Those initial days when you were trying to figure out how to deal with behaviors, social anxiety, and you’re perhaps making a dent in decision making for academic adaptations. It’s the pattern of enforcing preferred behaviors, modeling academics, keeping track of concerns, and connecting relationships of teachers and students.
But for new folks, this is pretty easy. For veterans, this is harder. It is far too easy to become complacent, especially with students that are familiar. It is all too easy to dismiss reoccurring behaviors, or expectations. But the thing is, while most adults can regulate their behaviors, students with disabilities may not be able to do so as easily.
Complacency is a scourge of professionalism. Sometimes it takes a moment. A behavior that requires intervention, an expectation that continually falls short between what a student does and what you think they can do, or you feel useless in a class.
Here are some tricks veterans use to stay on top of things
- Remain observant. Watch how students interact, watch how students approach situations. Are they independently attempting? Are they uncertain of their peers? Are they refusing an activity?
- Debrief with a co-worker. Either the classroom teacher or the case manager.
- Watch other co-workers in action. Learn how they ask questions of students who are participating. Ask them what they are working on in the notebook. Ask how they scan a text and teach students to isolate information.
- Be consistent. Find the patterns that work best for you in your workday. Know which students you can walk away from to increase their independence.
- Learn a new academic trick. Sentence starters even for the student who is still learning to write. Increasing vocabulary for a student who is learning to communicate. Increasing settle time for a student who has a lot of energy. Connect with the student who is reluctant to start.
- Reward students. It’s not all about the work they produce, it’s about their relationships with their peers. Let them have that moment by the door. Let them have their secretes.
- Find your life beyond the doors of work. Bike, hike, camp, spend time with your family.
No matter where you are in your marathon, the race has just begun. Realize that veterans learn from each other and are willing to share what they know when things settle down. Keep an eye out for each other as the year starts ramping up.
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.