“Cheers to all of the teachers who give out pencils every single day knowing that they’ll never get them back.”
Coaching and Learning
Unless you’re a teacher, you have no idea what the end of the year truly involves.
Here is just a small sample of things that must be done in the final weeks (think 3 or less) on top of teaching:
Optional, though often obligatory, or added joyful obligations:
The end of the year is filled with a number of added layers of responsibility. It’s stressful, but on that last day . . . bliss.
You’re cleaning up your classroom. You’re taking down bulletin boards. You’re taking down anchor charts. You’re removing decorations. You’re packing away books. Right now, you have the momentum, time, and energy to purge.
You do not need everything in your classroom. Some of the things you own are destroyed, and cannot be repaired. Some of things you own will not suit your next assignment. Some of the things you own are already outdated. Some of the things, well, you just didn’t use and don’t see yourself using in the future.
Take a step back. Look carefully at what is in front of you. What do you really need?
Consider the following:
It is better to give things away than let them collect dust. If you haven’t used it in a couple of years, give it to someone that can use it.
It is better to give things away than throw them in the trash. Kids want those anchor charts they made with you. Those incomplete marker sets can mean the world to your students. It’s okay to give your students some things to take home.
It is better to make space in your room for new things than to find yourself cluttered, taking things home, or opening a storage unit.
Right now, as you wrap up the year, look closely and carefully, and purge.
Five things I never knew . . . until I became a teacher:
Students that qualify for special education can fall into a number of categories. While the most severe and visible categories of special education are usually displayed and discussed, as noted in my first post, special education is broad, complex, and includes a number of services for each individual’s circumstances.
When I speak with non-educators, or when I have watched the news, the students who need special education services are limited in understanding–the range and diversity of students is not evident in the discussion, nor adequately represented in any forum.
Therefore, let me list some categories, demographics, and populations to illustrate the wide-range of need, services, and students that qualify for special education:
Within each of these categories, there is an abundance of diversity. For instance, five students with language delays in the 2nd grade can have 5 different levels of severity in their language delays due to previous support at home and at school, as well as other factors such as the underlying cause of their language delay.
Technically, IDEA has 13 broad categories for special education (autism, blindness, deafness, emotional disturbance, hearing impairment, intellectual disability, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairment, other health impairment, speech or language impairment, traumatic brain injury, visual impairment). That’s not to say that these categories cannot overlap, will not change over time, or be renamed. Our understanding of health and education is constantly evolving, and so are the labels and practices tied to them.
These categories do not touch on a student’s gender, age, primary language, first language, religious orientation, place of birth, citizenship, family structure, or overall schooling experience. All of these individual factors influence the best placement, ideal service, and the development of academic goals.
The point in all of this is to emphasize that special education services are incredibly vast because the range, diversity, needs, and abilities of students is equally vast. So, in the next conversation on funding, on who will teach what, on where students should be placed, on what constitutes special education, on who needs special education, etc. extend that discussion as far as possible–because that’s how far special education extends.