Check out my guest blog at SmartBlog on Education titled "Successful co-teaching: What teachers need from their administrators".
Resource, now newly titled “Guided Studies” in our district, is a difficult class to plan for and teach. While I only have 4-7 students in each class, each student needs to be working towards their individual IEP goals. Which means I have to plan between 11-14 different activities each day for those two classes. Additionally, trying to coordinate and execute so many different activities at the same time can be difficult. On top of that, I have to make sure I’m monitoring and updating each student’s progress towards their IEP goals.
This year, my goal was to make resource run more efficiently. To do so, I am trying to put more ownership on the students. This has meant a lot of preparation by me, and a lot of reinforcing routines, but hopefully it will pay off.
Ever since I was a kid, I have loved the start of the new school year. Actually, let me rephrase that - I have loved buying new school supplies for the start of the new school year. The fresh notebooks, the unwrinkled folders, and the empty planner signaled my yearly opportunity to become a better me. A better, more organized, me.
It is this passion for continuous organizational improvement that remains consistent as I became a teacher. Every year is the chance for me to become better organized and more efficient than last year. This year it’s even more important, as it is my first year as a working mother. I had my son back in May, and I am obsessed with him (as every first time mom is). So it is even more important these days that I be organized and efficient at work, so I can spend the precious time I have at home playing with him. To do this, I have jumped on the organization train going full steam ahead!
Charles A. Tidley Accelerated Charter School has a poster in their hallway that reads “College or Die”. This motto, similar to many schools around the country, tries to aspire all students (especially those in underserved populations) to attend college. The idea is a good one – that all students should aim high. However, does it neglect certain students, including many with special needs?
Recently, Harvard’s Graduate School of Education released a report that examined this idea of pushing all students towards four-year colleges. The concern was that those students not going to college (for whatever reasons) are being ill-prepared for the future. The research shows that an increasing number of jobs require more than just a high school diploma. In 1973, people who only had a high school diploma held seven out of ten jobs. In 2007, that number was only four out of ten. Additionally, people with post-secondary education and training are more likely to find a job, be paid more, and be active and involved in the community. However, many of these jobs don’t necessarily require Bachelor’s degrees, but Associates degrees or post-secondary training. By focusing students on four-year institutions, we are disregarding those who might not fit this path, but instead could go on to other post-secondary education or training.
Currently, the major trend in special education is inclusion, meaning students with disabilities are included in the general education classroom with their non-disabled peers. However, often one of the concerns many parents and educators have about inclusion is how the special education students will still receive the appropriate level of services to meet their individual needs. To answer this concern, the new education movement to foster inclusion is “co-teaching”. This is where a general education teacher and a special education teacher teach together in one classroom. I have had the benefit of being in two wonderful co-teaching relationships, and I believe ALL parents, both those of students with disabilities and of those without, should push to have their children in a co-taught classroom. There are many reasons that co-taught classrooms are beneficial to students, but here is what I’ve found most important in my experience co-teaching:
Many of my best ideas I have borrowed from other fabulous educators. This blog is a place for me to share what I have done, in the hopes that someone else can find it useful in their own practice. In addition, I use it as a space to reflect on the issues important to those of us in the education field.