In 2013, Megan Gross helped take this idea we had about a blog entry and helped to make it this great moment of looking at students and the things we ask them to do over and over again because we would like them to at least have a functional understanding about in the world in many different subjects. And our blog unfortunately suffered a horrendous technical meltdown that resulted in the loss of many of our favorite blogs. However, for a few of our blogs, titles and ideas remained. Which brings us to today, with Renay sitting and reflecting over the importance of believing in our students.
Originally, in 2013, we looked at the importance of “not now” and “not yet” and those for some students may be hard concepts. Especially when they see their friends doing things and they have no idea how to do those academic skills or that as a skill it may be not feasible for the student with a disability to demonstrate the academic material like their peers in the same manner, however, there may be other methods to get similar or comparable work. Most importantly, it was about a paraeducator and a student, or group of students, willingness to push forward even when those things aren’t always going to happen that year.
We still believe that students still get to keep trying. We honestly believe that if we just cram it all in there, something is going to stick and that may just be the breakthrough that student needed. And we may never know when this will happen. We have to. It is sometimes exhausting to keep up with.
We also still believe in “not now” and “not yet”. This is data driven. Maybe four weeks of trying this has not improved anything. Let’s find something else to focus on and try going back in one to two weeks.
We also have developed a better understanding of when it is all right to give up and let the student learn some boundaries. Those students who have more understanding of what they can and won’t do, maybe that won’t turns into a lesson about following through on their work.
We have a great understanding of “no, not ever.” And this part usually is not our call. And when the decision is out of our hands, it can be very frustrating. Reasons for “no, not ever” may involve religious belief, family belief in the student’s ability to do something, family ability to support student, student’s response to stress, or some other bigger reason that trumps all attempts to do academic work. A student’s health comes before academics.
School is hard. There are so many reasons to be pulled in so many different directions, and hidden rules. For some students being with their classmates is reinforcing. For others, achieving an ‘A’ is reinforcing too. Recognizing the spectrum of students and that their motivators all look different change how we approach our belief that all students can learn and that all students deserve a chance to do their very best to be a part of a larger community.
Do you have any questions about this week’s blog? Do you want to offer a guest blog? 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.