Meet Mr.Hatcher


Mr.Hatcher makes popcorn with his students to sell to other teachers and students around school.

Ava Babson, Staff writer

David Hatcher was a custodian at West Brunswick for about five years, soon after he left West, he became a teacher assistant at South Brunswick high school for another five years. He is now in the process of his student internship and finishing up his teaching degree here at West to become a Special Ed teacher.

Becoming an Exceptional Children’s teacher may look appealing on paper because of the hiring bonus that comes with it; however, it takes a special person to have the patience and wherewithal to work and provide for students with special needs. They are trained to work with kids who have a wide range of different disabilities or special needs: learning disabilities, behavioral disorders, or developmental delays. These teachers have to use specialized teaching methods and tools to be able to meet the unique needs of each student in order to help them succeed academically and socially.

“I’ve always been interested in EC, so it didn’t really change my mind,” said Hatcher. “I just went to school and stuff like that to get to be a teacher.”

Stephanie McClean, the department head and EC teacher here, has Hatcher in her classroom as his cooperating teacher during Hatcher’s internship. McClean has enjoyed being in the classroom and seeing him work.

“I think he’s going to be a great special ed teacher,” said McClean. “He’s got a real heart for special ed kids, and you can tell he really cares about them and wants to see each child really meet his or her potential and it comes across in the classroom when he’s working with the kids.”

Hatcher has grown to connect with the kids that have special needs throughout the years. He has a personal connection with his son with disabilities which has given him the ability to understand how those kids live and cope with different obstacles in life, especially when it comes to learning. 

“For EC, mainly I worked with one student for about ten years that had autism, so I was interested in that.” said Hatcher, “also my son, he’s diagnosed with ADHD and ODD, so that got me even more interested in it.”

Here in the EC program, some classes really focus on one subject, and that keeps the students focused on learning specific things and learning real life skills they can use at any point in their life, no matter what workforce they go into.

“We teach employment prep, so I enjoy doing job sites with them, teaching them job skills, getting them out in the community, working, and so that’s going to be their future is working,” said Hatcher. “My favorite part is seeing from when they first start, like in 9th grade to when they get to 12th grade, how much skills they’ve gained doing job sites.”

Those students can benefit from employment preparation in multiple ways. It will provide students with the skills they need to succeed in the workforce, no matter what type of disability they have. They will also use those skills in their daily life because employment prep also comes with basic skills like customer service, manners, technical skills, teamwork, communication, etc.

“I think Mr.Hatcher is a great guy,” said McLean. “I think that he’s really smart and he’s really passionate about the kids, so I think wherever he lands, he’ll do an excellent job.”