It is now officially the point in the academic year where there is no turning back. Hopefully your campus is constantly addressing the rules and holding those students accountable to get them back on track for the entire campus.
There is something simply beautiful about ‘struggle’. And it would sound painful otherwise. Struggle for students, and especially with students with disabilities, is just the whole school experience. There are limits to that school experience, and how much barrier honestly is too much struggle for students before they are not learning anything. But that middle ground, it is a beautiful place. The confidence students gain, the belief that the student is a contributing member, the reassurances that the students get from their peers as a contributing member of the class. All those moments matter.
Certainly, there are students who are unable to have those moments because of other personal barriers. But all the struggles, all the little steps every single day are little things that are won.
Just a reminder…
Student teachers. We have spoken about them before, but the nuances of what a student teacher needs to learn and what they are putting together is usually very trying. Some student teachers never know anything than what they are taught and shown by the program they are pursuing.
Intern teachers are a separate matter and another time we will discuss their progress and their knowledge. Student Teachers, however, and especially student teachers within the realm of special education bring a different world together.
There are things to know about student teachers though
- Student teachers are under enormous pressure. They are there on site with you for a specific number of hours. They are weeding through nuances of students, adults, and supporting the students in their progress. And they probably are holding down three or four other jobs to cover their tuition and other life needs.
- Student teacher’s assignments also require several steps and asking a paraeducator to help is part of the assignment.
- Student teachers are often viewed little more than a guest at a site. Realize that Student Teachers, regardless of chronological age and place in the program, probably are not making money at all. Including the weekly donuts for the staff with the student teacher, even if they are unable to eat a donut, means the world to that student teacher—that inclusion we want for our students with disabilities matters.
Student teachers are a necessary lifeline to the process of education. Supporting our student teachers helps keep the process of education going forward. Giving student teachers the opportunity to train in an inclusive setting and meeting a variety of students and their families helps to make those bridge in the education much easier. While their direction will is dictated by their program, their supervisors, and their mentor teachers. Your collaboration with a student teacher can make or break their understanding of the little steps necessary to become the successful educators we need for all our students.
Stepping Into the World
We were reminded this last week of Hurricane Katrina (2005). And while Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath is traumatizing to some, Renay recalled the school she was working at and the students who gathered new and slightly used items to send over to a school of like aged students. Every item came with a handwritten note from students sending well wishes for a student who had experienced unimaginable loss. CDs, CD players, handheld video games, a new jacket, in general it was a variety of things for folks who have woken up one morning having to relocate on a moment’s notice and it was not always about the things they just needed. And returning up to this last week—Hurricane Ian that crossed over Puerto Rico, Florida, and now heading into the Carolinas, reminds us of the importance of connectivity, even simple ones for a world that seems like it has been torn to shreds. It will take a while for the world to be ‘righted’. And for some students, doing this little bit of connecting to the world, be it nationally, locally, or even on the world stage, this makes all the difference.
Supporting folks at every stage of their life and their needs is a part of what a school can do. And there are limits to how to support, however, remembering that everyone has access to their human needs that helps make everyone more connected.
Do you have any comments about this month’s blog? Do you have a question for us? 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 providing materials, information, and strategies for people working in special education inclusion settings for grades K-12. ParaEducate, the blog, is published once a month during the academic school year. ParaEducate shares their findings at conferences, through their books, and their academic adaptations.