Concerns about inclusion class in placement school

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by SF_Giants66, Sep 13, 2014.

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  1. SF_Giants66

    SF_Giants66 Cohort

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    I'm student teaching three lessons this semester until I have my final internship next semester.

    I was placed in a 7th grade science class, and an 8th grade math class.

    The problem is that the 8th grade math class is an inclusion class where many students have an IEP. Now, this wouldn't be a problem with me normally, but there are a few signs that make me concerned that this class isn't genuine.

    For one, this is 8th grade, and they are working on 5th grade math problems. The last two classes I had to sit through I was disgusted to see the teacher lecturing on how to add and subtract numbers with decimals when basic arithmetic should already be covered by 4th grade.

    I know many of the students are in special education, but the other problem is that I think this school is racial profiling. The school has over 70% white students, yet this class is mostly black kids and a few Hispanic. I'm thinking the school may have just fudged some IEPs to create a math class for the black kids. The school is one of the top rated ones, and I think they are worrying if they make math too difficult, given we are in the south and many conservatives believe blacks are unintelligent and lazy, that their ratings may go down.

    What I did was I got with the teacher and I am going to be swapping class periods and teaching lessons to the regular class, because I told her I wouldn't teach that class because they don't follow common core standards, and I'm not planning a lesson that isn't at their grade level.

    Part of me wants to report this school to the state after this semester is over, because I think they are definitely milking that class with easiness for all it is worth and are being obviously racist.

    I know this may seem to some people that I'm getting paranoid and making up a conspiracy, but those problems didn't seem difficult for any one of them, and they didn't appear to be working on anything challenging. The other problem is I don't see how if those students are on an IEP, that all 20 of them are at the exact same level in math that they need to be taught 5th grade material. There would be at least some that are at a middle school level I'd believe.

    I don't really know what to do about this. It is just frustrating and if there are this many issues with math that so many students can't do problems at anywhere near their grade level, that this is going to be a real problem for me as a math teacher.
     
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  3. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    So even if the children are at fifth grade level in their math knowledge, you would teach them 8th grade curriculum? That is sure being considerate to the children's needs. I am sure your refusal to teach that group of children is going to sound great on your reference letter. If they are truly milking the class for all it is worth and you want to solve the problem then be willing to teach the class rather than threatening to report them to the state. What exactly are you planning on reporting and how will you prove it?
     
  4. SF_Giants66

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    The issue is that I don't believe that the kids are really at that level, but I believe the school is trying to meet certain requirements for pass/failure rates.

    I don't buy that every single child in that class would be 3 years behind. Also, none of them seemed to have any difficulty solving those problems they were given. I was just shocked that they are still adding and subtracting in an 8th grade math class.
     
  5. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    Have you ever read about the disproportionality of minority students referred to special education? It's a real thing unfortunately and you're experiencing the norm. There are tons of reasons minority children are over referred. Get used to students being behind in math. With the adaption of the Common Core and it's specific standards and objectives, you are going to find students who are not meeting those objectives. There are ways to teach below grade level material and still meet standards. I do it everyday. I'm a high school special educator who teaches reading and writing, math, science, and social studies all adapted for students with significant support needs. If you want to teach students who are at grade level, apply for jobs at schools with high test scores. However, these below grade level kids could benefit the most. Don't write them off; give them a chance and modify YOUR instruction. Don't make them modify their learning pace and style. If you don't think the kids are really at that level, work with a small group of them and see for yourself.
     
  6. SF_Giants66

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    Also, to clarify and so people don't think I'm just saying those kids are not good enough for me to teach, I simply told the teacher I'd rather teach a class that uses the grade level standards because I have to turn my lesson plans into my professor before I teach them, and I also am trying to prepare to teach math topics most relevant to my certification in middle school mathematics.

    The problem is also that they were going over adding and subtracting decimals the week prior as well, and if they aren't coming up with new material to teach, I don't see that as much of a challenge, because I would be teaching them material that they already have been taught several times.

