Friday, September 7, 2007

Never Say Never...

Although I am certified to teach "cross-categorical" special education, I have only taught two categories of students; those with emotional behavioral disabilities (EBD), and those with learning disabilities (LD). I had always said I would never teach middle school (yikes!), and yet here I am, loving it after five years. Then I said I would never teach emotionally disturbed 6th graders, because they do not yet have concrete thought, and it's hard enough to reason with 8th graders who have EBD. But here I am again; new territory with 6th graders, and I've already learned that they are very sweet; so innocent and just plain hard not to like (even the difficult ones).

This year, I am also in other new territory, since I have been asked to teach Science to four cognitively disabled students. This is a frontier I had said I would definitely never cross (cognitively disabled, not to mention Science). I have no training and very little experience with kids who have extremely delayed cognitive, emotional, and social abilities. I've had these new students just four days, but I have already learned that they are terrific. On the first day, I asked the students to tell me a little about themselves, which they did (with very limited words). Then I asked them what they knew about me. Now, I have seen these kids in the building many times and said hello and what-not, but I haven't spent a great deal of time with them. I only know "Angel" as a very cute little girl with the emotional maturity of maybe a five year old. When it was her turn to tell me what she knows about me, she said, "Fluttery butterfly!" with the sweetest little voice and smile. If you know me, this description actually does fit me; I never stay in one place very long and am always busy. It makes me these kids know more than I realize? Maybe so.

In the two days I've had these four kids in class, I have been pleasantly surprised by their attitudes and behavior. They are so positive, so eager to learn and do their best, and best of all; they clean up after themselves! We make a mess (paper, markers, scissors), and when we are finished, they put everything away before I even say anything. This is incredible to me, because basically every other (LD/EBD) student I have had in five years of middle school leave trails of pencils, paper, items of clothing, food, etc. on the floor to be picked up by someone else. When I commented on how nice it was that they were picking up yesterday, one of the kids said, "Well, of course we are picking up. That's what you do when you make a mess." Genius.

I think I'm going to have a very good year...

1 comment:

  1. That is SO true... you ARE a fluttery butterfly! Never stopping too long in one place, but so helpful and beautiful. Like a butterfly, people notice you and admire you. Glad the school year is starting out so well! Much deserved!


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