Passion pursuer chooses Etowah


Over the course of over 15 years, Amy Blanton has felt a natural calling to adopt and foster numerous children. After this experience, however, she felt inspired to change her career path, while still continuing to pursue her passion for working in school systems. Blanton is among Etowah High School’s newest teachers in the Special Education department and already loves her job. 

“I was a [teacher’s assistant] for four years and loved it. We were foster parents – my husband and I – [and] we had probably about 50 or 60 foster kids come through our house. Out of that, I decided to go back to school, I got my master’s, and here I am,” Blanton said. 

Blanton has always been drawn to social work and tends to lean more toward students who require extra help and may have a developmental disorder or suffered through trauma. After watching children come and go through foster care, she decided that she wanted to rework her life path as a foster parent and enter a relaxed, welcoming classroom environment. 

“The job that I was doing was overwhelming. I was on call a lot, and so I would get a call at maybe 2 o’clock in the morning with something happening with a child in foster care. It was kind of a nice shift to be a teacher for kids in special needs because I am still helping those who need a little extra help,” Blanton said. 

Aside from electives and lunch, Blanton currently overlooks ten students throughout the day. She works extensively with all her students, interacting and learning from them in a way that typical, busy classrooms are unable to achieve. Blanton is aware of the distinctions in all her students’ personalities, which allows her to cater to what they need individually. 

“They are all kind of learning something different. You never really know what to expect, and it is always fun,” Blanton said. 

Despite being in a supervisor position, Blanton continues to learn from her students’ actions every day. Not everyone that she oversees has the same mental processing ability, yet she sees her students learning and adapting to one another’s behaviors. 

“Sometimes [students] know way more than we do and make us think a little bit differently. You would think that you could tell them how to do something one way, and they will tell me ’No, I will do it my way,’ but sometimes their way of handling things is a lot clearer than yours.” Blanton said. 

From her teaching career, Blanton specifically remembers a story that unfolded one day on the buses which were merged with students in special education and students from Ace Academy, an alternative school in Cherokee County where a physical fight broke out between two boys. A special needs student that Blanton was supervising was able to stop the fight completely using emotional reasoning, stating that the fighting was scaring her friends. She has since reflected upon this day while working with special needs children. 

“There is a sense of charm in special needs kids and adults, but they are also non-judgmental; there is no filter. They could be very intelligent, but they are all very kind because they know what it is like to be judged or mistreated. Generally, they are the first to say hello,” Blanton said. 

Blanton plans to continue her line of work helping those in need, no matter what their struggles may be. Her story is proof that it is never too late to find one’s calling and make a difference in the community.