    Even in the regular class where I am teaching, I have asked if the instructor is willing to make some changes to the calendar, because on the Thursdays that we are there, many of the times she has already planned to introduce the material the day before and either finish it or go over it again the next day. I can't really plan a lesson based on that because I don't know what they are already learning prior to it and how much they already covered. It is too difficult for me to plan a lesson unless I am either introducing the topic, or reviewing an entire unit prior to a test.
     
  7. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

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    I'm working on multiplying and dividing by multiples of 10 in my 11th grade math class. It's the lowest level math you can take, but none of my kids have IEPs. Yesterday, one of my kids had trouble adding 8 and 3. It happens.

    I agree with PP that you CAN teach the outcomes and still meet the students at their level. For example, my outcome states that my kids need to know multiplication and division strategies. It doesn't say which strategies they need to know. So, I'm focusing on multiples of 10. I know that if I threw larger, more complicated problems at them, they would shut down and I would lose them. I challenge them, but I challenge them at their level.
     
  8. lilia123

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    Honestly, you need to understand that if you do graduate and become a teacher you WILL have children with IEP's in at least some of your classes. Yes, there is a disproportionate number of minorities in special education and there is also a serious disproportion of minorities that live in poverty. If you would do some research you will find the problem with poverty is the biggest reason for this disproportion, not because southerners are racist. This problem exists in the entire country.The lack of proper nutrition, adequate medical care, and access to early childhood education make a huge impact on a child's later success in school. Also, not to mention the extreme amount of stress these children are under because of poverty. I'm done my rant, but if you are planning to be a teacher you need to be a bit less judgmental and be open to teaching all children. Also, just to let you know when you do become a teacher the principal that does your evaluation will not care if you have kids with IEP's. As a teacher your are required to differentiate your instruction to meet the needs of ALL children.
     
  9. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    With the amount of hassle that it takes to get an IEP created, approved and implemented, I can't seriously buy into the notion that a school would do this 20+ times just so they could create a "minority class." It sounds like an extreme conspiracy theory.

    Refusing to teach a class as a student teacher is obnoxious, to be honest. If you were my S.T., that would be a conversation between me and your uni supervisor.

    Lilia is right. You don't get to choose what you teach 99% of the time in the real world. If you get students with IEPs, you teach at their level and try to build them; you can't just decided to bump them up 3 years because you've decided after 1 week of observation that they can handle it.

    Remember that you're still a student and this is their real teacher. It's out of line to assume you know what's better for these kids than their actual teacher after a few classes.
     
  10. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I have several students who are reading far below their grade level in my 9th grade class. Because of how I teach, I have no idea if they are racial / ethnic minorities. I cannot SEE THEM. However, I know that trying to teach them 9th grade reading without support from IEP / 504 / Title I services would be so much worse for them than trying to teach everyone exactly the same way.
     
  11. 2ndTimeAround

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    :yeahthat:
     
  12. SF_Giants66

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    I didn't refuse to teach a class. She never asked me, and I just said I'd rather teach her regular class, and she doesn't care.


    She is very nice so far, but I honestly cannot whitewash the class I observed, her teaching just sucked.

    They were on a quiz and complaining that it was tough, so she lets them get out their core bites worksheets and practically copy down the answers.

    When they worked on a box and whisker plot, she didn't elicit any one of them in coming up with ways to solve the problem, but just did it for them.

    Well of course your students are gonna be in special education when you hand them all the answers to the tough problems on a silver platter and ask 8th graders to do elementary school problems. There was no critical thinking. It almost seemed as if their plan was to just throw the black kids in a class where they have hardly any challenging work to do and pass them on to the next grade.
     
  13. Loveslabs

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    While reading your post many things came to mind. Unfortunately, I do not have time to respond to all of them, so I will mention just a couple of things.
    1. As a teacher, you should never stop learning. I feel as if you perceive yourself to know more than the staff you are currently working with this year. That is a dangerous way to think. There is something to be learned from every situation.
    2. We have four third grade classes. Teachers A and B think they are the best teachers on this planet and you start where the student should be each year. Teachers C and D are constantly striving to improve and believe you start where the child is and go from there each year.

