Well, I have really enjoyed the behavior thread. When I taught
middle school I had severe behavior issues with kids dumped there
for various reasons, no motivation, etc. etc. I struggled so, and
knew that with an average of 34 kids per class it was just too
many, especially with the 1/3 who had learning difficulties, ESL,
etc. and I was a LRE classroom for some of the really emotionally
disturbed children. By today's parlance of inclusion, this was a
rich stew of kids who all had special needs.
Well...fast forward to today. A friend of mine started an artist in
the schools program and I am now free to teach for her one day a
week. Today I went into a school in the same kind of neighborhood
where I had taught. The classes went great. The kids were
attentive. Were there behavior problems? Yes, but the classroom
teachers (2 in one class) and a teacher and para in the other class
rode herd and all I had to do was teach and interact with or help
kids. I could quickly get around to everyone in classes about the
same size I'd had in the past with such frustration.
I am walking on air. At the end of classes even big middle
schoolers taller than I am came up and said thanks and that they
had had fun. Their eyes sparkled and they smiled. They carefully
collected the supplies I had brought, and when they learned I'd be
back next week and for the next two months they were very excited.
A girl said she couldn't wait, and a boy told me that he already
knew his project and had it finished "in my mind." The teachers
told me that they had chosen my consulting because the classes
were "trouble." "Very slow." But you should see the work they did!
We all know that all kids can be sweet, and that so many just need
attention and someone to listen to them, really listen, for even a
few seconds. How impossible it was when I taught alone. Today I
felt like a good teacher. It felt like art teacher heaven.
I agree that every administrator should be in an art classroom
ALONE and for more than a dog and pony show, or vist to get the
full impact of the complexity of the job. I feel really blessed to
have this opportunity to teach in optimum conditions. These should
be available to all.
Jane in Brooklyn