27 June 2011

Styer-Fitzgerald Training

I am currently north of Seattle in a training for a new Functional academic curriculum that I will be implementing in the next school year. My district's thoughts on the program are high, and I'm excited to see how this goes. I'll be coming back to this program regularly with testimonials and reviews. If you know it or have used it, please share your experiences in the comments.


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02 February 2011

February 2011 Update

I realize I have not posted much in the past few months, but you can 't blame me because I'm a new teacher still learning the ropes, and I'm really really busy.  But maybe that's a good thing.  I am not one to accept failure.  I enjoy a chance to take on many challenges.  The level of focus required helps me stay sharp.  However, the last few days have shown to  be a valuable critique on my teaching style.  And that is that I rely too much on myself and not on a curriculum. 

The only advantage to this s that since i have so few students, I can meet them right where they are and help them build skills specific to their needs.  On the other hand, I have to be present in order to implement it, the students don't quite know what's coming, and everything becomes too subjective. 

How do I overcome this critique?  Well, it is easier to add flexibility to structure than to add structure to chaos.  So I'll find a social skills curriculum and accommodate it to my students.  A LOT has happened this year, and it seems to have been a long year already.  But I know that when June comes, it will feel as if the year has ended far too quickly. 

27 January 2011

The Vast Differences Between Parenting and Teaching

Are there any?

I don't think that being a parent or a teacher makes you any better or worse at being the other. However, I do have a better understanding of the parents' perspective.

So, back to the original question: Are there any differences between parenting and teaching?

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07 December 2010


In spite of snow days and reschedulings, I finally made it through my first round of parent-teacher conferences. Now, I know I only had a couple parents to talk with, but I am very fortunate to be working with some great parents this year. Parents who want the success of their students, and parents who have the mindset to work with the teacher (me) for that success. It i reassuring for me when parents walk away from a conference with a smile on their face, and giving me permission to challenge their child to reach the expectations I'll be setting for them.

I know this is not always the case, but for now, I am glad that it is.

02 November 2010

Visualization vs. Application

As an athlete, one of the strategies coaches would tell me was to visualize myself making the play in games.  This is an effective tool since it brings a certain level of familiarity to a stressful task/performance and alleviates some of the anxieties associated with it.  
This strategy has followed me through life, and I found myself with a clear vision of what I wanted my first teaching experience to be.  

However, as an athlete I knew that once I stepped onto that field, events would not transpire the way I had envisioned.  If we get everything we want, then life becomes a meaningless pile of accumulated uselessness.  If being a Special Education Teacher was easy, then everyone would do it.  But it is not easy, and I knew that.  I knew it was going to be difficult, it is a lot of paperwork, that sometimes you get on the good and the bad side of parents, and that sometimes you struggle with students' learning or behavior.  I worked as a para-professional for over five years, so I knew all this coming in to this year, and yet I was still caught off-guard.  

I can't say that it is any one thing that has caught me off-guard, but the combination of things.  What has been unexpected to me, is needing to become a 1:1, and in-turn feeling like I've had to put the other students on cruise-control and ignore them in order to work with one.  What I did not account for was not having a time during the day to plan or collaborate with others in my department or building.  I do not want to fail my students, but I am only recently feeling like I'm coming out from being behind the 8-ball.  I am finally getting the help that is necessary for student success. 

I am not making excuses, and when I threw an interception in a game I didn't complain about it, but made sure that the guy was tackled so I could get to the sideline, evaluate, and fix the problem.  It is not what has happened to this point in the year that will dictate the way this year progresses, but the way My team and I are able to respond to these adversities, critiques, and obstacles. 

Something that is coming up, is that I am going to have to alter my leadership style to a certain extent.  However, I will save this topic for another post.  Thanks for stopping by.  Feel free to comment or follow.