The student news site of Linganore High School

The Lance

The student news site of Linganore High School

The Lance

The student news site of Linganore High School

The Lance

Lancer Spotlight: Special education teacher Gayle Blair inspires students to “Hang in there!”

Horses by heart and teaching by choice


courtesy of Gayle Blair

Gayle Blair with her horse in a barn on a beautiful day.

Special education teacher Gayle Blair stresses mental health and makes sure all of her students are “hanging in there” on a daily basis.

Blair is a burst of sunshine to her students, especially through this cloudy pandemic. When students are confused on any assignment Blair is there to save the day, no matter what subject her students need help with.

She reaches out to a student’s teacher so that they know what the student needs assistance on and she is always there with motivation and encouragement. Blair welcomes her students with a smile making sure to say “hello” to everyone and asking how all of her students are each day.

Sophomore, Jessica Hagenbuch, sees Blair everyday during PREP and is welcomed by Blair’s sunshine.

Hagenbuch said, “Blair is always asking me about my day…she is so positive and a good person to talk too.

Blair is a Special Education teacher and works with math students. She is one of the few teachers who is in the building and she works with the small groups who go to school on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Blair said, “The reason that I’ve stayed at Linganore so long is because, hands-down, I think we have the best teachers and admin in the county.”

Blair is a co-teacher in Geometry with Anne Thigpen and Algebra with Sharon Drake.  With the general ed. teachers, she creates a strong partnership.

Thigpen said, “Mrs. Blair and I are true teaching partners. When we work together, I will teach as Mrs. Blair provides visual support, clues, or verbal prompts in her video feed or in the chat. She is in constant communication with families and students. . .We talk often about students’ personal struggles, focusing on how we can better support the individual learners, both in their learning and in their life.”

Students all learn at different paces and in different ways. Blair was inspired to become a Special Education teacher because of this.

Blair said, “I never learned the same way other people learned, and so that was part of my motivation…I wanted to help kids who don’t learn like other kids learn and so they don’t feel like they’re not as smart or not as good [as their peers.]”

In fact, when Blair was in high school in Montgomery County, she remembers that she really wanted to graduate and move on with her life. She said that most of her high school peers would be surprised to learn she became a teacher. Academics, then, were not her favorite.

“School was not ‘my thing,” she said.

Blair has learned to keep herself very organized.  She admits that  she has lists everywhere, on her journal, on her phone, and writes down basic things she needs to do every day. She encourages her students to make to-do lists, make calendars and checklists.

Gayle Blair ready for her day with the sun shining and two computers all set up.

Mental health, growth mindset, and being positive are topics that Blair talks about in PREP and encourages students to pay more attention to.

Hagenbuch said, “Blair is always talking about how if you have the right mindset you can get through it and staying positive is also a big part of it as well.”

Blair’s accomplishments extend outside of the classroom. She loves the outdoors and is not an indoor person. Walks and bike rides are a nice, simple, easy break from school and stress. Mental health and relaxation are important now more than ever and just taking a breath of fresh air can help to release anxiety or any worries.

Blair said, “I go on bike rides on the C & O Canal and I have ridden a total of about 1,300 miles this year! Sometimes I can’t think under pressure.”

Being inside, looking at faces, icons, bubbles, or skittles on a screen isn’t the idea we had for 2020 but Coach Rudy’s SEL lessons during PREP let students and teachers know how important mental health really is.

Blair said, “I think the lessons have given an opportunity for transparency and open dialogue about the current environment. Really the lessons have made me realize that our mental and physical health is paramount right now. Yes, we need to get the school work done but we need to take care of ourselves and others.”

Blair says she gets the positive outlook on life from her faith, that is where her motivation and strength comes from. Waking up to a verse or a daily devotional every day feels so good and shines a light, especially in this somewhat dark time.

Blair said, “I have a strong faith that gets me through any challenge or obstacle. I try to start the day with a devotional, prayer, and I keep a gratitude journal. In the journal I write down what I am thankful for that day.”

Blair loves to help others and if she could give one advice to all her students this is what she would say.

