Friday, May 16, 2008

ESE and Gen Ed (Lourdes Santiago)

Dear Lourdes,
We both started in December and transitioned into very different roles in the classroom. Every time I see you, there is a smile on your face and you seem so calm and relaxed. It is obvious that you’re enjoying teaching 2nd grade. How has your ESE background helped prepare you for working in a 2nd grade ELA classroom as a General Ed. teacher? When you switch roles next year and become an ESE teacher, how do you think your experience as an ELA teacher will enrich your teaching strategies?

P.S. - I can’t wait to work with you next year!!!

Dear Shea,

It has been a wonderful and enriching experience coming to CCE! I feel that dreams really do begin here! With this said, I have truly enjoyed teaching 2nd grade. I must say that my ESE background helped prepare me in many areas for the General Ed. ELA classroom. I feel that it is clear to me which students need an extra hand academically and perhaps some extra attention in the area of TLC as well. It can be overwhelming to a student that learns differently or takes a longer time to process information when their peers just seem to “get it” right away. I have always enjoyed providing individual and small group instruction and support. I have been trained to pay attention to “red flags” and do not mind dedicating time to preparing extra worksheets or materials for extra practice and taking on tutoring as needed. It feels so rewarding when a student shows significant improvement because of the extra help that I have provided to them. Some students need this extra support and benefit extremely from a second person being available to them, be it an ESE teacher or a second teacher in a co-teach situation.
Now that I have taught in a whole group setting, I can really appreciate all of the duties General Education teachers take on. There is so much to do with so many students. An incredible amount of work goes into preparation of units, lessons, and materials. There is so much more to being a teacher than just the academics, though, and it is easier to comprehend how this can be overwhelming at times. As an ESE teacher next year, I feel that I can better relate to how a classroom is run and when strategies can be implemented without interrupting the students (or teacher’s) day. Now, I have a clear understanding of routines and scheduling in addition to how to better reach those struggling learners. Simple interventions to more intensive ones seem clearer to me in an inclusion setting.

My internship consisted of teaching special needs students in grades Kindergarten through Fifth grades. I would pull students out for smaller group instruction and work in the classroom providing accommodations alongside their General Education teachers. I would have to plan out in advance according to each teacher’s schedule, what each class was working on and modify materials and tests. Under the direction of an excellent cooperating teacher, I was able to gain a wealth of knowledge in keeping up with it all and cover each area so that students can improve their skills in all subject areas. Shea, it surprises me that you feel I seem so calm and relaxed as there just seems to be so much to do and so little time. I look at different tasks at hand and do them in the order of priority. I try not to think too far ahead (especially with all the E.O.Y. deadlines approaching) and take it one step at a time. I feel that this is what has kept me sane (while productive) as I have learned my new role coming to CCE midway into the year.

I admire you and all that you bring to CCE! I know that next year will be an excellent year. I look forward to working closely with you to assure the needs of each of our students are met.
Lourdes Santiago

No comments: