Joanie Friel, Holy Cross Resource Teacher, often explains the referral process as a team game. The process can’t nearly be done by one person but by the support of all the key players. Identifying the students needed to be tested needs to be done in a sensitive and encouraging way. It is so important for the student to feel supported and intelligent. On the Teach One youtube video, a Teach One teacher talks about the time he heard a student say he finally felt smart and for so long he felt dumb. The whole referral process is intended for the child to get the recourses they need to be successful. Joanie also explains, many times the parents must be shown that the referral process is a good think and does not mean the child is stupid. It’s very important that the parents know the child’s strengths and all the things they are good at. When parents are not on the board the process goes much slower. Joanie says it could take years. She explains having data to back them is very important. For example, having a test that was completed independently and one completed by a scribe. Will show that information and knowledge is in their head but the writing stops the child proving they understand.
While interviewing the 1st and 5th grade teachers, it became clear struggling students behave different as they became older. Kelly Weeks, 1st grade teacher explains how children show frustration through crying and acting out. Corri Degan, 5th grade teacher, says the struggling student avoids work and turns in incomplete assignments. She says due to the work load, the child falls behind quickly. In Finland teachers are available daily to pull out special education children and ensure they aren’t falling behind. This could be very helpful at Holy Cross. It defiantly puts a strain on the teacher making sure all the children are understanding and constantly caught up, no matter what their needs are. When I teach math their is a support teacher in the classroom. It is so nice to have anther teacher reword what is being taught. I think it benefits the children hearing one objective in two different ways.
Before referring the child for special education and further testing, teachers go to great extremes to understand how the child best learns. Corri Degan, 5th grade teacher , explains she offers the child alternative ways to prove they understand the information being taught. The students can have a conversation with the teacher, make a video and draw pictures to represent the information. This reminds me of how Teach One teaches students to pick the learning medium that best helps them learn. I don’t think Holy Cross has the flexibility to offer as many learning option but it does prove the understanding that learning and assessments can happen in different ways.
After the child is tested and receives an Individual Education Plan the special education teacher must monitor their process. Often Joanie will come into the classroom and offer different technology that will benefit the student. Joanie acts as an advocate for the student. It is Joanie’s responsibility to update teachers on the needs of the special education students. In the youtube video inside a special education classroom it demonstrates the huge rewards and difficulties of the job. Joanie must be always communicating with the teachers, parents and administration for success of each child’s IEP.
Tomorrow’s world is making sure each student is being taught in the way that they best understand. Schools are being pushed to bring in technology in the classroom and differentiate the instruction to reach all levels. The IEP process is expensive and requires a lot of time. It would be nice if a teacher could be present at the school to observe the student in their environment. Teachers at Holy Cross help one another. They are send links to teach math better, learn more about certain disabilities, share great kids websites and more. Online sharing is pushing teacher to constantly improve. U.S will soon need to adapt policies that push teachers to prepare students for the world they will live in.
Edutopia (Jan. 25, 2012).Finland’s Formula for School Success (Education Everywhere Series) Retrieved from youtube.com/watch
Social Butterfly LA (Nov. 30, 2010). School of One. Retrieved from youtu.be/HSTrI6nj5xU
My Career RX(Aug. 2008). A Day in the Life of a Special Education Teacher. Retrieved from youtu.be/tcWtAmVB9-o