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Lesson Plans

Re: Special Education students in the artroom

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Fri, 9 Apr 1999 17:57:12 EDT

Over the course of a week I have a range of students who are "IEPed" and come
to my artroom: one self-contained kindergarten class, one self-contained
first grade class, one group of what are termed low-performing autistic
children. At the beginning of the year the self-contained k had seven
students, the first grade had nine and the autistic had four. Kids are sent
from other schools and other districts for placement in my building. Its been
a real trip (to use an expression that shows my age!) for me and the
instructional resource teachers (the term we now use for special ed teachers)
have been very helpful in helping me figure out what the children need and
what I can do to meet those needs. And while its true that I too never
entered teaching with the thought of being a special education teacher, I
always figured I'd have to teach the kids in front of me with whatever
baggage they bring with them. during the year I have talked with the
self-contained classroom teachers about who could be "mainstreamed" and who
needed to continue to come as a self-contained group. Some parents needed to
be convinced to change their children's IEPs, others were more than willing.
Now most of these students come with a regular ed classroom, sometimes with
an assistent, sometimes not. Results are uneven, but I don't think anyone
would consider these children as being "dumped" in the art room. The point, I
think, is that all difficult things require struggle. Its a struggle to
understand the kids. Its a struggle to get parents to trust the teachers. Its
a struggle to get all the professionals in the building working and thinking
and being on the same page. But there are schools where this all works. And
if it works at those schools, it can work at yours. Differences need to be
brought to the surface. Different points of view need to be respected. We
often need to be patient and not assume the worst of those we work with. And,
off course, sometimes kids do get "dumped" in our rooms, and we get no help.
And of course, thats shitty. But, you know, its even shittier for the kids
and we need to do the best we can.