CN Jr/Sr HS WeAreOne
November 3, 2019
Special education educators have valuable insights to share with all of us about communication, social/emotional learning, and reading. I was in several case conferences and special education meetings this week and was reminded in one way or another of all of our focus areas. We have an awesome special education department. Our teachers and instructional assistants have a tough job, but they do it day in and day out putting students first.
Special education teachers are expected to do a lot with students who have their share of challenges. They assess students’ skills to determine their needs, develop teaching plans, organize and assign activities that are specific to each student’s abilities and work to build basic skills, teach and mentor, support students in general education, write individualized education plans in parent-friendly language, and communicate with parents sometimes daily.
In addition, they must know and apply the guidelines and laws that govern special education and understand how a student's learning, emotional, and physical difficulties affect their ability to progress academically. As I work with special education teachers, I remain awestruck by their energy, empathy, and commitment. Here’s are just a few of the things I’ve learned from them that continues to challenge me to be a better educator:
- Accept every student as they are. Students come to us with packages and baggage. Open and unpack slowly and gently, with kindness, respect, and understanding. Building a relationship with a student takes time and patience. Sometimes its hard to understand them, hard to reach them, hard to understand their struggles, but we have to keep trying.
- Active listening is a gift. Every day, every student will have a problem—or something they perceive to be a problem. Stop, make eye contact, and listen. Don’t offer a solution until you give them time to work on it by themselves. Don’t minimize their problem, experience, or situation. Sometimes its quicker to "fix" it for them, but they learn from the process not just the solution.
- Patience is a gift, a virtue, and a necessity. All of our students require patience, but some need a little more than others. Giving extra time for homework or a differentiated assessment could alleviate some of the challenges. Always remember that parents send to us their most precious possessions, hoping we’ll be humble, supportive, and empathetic. Again, sometimes it's hard to understand, but we are all different and different is okay.
- Ask for help. Do not assume that you can teach, nurture, feed, clothe, and shelter every student in your class. Before you jeopardize your physical, emotional, and mental health, it’s important to ask for support. Your colleagues are ready to help you help your students. Collaboration is a powerful tool. Use it.
- Laugh. There are some days when laughter might be the last thing you’re thinking of, but it may just be what you need. Our students come to us from different places—cognitively, emotionally, physically, and logistically. It is challenging but a hearty chuckle or shared case of the giggles may help all of us take a step back when we hit a brick wall and need to regroup, refocus, and try again.
Monday - Wear Red for Red Ribbon Week
Tuesday - Bling & Bright Day - sparkle, shine, light up the room and believe in yourself
Wednesday - PJ Day - Be comfortable being yourself - make sure you are warm & dressed appropriately!
Thursday - Team Day - Wear any sport team shirt/jersey. Team up in making good choices
Friday - Cougar Day - wear CN gear/colors
Dress Up Fun! Thanks for Joining In!
11/11 - Veterans Day
11/22 - Fall Play
11/23 - Fall Fling
11/27 - Thanksgiving Break
12/13 - Staff Holiday Party