Teacher didn’t choose special education, but it chose her

Published 9:32 am Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Once Rebecca Busby finished her master’s degree, she thought she’d teach some night classes at a community college, but in March 2013, her plans got turned upside down.

That’s when she was asked to become the teacher at Jacob’s Ladder, a job she said she is honored to have.

“We are a learning center for adults with special needs,” she said. “We focus on life skills.”

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Busby has a background in elementary education and never planned to work with special needs individuals. About the time Busby finished her master’s degree, opportunity came knocking.

“When I was offered the job, I said I would give it from March until May,” she said. “I decided I would fill in and try it out, and I was truthfully a little intimidated by the job.”

When May rolled around, Busby realized she couldn’t leave.

“I had fallen in love with the school and the kids,” she said. “I wanted to stay a part of the family.”

A former public school teacher, Busby said the job she has now is the best of both worlds.

“I don’t have lessons plans to the extent the public school teachers have to deal with, and I don’t have to deal with as much red tape,” she said.

“But I still get to do field trips and other fun community stuff.”

Busby said students at Jacob’s Ladder work on everything from social skills like how to have conversations and good manners to chores like cooking meals and sweeping and dusting.

“Also when we go into the community we work on life skills then too,” she said. “We’re going to the library later this week, and sometimes we’ll go to a musical or the symphony.”


For families who are in agreement, Jacob’s Ladder also tries to help find gainful employment for their students, Busby said. The 15 students are what really make the job worth it, Busby said.

“It’s just rewarding working with young adults who have such a positive outlook on life all the time and who never forget a birthday and are always sensitive to the needs of others,” she said. “They really are great.”

Busby said another aspect she really enjoys is helping out with Special Olympics.

“It’s fun being a coach and not just being the teacher who takes them and watches,” she said.

“I love being hands on when Garnet actually hits the ball or when Matt gets first place in soccer, and they feel like they have just won gold at the Olympics. It’s so rewarding to see them succeed.”

When Busby isn’t working with her students at Jacob’s Ladder, she’s got three children of her own who keep her busy with swim and dance. Busby said in her spare time she enjoys baking, running and reading.