Teacher Profile: Nicole Muldowney

Rosa Stern Pait, Co-Editor in Chief

Photo by Rosa Stern Pait
Photo by Rosa Stern Pait

Nicole Muldowney works in special education.

Where were you before you were at BHS?

I was at a collaborative school.

Where was that?

It’s called the Merrimack Valley Special Education Collaborative.

What do you do here in the special education program?

I’m a behavior consultant.

What does that mean?

My title is a BCBA. It’s a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Basically, I help facilitate different learning that’s impacted by behaviors. Basically everything is considered a behavior, so it’s basically whenever you present a child with—we call it a stimulus, but it’s anything—you expect a certain type of response. You ask a child to do something, or you give them a directive, your hope is that they’re going to comply [with] what you’re asking them to do. It could also be just like you give someone a schedule, and you’re hoping that they can get through their day using their schedule.

What made you want to work in special education?

I [spent] nine years teaching before I was at Merrimack. I loved working with kids, and I loved helping children that were maybe needing a little bit more resources than others.

How long have you known you wanted to be a teacher?

Since I was in high school.

Do you remember any specific thing that prompted you to want to do that or just in general?

It was actually in my AP Psych class.

How did that affect you?

Just learning about different diagnoses, and different people and different needs, it kind of made me want to be able to work and help kids that fell into certain categories.

What was your first impression of BHS?

Very welcoming, everybody was very friendly. Everyone’s super supportive and collaborative.

Was it different from Merrimack?

Yeah, because the staff seems a little bit more knowledgeable.

Do you have any hobbies, anything you like to do?

Sure, I love to spend time with son, with my family, we like to bike and hike and camp.

What’s your favorite age group to teach?

I don’t know that I have a favorite age, they’re all so different, and it’s exciting to teach different aspects of different ages. I feel like each group is dynamic in its own way, so as long as you’re working with kids you’re learning a lot with them, I mean, high school’s completely different from elementary or middle. Guess it depends on the subjects you’re trying to teach. Doing literacy in an elementary school is very different than teaching literacy in high school, just because of the potential levels of your students and how much more abstract you can potentially get in high school, as opposed to elementary. It’s more the foundations of reading that you’re teaching. It’s just a higher level of thinking when you’re in a high school. Doesn’t mean that one’s better than the other, it just means that there’s a different genre that you’re really teaching, I mean, it’s just different terms, different things that they’re learning. You can take the text to a different level, depending on the kid’s level.

Rosa Stern Pait can be contacted at [email protected]