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Comments

Bobbie Amos

Okay. When are they going to start participating, Dr. K?

Dr. K

When they have the time to do so.

linda ayegbaroju

I am not sure about what we are suppose to be doing Dr.K because I do not see anything. (help)

Terrence

No one has written anything!

Robin Z Davis

I know we are suppose to participate in blog this week. But still not sure what our topic is ?

Kim Nance

Great idea Dr. K. I'm looking forward to what other teachers have to say.

Dr. K

I think that this time of the summer is the peak vacation time for the people I have asked. I know that some will contribute soon. Why don't you give this web address to teachers you know who are currently working in the field, either special or general education or administration or paraprofessionals? They can respond to our topic too. I will also start a Parent's Corner for parents of children with disabilities to interact with you.

Latita Harden

Thanks Dr. K. I am very interested in hearing teachers' views on the topic.

Ron Lamb

I am one of Dr. K's guest educators and I apologize for taking so long to get on here to write anything. I have been in Iowa for a funeral and the only access I had to my email was via dialup service. Never switch to high speed internet service with the idea of going back to dialup someday. Anyway, I am a math teacher and technology specialist in Colorado at Union Colony Preparatory School. Dr. K and I team taught a study skills class together and learned a lot about how regular ed and special ed teachers view each other. We both learned a lot and no adults or children were harmed in any of our experiments. I have been teaching 34 years and am still enjoying what I do most days (as long as i don't have to teach study skills again.) My experience would tell me that kids are always capable of much more than they would do by themselves without pressure from teachers and parents. Even adults will do the least they can get away with in most situations, so why would we expect more from kids? In fact, if we all achieved the high standards we expect of our students, we would be close to perfect. Never late, never procrastinating, never lazy, never inconsiderate, never bored, never inappropriate, etc. - okay, I missed a few of those somewhere, but I expect all of that from my students. And, guess what? They can't always do what I can't do either. Anyway, what I am doing is rambling because I can't remember the question. It isn't because I am bored. So let me know what you want to know - especially any of the great stories I have about Dr. K and I'll respond.

Abby Rowland

I agree with you that students are capable of so much more than they are willing to admit. I think sometimes, they are afraid of failure. That is why we must push them to do their best, even if some of the things are things we don't do well. We must teach them to try and try. "If at first we don't succeed, try and try again." We as teachers must encourage students to try. Success will soon follow, eventually.

Kenyia Procter

I agree with Mr. Lamb, in a normal world there will always be students that are going to be late,students that procrastinate, students that are lazy,inconsiderate,and bored. Those students have a right to feel that way at times. As teachers we ask so much from our students which is a positive thing, but in reality the students are allowed to have "those days" just as adults have them. I'm so glad that Mr. Lamb has been teaching for thirty-four years and still enjoys teaching. That's great!!!

Ron Lamb

Most days are great, some are just good, and a few are bad, but a good friend once said it's okay to have bad days at school sometimes. It's when the bad days pile up and you have more bad days than good ones that it is time to change schools or careers. Two times it was changing schools that saved me, but that doesn't work for everyone. Not everyone with a teaching degree should be a teacher. Some of my best friends couldn't make it as teachers and that is okay. They are happier doing something else. It is the teachers that hate teaching but keep doing it that hurt education.

The question you need to ask about any educational thing you try is simply, "Is it good for kids?" If the answer is yes, go for it. If the answer is no, don't do it. School schedules that work better for bus drivers aren't always best for kids and so on..... No teacher loves every student, no matter what they tell you. The best hope is that I will love some students you don't and you'll love some I don't and every student will have some teacher that loves them. Then we should treat the ones we don't like as much well enough so they don't know they aren't our favorites. Sometimes that works. Not always, but more often than you would think, you will find out you had a great impact on someone you thought you had ignored. So be careful what you do.... Someone might be learning something in spite of you.

Latita Harden

I also agree with Dr. Lamb. I think some of the times students only do enough to get by. I am also guilty of this. It is important for educators to encourage students to perform to the greatest of their abilities. I know trying to keep kids focused can be a difficult tasks at times, but sometimes simply taking a break in between the lessons can help out a great deal.

Rosalynn Lampkin

I also agree with Mr. Lamb, students do have those days where they aren't interested in class but we must continue to educate the students to the best of our abilities and motivate them to try harder and stay focused. Like Latita said it is difficult keeping them focused but we must work around that.

brenda KEMP

I totally agree that adults will do the least they can get away with in. Sometimes parents are in denial that their child has a disability and they won’t go the extra mile to assist their child with something as simple as homework. Just because the child has a disability does not mean that he can’t learn. Sometimes the parent won’t work with the child at home and expects a miracle from the teacher. They may feel that he is never going to learn it anyway so why try to teach him/her. The child may be great with music or sports it doesn’t have to be academics. I always say if we have a world full of doctors, lawyers and etc., who is going to wait on us at Wal-Mart or McDonalds?

