AS a special education teacher I have seen firsthand how many parents are devastated to learn that their child is a candidate for this program. Special education basically makes education tailored to the special child. I have had the pleasure of working with students labeled as Emotionally Disordered. My students were known to have anger issues resulting in verbal and physical assaults. These students have so many deferments that they have been kicked out of their districts.
I I had to enter this class with high expectations and no fear. Please be clear these guys were cursing at first and yes they even tried to attack but I had to use Ms. Murray’s magic. It’s an ancient Chinese secret (smile). I have to be honest I had a fantastic male Para who worked closely with me and he and I came up with a plan to ensure these guys were successful.
Also although these middle school kids were rebellious and difficult in their perspective districts, i still had to believe in them. I had to “capture their hearts”. It was very difficult because these guys came from adverse backgrounds. I had to speak daily works of faith in them. You have to realize that these guys only hear negatives and when you hear negatives you live and repeat negatives. So I had to make sure my class was highly structured and engaging. The behavior of these children hid their true learning ability. So, I had to make the statements impactful and believe them and understand why they had that kind of behavior in the first place. Remember, behavior is learned.
When Teachers see kids like these sometimes keep setting them up for continued failure because they only see a problem not a solution. Now, I’m happy to say that these kids have passed my class, they love to learn, and their behavior is under control. Are these kids still messing around? Absolutely, but not as often as they do and now they’ve acknowledged their behavior. I believe that with proper strategies, coupled with support and sheer dedication, all children can learn.
Teachers, we must put all our efforts into helping our students with special needs and we must be prepared to teach in a diverse context. We need to look at all aspects of the student and make sure we have done everything possible to have a positive impact on him.