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. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I spent several years as the case manager for transitioning middle schoolers. At the transition IEP meeting, I would provide data to support their level of progress. From there, we determined an appropriate placement. To a very real extent, we placed students in a particular type of class due to their current level of achievement. So... Yeah, there very well may be a full class of kids that are multiple years behind. That's part of the reality for many kiddos.
     
  2. SF_Giants66

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    The teacher didn't make a diagnosis. I was already diagnosed. She mentioned her experience and talked about behaviors of some of her students in the past and I talked to her after class to make sure she didn't think I was mocking her or anything, because I happened to be doing some of the same things she was talking about.
     
  3. SF_Giants66

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    For the course, we only have to turn in a total of 3 lessons. I'm placed in a science and math class, but I've pretty much already decided I don't want to teach science unless I can't find a job teaching math anywhere within an hour drive.

    My math skills are cognitively in the 85th percentile above the rest of the population and I'm the only middle school candidate who has an academic background in financial based math as well as two different calculus classes. I'm very analytical in the way I explain how to solve math problems and even had an algebra teacher last semester from my student teaching ask to use a presentation that I created on factoring polynomials.

    So basically, just because I haven't had my own class doesn't mean I don't know anything. My style of teaching involves eliciting responses as well as requiring critical thinking, and I didn't see the teacher doing any of that. In a state exam practice problem, she didn't even ask a single student any questions to see if they comprehended it, or ask them to try one on their own.
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    OP, it looks to me like you are falling into a very common trap that many student teachers and new teachers fall into. It seems like you think that you're going to be teaching math. In reality, you're going to be teaching students. They will come to you with a wide variety of experiences, background knowledge, skills, and challenges. You will have to find a way to get them to understand your material, and that will most certainly take a lot more than the ability to answer 85% of the math problems you try.
     
  5. DrivingPigeon

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    I didn't read all of the replies, but I'm surprised that their IEP's don't reflect grade-level standards. All of our IEP's have to match 2nd grade standards, even if the student is well below grade level. For example, my students were required to subtract 2-digit numbers with and without regrouping. I had a lower student last year (CD), and his IEP said something like "Will subtract 2-digit numbers accurately 80% of the time, using manipulatives and adult support" or something like that.

    So, if the math class is full of 8th grade students, they should be learning 8th grade math, but with more support in place. Sure, sometimes the teacher needs to review previously taught concepts, or front-load, but they shouldn't be learning 5th grade standards.
     
  6. SF_Giants66

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    The problem is the lessons we turn in to our professor must meet a standard. I don't even know where this class is.
     
  7. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I'll add to that and say that... you probably don't know as much about teaching as you think you do. Just as an example, had you walked into my room last Monday, you wouldn't have observed much in the way of critical thinking skills in my math lesson. Is that because I don't believe in them? Is it because I can't teach them? Is it because I don't think they're important? No, no, and no. It's because I had a lesson planned on Tuesday that revolved about critical and creative thinking, and because the kiddos needed to have certain abilities for Tuesday's lesson to make sense. I (and most teachers, I'd like to think...) incorporate higher level thinking skills on a very regular basis in my classroom, but using those skills DOES require having a certain knowledge base.

    Making sweeping generalizations about a veteran teacher after a couple days is dangerous for anyone, let alone a student teacher. Your past posts suggest that you don't have much in the way of patience for students that are below grade level. That is something you need to work on. Keeping an open mind about this class may help, and keeping an open dialogue between yourself and your CT may not only give you insight as to his/her thought process, but may also give the students more access to higher-level thinking skills, if indeed they are not using them enough in class.
     
  8. gr3teacher

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    This is true in my experience, also... and is one of the things that irks me about the IEP process more than anything else. What supports will help a sixth grader add mixed numbers with unlike denominators if they don't really grasp the idea of adding simplest-form fractions with like denominators and a picture model?
     
  9. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I wouldn't talk with the cooperating teacher about this right now. Since it sounds like you're concerned about the standards you must attain for your student teaching practicum, speak with your supervisory teacher or your adviser. Let them know your concerns as they relate to your student teaching requirements, not to the placement of minority students in Special Education. If there is something truly disconcerting about the situation, it will be apparent to them. If not, you'll have been assured your practicum will not be affected by your placement.
     
  10. SF_Giants66

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    My practicum is not until next semester. This is the third field placement course. The first one was observing only. The second one was observing with teaching. This one is observing, teaching, and classroom management.

    The reason I am frustrated is because of my concern for the kids. I don't think the teacher was doing anything to help them learn. If she is doing a box and whisker plot for the first time for them, just doing one problem without asking to see if they understand any of it and then going onto something else is not teaching.

    In one division problem, a student wrote IDK on the dry erase board and then did it after the teacher told her she needed to try. This kind of makes me believe that the kids are unmotivated because they are being given answers and the school is doing anything just so they pass and aren't stuck with them again instead of actually making sure they are ready for high school.

    I could be wrong, but I just wish I would have seen some kind of sign that they are actually teaching the kids in this class something.
     
  11. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    Please, please just get a life and move on. You following me to every thread just to comment and be rude is so, so sad.
     
  12. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Ask your CT.
     
  13. Shanoo

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    I know I'm in a completely different ball game seeing as I'm in Canada, but mine don't.

    Last year, I had two students in my Grade 9 math class who functioned at a Grade 3 level. So, while I was teaching the rest of the class how to solve algebraic inequalities, I was teaching those two students how to make change. In the same room. At the same time. With no EA support. I was run off my feet.
     
