Rachel has been a special education teacher in early childhood education and elementary, middle and high school. Her favorite part of being a special education teacher is that every child is unique and teaches her something new every day. Rachel Aberasturi is a self-identified SpedHead — meaning she is passionate and curious about anything special-education related including policies, research, and best practices. (If SpedHead is not a thing already, she is leaning into this term in hopes that it will eventually become a thing.)
Making the leap to become a special education teacher was one of the best decisions Rachel has ever made. After eight years of working in politics, Rachel realized that she was restless and unfulfilled in this line of work. She came across the term ethical ambition, which made her rethink how she made career choices and measured her happiness.
She joined Chicago Teaching Fellows, an alternative certification program that joined with Chicago Public Schools to fill emergency vacancies for teachers. During her first year of teaching, she was reminded every day of how much she loved the students — and how much more she needed to learn to better serve them. Every day, she spent hours after school Googling best practices and resources. The Special Educator’s Guide to Survival is a collection of content and resources she wish she had as a new, inexperienced teacher.
Rachel went back to school and now has three teaching credentials – a mild/moderate teaching credential, a moderate/severe teaching credential, and an early childhood special education teaching credential. She has a Master’s in Special Education and is starting a Master’s in Social Work. She will likely remain in school for years to come, since she seeks new educational opportunities like a hoarder seeks water-stained magazines and yellowed paper doilies.
Rachel spends most of her time chasing toddler identical twin boys. When she does get a free moment, she loves to self-prescribe hiking as a form of therapy, binge watch serial killer shows on Netflix, and vacuum the nest of accumulated dog hair from her three fur babies that she shares with her husband Daniel Aberasturi, who is a dual immersion Spanish teacher. Needless to say, there is non-stop teacher talk and not enough space for all of the education-related books in their house.