It’s late in the year. Most schools have already had at least a Spring Break if not also a ski week or mid winter session. We are glad to be back. Spring for us is going to be about the warming weather, well at least in California, and outside activities.
And it’s a turning point for many folks. It’s time to give more independence, it’s time to watch students struggle and to honor them with that ability that the struggle is part of everyone else on campus. And then it’s also the time for the students to turn and look at you like you’re crazy because why would anyone pay attention to anything about school because it’s Spring and the weather is a draw to be outside and anything about school isn’t important as the peer interactions or whatever else is outside in the world. It is the beauty of this time of year; things are changing, much like your students. Sometimes you adjust to the student; sometimes the student adjusts to the class.
But it’s not just the students, sometimes the staff changes too. If you leave mid year or you need to be gone for a significant chunk of time, this is where your specific expertise is going to be important. You’ve known the students all this time and you’ve developed a relationship, even the students who like you the least. They depend on you in ways that you least expect it. The best way is to leave a binder of specific information that shows the entire schedule and students you worked with. In the binder explain specifics about how you work with a student, what things one should know about working with the teacher someone should know, and what would be expected of behavior of students and staff during that time.
Speaking of expected behavior, when there isn’t expected behavior on campus, it can become a bit of a game for the administration to sort out who or who may not have been involved. If a student, especially a student who has a disability gets named in a fight, bullying, or other major student issue, this is a time to be quite careful. For some students, you will need to support them emotionally if they are brought in. For other students, you will need to remind them that their cooperation with administration is quite important. For other students, confrontation may mean they shut down, especially when confronted with someone they are not comfortable speaking with. It takes a different type of trust to get a student to tell you the things that they know they can get in trouble for.
Do you have any comments about this week’s blog? Do you have a question for us? Would you like to be a guest blogger? Would you like to have an opportunity to pilot some materials at your campus? Find ParaEducate online here, here, here, here, and on our website. Paraeducate is a company interested in providing materials, information, and strategies for people working in special education inclusion settings for grades K-12. ParaEducate, the blog, is published weekly during the academic school year on Thursdays, unless a holiday. ParaEducate shares their findings at conferences, through their books, and their academic adaptations.