picture they saw of Franzke’s 5-year-old granddaughter Reagan in her playroom at home. It showed Reagan and her younger sister Macklyn in a make-believe classroom where Reagan was clearly pretending to be a teacher.

Franzke said Reagan told her she wants to be a veterinarian when she gets older, but Glick had a different take.

“She’s not going to be a veterinarian. No. She's going to be a teacher,” Glick said.

And she might be right. Based on the picture of the two young sisters, don’t be surprised if young Reagan follows in her family’s footsteps and becomes a teacher one day.

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Anchor

Tom Randles is an award-winning reporter and anchor for News4 since 2006.

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