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Lesson Plans

RE: Stress, Art Teachers, Inclusion, and me

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Fields, Linda (
Mon, 9 Mar 1998 12:46:09 -0500

Hi Susan-the inclusion of special ed kids in art classes has been with
me for almost 30 years-so much so, in fact, that I went back and took
courses in it. I'm only 3 hours short of an endorsement in special ed,
but won't get those hours 'cause I don't want any "powers that be"
saying, "Oh-we don't have enough art for a full load, let's give her a
resource room." Anyway, I have never understood why a special ed teacher
has a class load of 15 or fewer with training and an assistant, but an
art or pe teacher is supposed to include these kids into classes of
25-30 with no assistant, and most with no training.
Now, lest I sound totally cynical or against teaching special
kids-I'm not. In fact, some of my most successful experiences have been
with these children (at every level k-12). The thing that is generally
most stressful to me is the fact that I simply don't have the time to
give them in a regular classroom because the numbers and demands of
"regular" kids are so overwhelming. I find that students with so-called
learning disabilities often have a more acute perception when it comes
to things like drawing, and I think it is wonderful for them to be able
to achieve success in our classes-sometimes even outdoing the
"regulars", but it is so hard to give them what they need to do so.
Another frustration is the fact that we are supposed to teach reading
and writing across the curriculum as well. That is difficult enough
("this is ART-we're not supposed to do work in here!"), but no one in my
myriad years of education and training has taught me how to teach
reading to a child who can't. In fact, I have searched for a course in
teaching reading to secondary students, but without success. Sometimes I
find grading to be a problem too. Although I have explained to my
classes that I am interested in growth and progress more than on final
product, students compare grades and argue that it isn't fair for one
(special ed) student to get an A while they only made a C. It is hard to
explain that my rationale is that it was a whole lot more difficult for
Johnny to succeed at what he did, or that Johnny put forth so much more
effort than Jim who slopped through his work with barely enough effort
or thought to get by. Finally, the BEH (behaviorally challenged) kids
are probably the most difficult to handle because their
outbursts/conflicts take the attention of the other kids as well as an
unfair amount of my time and energies.
All in all, though, I would rather have most of my special ed
kids than some of the apathetic, know-it-all others. My special students
are generally motivated and willing to try really hard-even if it takes
longer and I'll take that kind of attitude any day! Good luck on your
graduate work. Where are you in school? (I was a PA girl myself) Linda
> ----------
> From: susan reynolds[SMTP:reynolds]
> Sent: Sunday, March 08, 1998 5:07 AM
> To:
> Subject: Stress, Art Teachers, Inclusion, and me
> <<File: vcard.vcf>>
> Hello to Everyone. My name is Susan Reynolds, I am a graduate student
> working on my M.Ed. in Education, Concentration Art in Pennsylvania.
> I
> am writing a paper on "teacher stress" involving inclusion of special
> ed
> kids in art classes, what you feel are the main factors, and what you
> do
> to help yourself "deal" with it. No names need to be included in the
> paper, it is a "generalized" paper and anonymity is guaranteed. I
> would
> be so appreciative if I could get any input from any of you that might
> want to reflect on it. My e-mail is reynolds
> I apologize if this is not a topic I should write about on this list,
> again, I am a newbie but thought it might be worth the try. I will
> learn (hopefully before Sept. when I begin my student teaching), and
> plan to absorb as much as I can from all of you. Thanking you in
> advance and apologizing in advance if I have stepped into it (not
> unusual for me)... ;D
> susan > who is most happy to see someone close to my age (50) who is a
> first year teacher that I can't tell you how much this list, on my
> first
> day of involvement, has helped in small and large ways. Now I must
> dig
> out some disks because I can see already that I will have to file-save
> in a BIG way.