Special Education In A Real Class
Schools are full of special needs students. All students are special needs. Each student needs a different delivery method of education. Some students are slow while others are fast to learn. Then there are the students that are in the middle. Schools tend to offer services to the low achieving student and the high achieving student, but leave out the middle achieving student.
A student that is low achieving, special ed, receives more services and attention than one teacher can give. The teacher needs to be organized and great at planning in order to be successful. Many teachers stress out at multiple class preparations in lesson plans. With careful organization and planning, it is achievable.
I had a class of “normal achieving” students that also had four special education students. These students had different IEPs (Individual Education Plans). An IEP is a plan that is created each year to help the student be successful in their education. So what is in an IEP? It is an educational plan to help the student achieve goals. There may be descriptions as to where the student should sit, lengths of test, how many questions can be on the test, lowest grade that can be given, how to give homework or if it can be given and does the student require another student to take notes for them.
Student A, B, C and D had in their IPE they had to be seated near the teacher. I had a rectangle shaped room and I walked the entire room during class. It was difficult to determine where the seat near the teacher was. I decided that the middle of the room was the “near the teacher”. Boy was I wrong. During an open house night one parent asked where their student sat and I showed them the seat and they were upset because it was not near my desk. I explained that I did not sit at my desk during class, but they just were not having it. They demanded I move their child to a seat near my desk because I was in violation of the IEP. I let them know that I would make the change the next day. I moved around the room anyways so it really didn’t matter. Where a child sits in a class does not make or break their success. The teacher does need to make sure and monitor all areas of the room for this to work.
Another item in the IEP for all four students was test length and amount of multiple choice answers. Student A had a test of 10 questions and two multiple choice answers only. Student B had a test of 15 questions and two multiple choice answers and fill in the blank with a word bank only. Student C had a test of 15 questions and three multiple choice answers and no fill in the blank questions. Student D had to have no written tests, only oral questions with a limit of 5 with two multiple choice answers. Then I had the “regular” students that had a regular test. The students had a choice of leaving the room to have their exams read to them or they could stay in the room. If the students chose to stay in the class, it was up to me to read aloud to the students. I found it disruptive to the other students in the room so I devised a way to record the exams and allow the students to be in charge of their own oral exams. I used an old cassette recorder to record the exam. The students used headphones to listen and could rewind the tape if needed.
The above means that I had to make five different tests for one concept! Yes, my weekends were filled with making tests sometimes. I was able to modify each exam by using the basic concept and adding or deleting multiple choice questions. Problem solved! Teachers can lessen their work load if they stay calm and think the problem through. Work smarter, not harder! All students deserve a chance to be successful no matter what. Teachers are way too stressed at the amount of work they must do each week. Careful planning and staying calm can make a productive teacher.