Tiffanie Russell

Hi. I am Tiffanie Russell, one of Dr. K's guest educators. I am proud to say I have been a special educator for six years. Again this year I will be teaching at Ruleville Elementary with one of your classmates, Abby Rowland. I am proud to call her one of my best friends! Anyway, my heart is buried deep in special education. After receiving my master's degree I plan to become nationally board certified, then begin on my specialists degree. Who knows where that will lead? I love my job to no end, but the one thing that bogs me down is the never ending paperwork. But as with everything in life, you must take the not so great things in stride to get the oh so great things! Let me tell you about one of my favorite students from over the years. We will call him Jake for the sake of confidentiality. Jake is unique in every sense of the word. He has an EMR ruling, and reads approximately on a primer level. Most everyone at our school saw him as a problem. This is with the exception of Mrs. Rowland (Abby), Ms. Walls (my oh so wonderful assistant) and me. He was the class clown, but he always knew just how far he could get with me. He had a desire to learn, and this desire motivated other students as well. He was a motivator in my classroom without even knowing it. Many saw him as a problem, but we saw him as an inspiration. He even had a regular education girlfriend. You may be asking yourself where I am going with this. I will tell you. My point is to not let your own opinions and first impressions of a student reflect how you educate that person. If I had done this, Jake would still be a behavior problem who was not mastering many of his goals and objectives. You never know how they will amaze you. I will tell you this. ALL CHILDREN CAN LEARN! They may not all learn the same skills. They may not learn at the same rate, They may not have the same goals, but they will learn what their educators and role models teach them. Do not let the thing they learn be that you do not care and do not think they can learn. That is the one skill that will effect them negatively for the rest of their life.

Gina Exum

I agree with Tiffanie, there is an abundance of paperwork in special education. I try to look at it as a small thing, because I love working with the students I have. It is challenging, but also very rewarding to see their accomplishments.

Jerome Daniels

I feel that education has improved tremendously because of NCLB Act in the Delta. By the same token, I feel that if you are a true professional, you should have pride, and a passion for the teaching profession. If you have those two ingredients, doing your job would come to you naturally. Evidently, most people in the Delta don't have those ingedients because the test scores attest to that fact. As a group, we have been forced to teach our children, but if we as a group love our job, and care for the children, our teaching would be more effective.

Marie Herrin

I agree with Tiffanie and Gina that the paperwork is unreal. But I believe that my desire to educate all children comes first and I am willing to do what ever paperwork is necessary for my job. I think that makes a special education teacher, is that they are willing to take the good with the bad.

Ron Lamb

Teachers impact kids every day whether their test scores reflect that or not. Schools with low scores can't place the blame on ineffective teaching alone. I spent a lot of years coaching and teaching is just coaching. The best coaches I worked with weren't always the ones who won state championships. And the teams with the most talent didn't always win the most. The best coaches take athletes where they are and raise them to the next level. For a player that makes 2 out of every 10 free throws, 5 out of 10 is a significant improvement and bench pressing 150 pounds when you couldn't lift the bar at the beginning of the year is awesome. Both of those feats are only average compared to most, but they are great when compared to the previous PRs for those student athletes. That weight lifter can't get one bit better watching anyone else lift, but he has to jump in and do it himself. The coach (teacher) can encourage him, but ultimately it is up to the student. NCLB really should be Every Child Can Get to the Next Level If They Work Hard (ECCGTTNLITWH isn't quite as catchy, I suppose.)

In Colorado, we give kids the battery of CSAP tests one year, then the next year another group of students at that same grade level take the same tests. So improvement is based on comparing two different groups who took the same tests. It is a lot like measuring the neighbor kids to see if your own kids are taller than they were last year. That doesn't work as well as you might think. So there are bad teachers, but there are a lot of good teachers, too and their students aren't always the ones with the highest scores. Their kids may be the ones who improve the most and who know how to work hard enough to get to the next level. Test scores aren't the only way to measure students or teachers. Or as we say in Iowa (God's country), weighing a pig more often doesn't make it weigh more. How about having students take less high stakes tests, learn more, and be happy?

Kim Nance

Tiffany makes a good point when she says that all kids can learn. Because I teach a foreign language, I have seen that many children think that they will never learn how to read, write or let alone speak Spanish. But as the year progresses, they find themselves speaking, despite of their inhibitions to do so. I try to relay to my students that I was once in the same boat with them and that I had to learn to speak Spanish just like they do. It helps students to realize that their teachers were once students, with the same attitudes and fears.

Anita Allardice

I am a principal of a non-public school in Los Angeles, California. A non-public school contracts with the local school districts to serve the students that the school district is unable to provide an appropriate education. The school was created to meet the needs of students on the autistic spectrum and it combines applied academics and vocational skills. I am the founding principal.
I have been in special education for a long time. I am often saddened that we have moved forward more in many of the applications since many of the basic premises we are working on began in the 70's and certainly the 80's. One thing that has changed is the attitude about a disability. In the past it was very much about the "inability" or the DISability. I believe that there is more (not enough) focus on the ability of each person. With a good education and high expectations, our students are showing people that they can be successful, contributing adults.

Takisha Causey

I agree with Ron Lamb about the issue of high stakes testing and that test scores are not the only way to measure a teacher's or student's performance. Last year was my first year teaching, and I felt overwhelmed with the MCT test my studets had to take in reading. I think students should take less high stakes test. I worked really hard this year trying to prepare my students. When the test scores came back, I wished they had did a little better.

rosie gatlin

I agree with Dr.Lamb concerning students maximizing their potential. I think often time students fail to do their best is because of them experiencing lack of success. I believe at some point in their life they tried something and didn't get the result they were lookng for and no one was thrie to encourage them to keep trying. So, as a result of experiencing failure they stop trying as hard.

Dr. K

Mrs. Allardice is a principal of a school that receives referrals for students with autism whose needs can not be met in the Los Angeles public school system. However, the public school system pays for the education because it is unable to provide FAPE. The staff is very dedicated to each student. The school serves K-12 (I think). Hollywood actors help with fund raising for the school and several Hollywood "types" have children in the school. I visited last November and was impressed with the indvidual attention each student receives. What a blessing for children with autism spectrum disorder to have place where people understand, support and prepare them for life in the real world.
When I first met Mrs. Allardice, she was teaching here in Ft. Collins as a special educator in a self-contained classroom for students with severe disablities. Now she is a principal. I am sure that some of you will follow a similar path.

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