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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Who are you teaching?

A classmate brought up a question this week that got me to thinking... who are we teaching?

About 10% of our class is special needs students. That is 2-3 students in every class of 25-30 kids who need a lot of redirecting and one-to-one time.

About 15-30% of our students are learning English as a second language. That is 4-8 students with a communication barrier that will need additional assistance from the teacher. In some areas it could be as high as 50%!

About 10% of the kids in our classroom are labeled as gifted and talented. Another 2-3 students who will need to be challenged each step of the way or boredom will result in behavioral issues. These children already know the material but they are still there.

That leaves us with our "normal" students. The highs, lows, and middles of the average student.

So if you were keeping track at least 1/3 of the students in our class need the majority of our time while the remaining students get whatever piece of us is left over.

So what was the question? 

"You work so well with special needs children, why are you not specializing in special education?"

 This question bothers me a lot for a variety of reasons.

It takes 3-5 months minimum to get a child eligible and placed to receive special services. Even when we place them, they must continual to focus on grade level materials rather than remedial skills. They have to do the remedial stuff to, it is just not the focus. (This irritates me to no end but I will leave that one alone. For now.)

Once they are placed, they will spend up to 40% of their time pulled out of the classroom for these special services but for 60% of their day... the majority of it... they are with a general education teacher. The general education teacher NOT the special education teacher is responsible for their academic progress.


If we take all of the teachers who are good at working with specialized students out of the regular classrooms to provide these specialty services who is left in the classroom supporting these children where they spend the majority of their time?

 Now it could be that I am more sensitive to this as I do have special needs children but does anyone else ever wonder about who we are teaching and why? And how can we meet everyone's needs when there are so many and we are not trained to handle them all?

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At June 12, 2012 at 12:24 PM , Blogger Linda said...

Here is the red toolbox:

The smaller one is:

They were the same price so I decided to go for one that was slightly bigger.

Down the Learning Road

At June 12, 2012 at 5:49 PM , Blogger Co-Kindering said...

What a great post! One that we often discuss at our grade level team meetings on a regular basis. I am a co-teacher at the kindergarten level. I LOVE this because I have the opportunity to work closely with so many teachers/OT/PT/Speech who play such a vital role in our classroom. Our school also has a push-in policy which I think is so important as well. I think we all have to attempt to follow the RTI model since students will no longer qualify for any services without proving what has been done in the classroom first. Sorry if I am babbling now. Your post just got me thinking. I am glad that I just found your blog. I am looking forward to following you!

At June 13, 2012 at 2:19 AM , Blogger Shannon said...

I could get on this soapbox for days!!!!!!!!!!

At our school we have 1 special ed school for K-12! So they don't really get help-just the answers which doesn't fix their problems! It's a joke at our school-so sad for the students.

And I was beginning to feel like I couldn't help any of the students in my 6th grade classes with their reading problems. I felt like a total and complete failure this past year. So I'm jumping ship and teaching history next year instead of reading. Yep, running away from the problem.


At June 13, 2012 at 3:23 PM , Blogger Ann said...

I teach at a private school, so we don't have special ed teachers. We have one "special ed" teacher that works two days a week for 3 hours to float between 8 grades. So you can imagine how thinly she is spread. We don't have many special ed kids, but we do have a couple, and quite a few that need extra help. But then we have parents who are VERY hands-on because it's a tuition based school, and their expectations are pretty high. I have as hard of a time balancing my time between giving kids extra help and challenging the kids who need to be challenged, or whose parents want them challenged. Sigh. Ok, I feel better now.
Thanks for listening! I've said this before, but I SO love your blog! I want my bedroom to look like this! (:
The Caffeinated Classroom


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