    In the past teachers A and B blamed poor test scores on having the inclusion kids. Teachers C and D happily agreed to take those students into their class rooms. Teachers A and B were thrilled to make the switch. Three years later teachers C and D still out score teachers A and B on every type of test given in their grade level.

    Now teachers A and B are blaming their test scores on the fact that the second grade teachers aren't doing their job. I believe teachers C and D are successful because they start where the child is instead of where they think the child should be.

    Just a little something to think about! Have a great day. :)
     
  14. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    I'm pretty sure the teacher of this class knows where her students are academically and has chosen her instructional objectives based on that knowledge. As an observer, you are not privy to that knowledge. You have made many far-reaching assumptions, without any knowledge of the situation. Students cannot be randomly placed in special education-- it takes testing and data that cannot be made up. You need to educate yourself on that process. You also need to realize that not even all regular education students will be performing on grade level. If the teacher is spending multiple days adding and subtracting decimals, and the students are saying it is tough, then they are not ready to move on to the next topic.
     
  15. SF_Giants66

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    Well, maybe I'm a bit paranoid, but it seemed as if they were capable of doing more than they were asked to do. I'm just saying the idea of an 8th grader who can't do long division yet is frightening to me.
     
  16. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    This.
     
  17. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    So, at this point in your education, have your instructors taught you to assume that every child you teach will be performing at grade level?
     
  18. SF_Giants66

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    Okay, before this goes any further, I'm not trying to be an arrogant jerk and put down special needs kids.

    I'm seriously very upset at what I saw and I'm worried these kids are being shafted and brushed aside just because math isn't their strong subject.
     
  19. SF_Giants66

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    No, but the idea that every child in one class could be that far behind is just not something that seems likely to me.
     
  20. 2ndTimeAround

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    Do you have access to these IEPs? When I was observing and teaching sporadic lessons, I wasn't given that confidential information.

    There might be a few reasons why she did what she did. You would learn SOOOO much more if you simply ask her about her lesson instead of assuming racism.

    FTR, even more frightening is a tenth grader that cannot read at a 3rd grade level. And unfortunately, that happens A LOT.
     
  21. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    They are probably placed together in that class specifically because they are all that far behind.
     
  22. SF_Giants66

    SF_Giants66 Cohort

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    I'm in a learning diversity class with a professor who was an autism teacher. She spotted many of my autistic symptoms such as my repetitive rocking back and forth as well as my argumentative nature. I'll tell her about this to get her interpretation of what might be going on. It is just frustrating to me because I never expected to see something like this before this semester.
     
  23. lilia123

    lilia123 Companion

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    You are only going to understand the real world of teaching and education once you are there everyday. Your thoughts and perspective will change a lot during student teaching and be completely turned upside down during your first year. I have only been teaching for six years and I can't tell you one thing my professors in college told me. I though always remember all the advice my co-operating teacher, mentor teachers, and colleagues have given me over these years.
     
  24. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    In this case, then I think it may be a very valuable experience for you to participate in the special needs class. It may give you some insights into how to teach this group of children that you may not be able to learn sitting in a classroom. You may be able to learn some skills to take with you into your student teaching semester. Worst case scenario, maybe you will learn some things NOT to take with you to student teaching!
     
  25. lilia123

    lilia123 Companion

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    As an Autism teacher, your professor should not be making a diagnosis
    from behavioral characteristics alone. Autism is a COMMUNICATION disorder, not a collection of odd behaviors.
     
  26. 2ndTimeAround

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    Personally, I think you should jump at the chance to be in a difficult placement now. And if you get the opportunity, a difficult placement for student teaching. You'll be so much more prepared when you get your own classroom.

    I will share, from my own experience, that autistic students tend to believe they know more than the teacher and will often assume incompetence if a teacher makes a different choice than they would. They can be quite arrogant. Talking to your uni professor about this would be very wise!
     
  27. 2ndTimeAround

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    I didn't read that the teacher made the diagnosis. Just mentioned tendencies. The OP is free to take those observations to someone who is qualified to diagnose.

