Thursday, June 30, 2016

J is for Journey

The grad class that I’m teaching is beginning and I love to see these teachers on their new journey. All of my students are certified teachers getting their master’s degree in special education.

Next week our Summer Learning Place begins which is a month long program to help children who have learning and/or behavior problems. Lessons will include reading, math, and writing lessons and each class will have a behavior plan. The children (ages 6-14) will attend for 3 hours each morning Monday through Thursday.

Yesterday was the first class meeting with my students who began planning for their class. This includes creating pre-assessments and discussing the class routine.

I heard one teacher say that she never had to collaborate with another teacher in the same classroom before and this was going to be a challenge.

While listening to the teachers, I was glad to hear the excitement in their voices. I didn’t see any reluctance on anyone’s part and they seemed to be totally involved.

I too am excited each year to watch the journey that each teacher takes as they practice their skills with the children. Many things can’t be learned from textbooks and can only be learned through experience. I will be evaluating their lesson plans and their performances in the classroom. This is their chance to show me all that they have learned in the master’s program. Yet, I am also a valuable resource for them in case they need guidance for specific challenges.

I feel each year that I teach this class I go on a journey with my students and each year is different than the one before it. Depending on the mix of teachers, the atmosphere is very different. I just hope the journey this year is meaningful and enjoyable to all.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

I is Impossible

We need to stop telling students that things are impossible.

We need to help them find the possible in the impossible.

I am always reminded of a story that a friend told me about when he was a job coach. This high school special education student with mental disabilities wanted to be a doctor. That is all he wanted to be! My friend knew that there was no way this boy would ever become a doctor. But instead of telling him that his dream was impossible, he questioned the boy further. What was so special about being a doctor? Why did this boy want to be a doctor? After a lengthy discussion, my friend found out that the boy really wanted to wear a white jacket! My friend helped find the student a job in the cafeteria (wearing a white jacket) and it was the perfect job for him! Instead of just telling the boy that his goal was impossible and try to distract him by offering other jobs, my friend did further investigation.

This is always in the back of my mind when I think that my students’ goals are unrealistic. I need to figure out the right questions to ask so that I can help make them realistic and meaningful to all of the students.

How do you help your students find the possible in impossible? Please share.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

H is for Health

As I get older I realize how much good health is important to my quality of life.

I wish that this was stressed when I was younger.

I always heard that you are what you eat. It is important to get the right balance of fruits and vegetables in my diet which I didn’t have a lot of it when I was younger. Now I make green smoothies to get a lot of the vitamins and minerals in my diet each day. They give me energy and make me feel good.

I regularly exercise because it makes me feel good (after the initial misery) and I really believe that my skin looks better.

I am working on relaxation exercises so that when I feel stressed, I can control my worry and anxiety.

Sleep is important so our body can prepare itself for the next day. Less sleep can cause people to gain weight and become irritable.

I believe we need to encourage our students to think about their health at a young age so they don’t have to worry about their weight or blood pressure when they get older. Learning good healthy habits are much easier when you are younger than when you are older.

What good health habits would you add to the list? Please share.