October 6, 2022- The little guy was too put off by a work page that was way too crowded and busy for a person with his special needs, so he got under his desk. A classmate said that was where B went, when he got rattled or scared.
The lead teacher has known these students for six weeks, and directed the child and his paraprofessional to a much easier page. Fortunately, the children have alphabet charts and number lines, to back them up, when working on such pages.
The class has the benefit of being led by the above-mentioned teacher, who has a unique blend of intellectual skills, flexible mindset and a keen sense of when to show gentleness or firmness. He has four paraprofessionals working with him: One who has been in the class for over twenty years. One, who recently came on board, has strong native intelligence, as to devising activities that challenge the students at a very basic level, along with an entertaining mode of delivery, after years in the sales profession. The other two are gentle, personable and confident.
All in all, the atmosphere has evolved into one of excellence, appealing to the students’ own sense of self-worth, which is not always a given, in a special needs class. This, in turn, leads to the students wanting to do things on their own and refusing any situation that would contribute to a sense of helplessness. I can think of two kids who sorely needed that change of situation. The teacher will not cater to them, when they do lapse into a mindset of helplessness, though he does not push them beyond their emotional state. The bar remains high, and when they have returned to recovery mode, he gets them to finish their tasks.
It was a fine thing to see a classroom of this magnitude, having been in others where the student/teacher ratio is too high, the structural and expectation levels low and/or at least one staff member is disgruntled, either with the children or with co-workers.
That sounds very fulfilling, both for the students and for the teachers!
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The school as a whole has become a magnet for people of capacity to come to work. I am favourably impressed with the principal and her staff.
A teacher who is tuned into the students and able to redirect, uplift, and motivate is priceless… in any classroom and more importantly in a special needs class. I’m sure working in that kind of environment makes every situation easier to bear.
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It does, and for both the children and the adults.