Soo, it’s been a while. 🙂
I finished my placement at the middle school and I have to say I miss them terribly! I adored the ninth-graders who had given up on school and being smart and I hope with all my heart that they will keep trying and remember that life does get better. They mean the world to me. I will sorely miss the seventh-graders who tried so hard and worked so much. We will always have Brooklyn! Most of all, I miss my host teacher. She is amazing and I will be forever grateful for her words of wisdom and advice. (Even the advice I didn’t follow!)
And now I move on to third grade and general education. I’ve been there a shortened week, getting my feet wet, learning the kids’ names and personalities. I start teaching next week, my favorite subject–Science! … Okay, I am exaggerating, all the subjects are my favorite subjects! We are exploring sponges next week. In the BEFORE TIMES I would have passed out a bunch of sponges for groups of students to work with and explore with all their senses…discouraging the tasting of such things…. Nowadays, we are going to have to watch a video but I’d still love to get a cheap loofah and cut it into 20 pieces to give to the students. I’m going to see what’s in the science kit and ask my new host teacher what she thinks.
General observations from the new placement:
- I now know why elementary teachers are so stressed and burn out so quickly. Those poor dears have NO downtime except what they carve from the calendar. And believe me, any carving leaves trails of blood and death in its wake!
- I finally get the importance of routine and classroom management. There is SO much to do if any student is off task for only a few minutes then precious time is lost for all the rest of the class.
- I honestly believe there is something fundamentally broken about the system and I think the way to solve it is to put more people in the classrooms. They don’t even all have to be the highly trained, certified, professional teachers.
- In the special education placement, the teachers were drowning in paperwork. I get it, anything that is highly regulated is going to require paperwork…it’s what feeds the bureaucracy, after all. But there was SO much paperwork there was little time for grading and feedback to the students. The skills these students are learning have already been mastered by high school graduates. Someone with a high school diploma could easily be in that classroom helping with feedback and one-on-one coaching under the supervision of a teacher.
- In the general education placement, there is so much going on that the only way to hit everyone and provide them with the help they need is to pull students aside in one-on-one or small groups. This shouldn’t be limited to special education students, in my opinion, but common practice. As it stands, even when there is RTI scheduled, it has to be offered equally to all students in the general education environment and can only be offered to students more often after that student has been given an IEP and labeled as needing special education. This in turn requires even more paperwork for the gen ed teacher plus weeks of data collection, meetings with parents and professionals, AND parental permission. Why can’t we just have an aide in there to pull the student aside for a few minutes a day after recess–not the stigma of leaving the classroom for a resource room–and have them reteach an item that student doesn’t understand?
The world may never know.