Most of us have been there at some point.

What You Need To Know

Every kid wants to belong, but it can be tough keeping up because students learn differently.

Our latest A+ Teacher is working overtime to make sure her students get everything they need to be successful.

Cassie Whalen moves from one student and class to the next at Pinellas Park Elementary.

They're her family, and teaching is her passion.

"I live and breathe it,” Whalen said. “I’m here as soon as you can wake up."

She teaches dozens of students from third grade through fifth grade, making sure no one gets left behind.

"Really the calling to work with students with disabilities is just, I wanted every kid to learn,” she said. “You just want to make sure that every kid is going to be a successful adult when they get older.

"Learning is like a puzzle, and you just have to find these right pieces for each student to fit together for them to master that standard."

They just need a little extra help to get over the finish line. Whalen figures out the right technique for each child, and then celebrates every win.

"When they overcome a hurdle and they finally get it, and that glimmer in their eyes or the smile on their face, I tend to get overly excited for them,” she said. “It's like watching a football game. I'll say, 'Yes, oh my goodness! You got it!

“And they get super excited about it. I get really theatrical when they master something. Like I said, a gain is a gain, from reading a book to writing a paragraph or solving a math problem."

Whalen helped create and design an interactive "sensory room" on campus.

"It's kind of a growing room for what a kid needs,” she said. “For example, the tent was for a student who likes to hide when she becomes overloaded. I said, 'Oh, I got a 4-year old with a tent. I’m going to bring it in.'"

It's not just students - she builds strong relationships with their families.

"I'm always communicating with my parents via text or phone,” Whalen said. “I'll say, 'Hey, do you want a photo of your kid learning today? And they go yeah!' So I take photos of my students and send to the families."