“It is important to find that thing in your life that makes you feel happy and alive. Make sure you make time to indulge that passion.”

— Gayle Blair

When Blair was in between two career choices she chose where she was happiest and went back to that and she wants to make sure that her students know to go with whatever makes them happy.

Believe it or not, teaching wasn’t Blair’s first career choice, horses were! Horses have always been a huge part of her life, she even got to ride and take care of horses in college majoring in Equine Studies.

Blair attended Salem College in West Virginia with a major in Equine Studies and minor in Special Ed. She has a Riding Masters from Meredith Manor, also in West Va., in Teaching and Training. Her graduate degree is from Hood College in Special Education Secondary.

Blair’s senior photo from Walter Johnson High School.

Blair comes from a very academic family and also a horseback riding family.

Blair said, “I’ve been riding ever since I was a baby, My dad was a rider and my sister was, too, so there wasn’t a time that I can remember, when I didn’t ride.”

Horses and a beautiful day out in the field and in the barn is what Blair daydreamed about in high school, literally.

Blair said, “School was not my thing. I was the kind of student that would look out the window and daydream and couldn’t wait to get out, get outside and go be with my horse.”

Back in high school, Blair thought about horses and being in the horse business was a dream she wanted to chase so she went for it.

“My first career was actually with horses so I rode, bought, sold, trained, gave lessons and I did that for 6 years right out of college. Horses have always been my passion and it was amazing that I was able to spend those years doing something that I loved.”

Horses are a responsibility just like any pet but it takes a lot of responsibility to own a horse. Blair owned a horse who was her best friend all through high school and college. Now she rides horses with a great group of women at the Clarksburg Equestrian Center.

“I’m really happiest in the barn.”

Blair has so many encouraging and inspirational words up her sleeve and she makes sure that her students are doing their best and not falling behind.

Hagenbuch said, “She is always telling me to not give up when things get hard because she knows that I can get through it.”

Blair said, “Don’t give up, keep trying no matter what.”

Donate to The Lance
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Linganore High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase camera equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs. We hope to raise enough money to re-start a monthly printed issue of our paper.

Navigate Left
  • Shahmeer Chaudhry hopes to become a pilot. He has learned most of his skills from a flight simulator where he trains in realistic conditions, including the cockpit/flight deck, the plane type and current weather conditions.

    Fall 2020

    Lancer Spotlight: Chaudhry practices flight simulation to prepare for pilot future

  • Habig after his check ride examiner told him he passed.

    Fall 2020

    Lancer Spotlight: Math teacher plans USAF career

  • Winter sports are starting back up January 25.

    Fall 2020

    Hopes and dreams crushed: Losing sports season more than physical letdown

  • Some of Netflixs most popular shows are exiting the site.

    Arts & Entertainment

    Is a Netflix subscription worth the monthly price?

  • The year of waiting...

    Fall 2020

    The terrible weight of waiting: Will this hybrid plan fix anything?

  • Mrs. Kirkland’s Backpacking Adventure to the Himalayas: An escape from stress and time with friends

    Fall 2020

    Mrs. Kirkland’s Backpacking Adventure to the Himalayas: An escape from stress and time with friends

  • Book Review: As Bright as Heaven reminds readers history is repeating itself

    Arts & Entertainment

    Book Review: “As Bright as Heaven” reminds readers history is repeating itself

  • Valentines Day emphasizes healthy teen relationships

    Fall 2020

    Valentine’s Day emphasizes healthy teen relationships

  • Neftflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Video, and Hulu are some of the most popular streaming services out there. Yet, there are still so many other options.

    Fall 2020

    Streaming Services: How to choose the best

  • Album Review: The Black Keys release 10th anniversary album

    Arts & Entertainment

    Album Review: The Black Keys release 10th anniversary album

Navigate Right
Donate to The Lance
Our Goal

Activate Search
The student news site of Linganore High School
Lancer Spotlight: Special education teacher Gayle Blair inspires students to “Hang in there!”

Comments (0)

All comments will be moderated and will normally be approved within 24 hours.
All The Lance Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published.