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Your post has really opened my eyes this evening. I am a first-year teacher, and I teach a self-contained class of 3rd and 5th graders with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities. The mother in me, I have two kids of my own, just wants to keep all of my "babies" with me all day and provide them with whatever it takes to be successful. I am also somewhat of a "control freak" and find it difficult at times to relinquish control, especially with regards to my students and their interactions outside of our little "home." I know that in my class, they are safe and all accommodations/modifications are in place with no issues. However, my little classroom is not the "real world." When you stated, “You never put anything in place- a behavior plan, a modification, a support- that you do not already have an idea of how to take away in the future,” it just clicked with me that all of the extra prompts and supports that I provide probably will not be there in upcoming years, at least not the exact way I teach and conduct my class. And while my strategies and extra help may stroke my control-freak ego and make my students feel all safe and warm and fuzzy while in my class, I am actually do them an injustice by not better preparing them for the "real world;" a world that will not use Post-it note reminders for behavior; a world that may not give second, third, or fourth chances; a real world that is not perfect, but...REAL. At one of our PLC meetings, my coordinator told us that we are to prepare our students for middle school and that we, as teachers, should be able to "push-in" 80% of our students for middle school. Eight of my ten students are expected to be served in resource and/or inclusion settings when they transition to middle school. WHAT? How can this become a reality? This question has been weighing heavily on my mind. However, your post about having an out in place for every support really helped me to realize how I can better prepare my students for the big step of transitioning; I can love them like my own; however, the ultimate goal should be to build skills for independence. Ms. Howell will not always be there; verbal and visual prompts won't always be there. Teaching a student with special needs to be their own advocate and teaching the necessary skills for independence will now be my main focus. I'd love to keep them all with me forever...but, again, that's not the real world. Thank you again for your meaningful words. :)
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Feb 11, 2015