    Last year I noticed that a student of mine was having difficulty reading the board. I suggested she have her eyes checked. I didn't make a diagnosis.
     
  28. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

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    The fact that my 17 year old students struggle with simple arithmetic frightens me, but it is what it is. I can tell you right now that if I were to expect them to do long division, it would fail. Miserably. They can't multiply through 12 without using a times table.

    I teach in a 7-12 school. I know who their former math teachers were. I work with them every day. I know that these kids weren't just pushed aside because math is a weakness for them. They just struggle with it.
     
  29. lilia123

    lilia123 Companion

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    I see what you mean. Many times I just get tired of children being referred for Autism who just have some behavioral concerns with no communication needs. I guess that's a whole different discussion though.
     
  30. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Lilia, I think the communication needs are quite clear in this particular case...
     
  31. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think that you have a lot to learn about the state of education these days.
     
  32. Go Blue!

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    How are you, the student teacher, telling anyone what you prefer to teach? In many schools, you teach what you are told to and in many districts, you teach where you are told to/assigned. As a math teacher, you will be lucky if you have any say in the curriculum that is used and the pacing. You need to get used to this or you will be one sad puppy once you start teaching.

    Also, I teach HS students and many of them still skip count on their fingers, cannot line up math problems properly, and most are just lost without their calculators (aka phones). At my school, students struggle with math much more than reading (although writing is also a real struggle). What you described is nothing unique.
     
  33. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    I teach adults who can't so long division. Intelligent, able, motivated adults. As others have said, we start where they are and progress according to their abilities. In some case, this can take a year or more. Others can zoom through into algebra and passing the GED within 6 months.

    It is early in the school year. At this point (in on level classes) I am still focusing on relatively simple assessments so I can a) get students going with a high level of confidence and b) assess where students are with things they should be expected to already know. If I begin with challenging material I can't tell who struggles with new concepts or who has deficiencies in prior standards. Next week I am starting the real stuff. I'll ramp up and scaffold the difficulty gradually so that by October we are operating where I want us to be. By that time I'll know who needs differentiation or extra help.
     
  34. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    THANK YOU!
     
  35. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    Ummmm sounds pretty contradictory to me.
    Honestly you need to go study special education a little more before you assume the teacher doesn't know what she/he is doing. Remember you are a STUDENT TEACHER and you should conduct yourself as such. You don't know everything, remember that.
     
  36. Go Blue!

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    I would argue that if you are still in school and you have never had your own classroom; you don't know anything yet. You think you do, but until you're actually responsible for a class all year long, you can't realize how little you really "know."
     
  37. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    I actually have my own classroom right now and am also in school.
     
  38. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Nothing personal, but that is just plain scary. Sorry.
     
  39. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I disagree. It depends on how good your prep program was. Mine was excellent. I definitely had less of a learning curve than some others in my first year program.

    With that being said, you will never know everything. You can always learn more.
     
  40. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Nothing you described to me portrayed this situation as 'obviously racist'. Your complaint would probably be laughed at.

    As others have said, there are a disproportionate amount of minorities in special education. This probably has more to do with the level of education of their parents and their socioeconomic status, than a belief in their inferiority.

    Unfortunately, it's a cycle of poor education: many minorities can't afford to educate themselves to high levels such as college and onwards, end up in poverty and uneducated, and fail to educate their children or fall into social traps (like drugs or gangs) because of the need to survive while in poverty. These all exacerbate the racial inequality in our country.

    As for teaching basic arithmetic, that may simply be the level the kids are at. What you can do is ask to administer a pre-test to see for yourself whether the kids understand the math that you think they should understand. If they are really at a higher level, then you might take it from there, but otherwise, don't operate on assumptions.
     
  41. kcjo13

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    And the irony continues.

    I'm sorry miss jerry, but I can't believe you have the guts to post the things you do. This was exactly the advice you've been given before, and now you're dishing it out like you have all the knowledge in the world.

    Unbelievable.
     
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