  14. DrivingPigeon

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    Agreed! It's pretty ridiculous sitting at some of these IEP meetings, and expecting the kids to do grade level work when, developmentally, they are so far behind. I wish the IEP could reflect more foundational skills to get them to the big goal eventually. That's how it used to be before Common Core.
     
  15. GemStone

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    Take the chance to teach the inclusion class and run with it, because there is a good chance you WILL be teaching one as a certified general education teacher. And those kids will legitimately be far behind grade level.
     
  16. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Ours have been this way for a lot longer than common core has been around. I've only ever seen IEPs with grade level goals, even when it's ridiculous and the kid's reading level is literally 8 grades below the grade he's in.

    I've experienced IEPs for the last eight years and they've always looked like that. I will never understand it.
     
  17. SF_Giants66

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    I looked over the schedule she gave me again, and she is spending six days with these students on adding and subtracting fractions WITH LIKE DENOMINATORS! Seriously? That's the same thing as adding and subtracting whole numbers, because the denominator never changes when they are the same and you're adding and subtracting. It took me one class period in 4th grade to understand that concept and I was ready to go on to the next step.


    I need to talk to my learning diversity professor about this, because I'm not coping very well with this.

    I guess I would understand this better if the students were getting individual intervention or in a small class for this, but this many students 3-4 years behind is just too much for me to swallow.
     
  18. gr3teacher

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    How big is the school? When I taught sixth grade special ed, I typically sent at least three kids like that to the middle school, and we were one of six feeders to the middle school. You can do the math there.

    Also, you need to stop the "it's so EASY" stuff. Everything is easy if you understand it, and kiddos take a lot longer to grasp operations with fractions than operations with whole numbers.
     
  19. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Have you spoken to the teacher? She knows the reason behind her plans and pacing. Don't ask in an accusatory way, but in a way that conveys that you are interested in the answer. It seems as though you are avoiding/ignoring the best source of information about your concerns and are, instead, assuming that she doesn't know anything and is doing something wrong.

    As a future math teacher is important that you learn that the students must develop an understanding of the why behind the methods--it's not enough to say, "When adding fractions with like denominators, simply add the numerators." The students need to understand why that is the process. It's also important not to make comparisons--between classes, between students, or between yourself and your students.
     
  20. SF_Giants66

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    Usually for the why it is explained with putting together parts of whole pieces in first and second grade activities, and then by 4th grade it is easily reviewed. I guess I have a difficult time seeing why that would take six classes.

    Maybe since many of you aren't shocked by this, then it isn't such a rare and questionable case that I'm making it out to be, but I've experienced several painful rude awakenings already in trying to teach math that I just wasn't really wanting to witness this.
     
  21. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Ask the teacher you are working with. She is the one planning and she knows why she is devoting so much time to it.
     
  22. 2ndTimeAround

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    And you will have many more rude awakenings as you student teach.
     
  23. Loveslabs

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    I understand part of where you are coming from except substitute math with reading. I read at a very young age. I never learned or understood phonics until I had to teach it. I still struggle with students that have reading issues because it was so easy for me and I don't understand how it can be so hard for someone else.

    As a teacher you can compare yourself to your students but it isn't going to change anything. Instead you need to question how your own experiences might help you better teach your students. You need to work on compassion for those that struggle with what you perceive to be simple. These students are often the hardest to teach, but yet they help us grow as educators.
     
  24. Loveslabs

    Loveslabs Companion

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    And as you teach....even thirty years into your career!
     
  25. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    My gut instinct says that there is something wrong here...I work in a low-income school and a whole class of 8th graders spending a week on adding and subtracting fractions with like denominators does seem unusual. I have worked with certain students who lacked some basic skills, but I have never encountered an entire class. That said, there are classes like this so these students may need to be taught fractions, etc. If they could be challenged more, this is upsetting because they would be falling so behind.

    OP, do the students seem to be struggling with the material that the teacher is teaching? Or are they grasping it rather quickly? Is the teacher performing any checks for understanding?

    I disagree with the idea that student teachers do not know what good teaching is. Even though student teachers may not have as much experience as a teacher with 20 years of experience, it's a good idea to think critically about your observations and think about what the teacher is doing right and what the teacher could improve upon. Just because a teacher is a veteran teacher, it doesn't mean that everything he/she is doing is perfect.
     
  26. SF_Giants66

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    Honestly they didn't really seem to be struggling at all with adding and subtracting numbers with decimals. They all moaned when the teacher said they would be doing division because fractions and division are understandably mind numbing for many people, but even when they did it most of them seemed to get the right answer. She only told a few people to double check.


    With her regular class, she only seems to spend two days on one concept with them. I planned a lesson I was going to teach last week, and she apologized that she couldn't have me teach it because they ended up taking longer to get to that unit and said she could stretch the previous concepts out so I could teach it next week instead, but I told her that it wouldn't be necessary for her to take an entire week on two easy lessons prior to mine just to appease me because it would have made the students spend three extra days to review material that they have already mastered, and I wasn't upset that I ended up preparing a lesson that I wasn't going to teach as planned.

    So I do put the students before myself, which is why this class agitates me and throws a red flag out. I just don't think the students are really being challenged.
     
  27. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    So let me throw this out there. Consider it from the teacher's side. How would she BENEFIT from teaching the same thing 6 times in a row? From making 6 different lessons around the same concept with 6 different activities? What reason would she have for doing this, if not for the sake of the students? Why would she WANT to stay teaching the same thing over and over and over again rather than move forward, like she is for her other classes?

    And- what did she say when you asked her, "Why do the students need 6 lessons on this?"
     
  28. pinkrobots27

    pinkrobots27 Rookie

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    :eek:

    Are you positive you want to be a teacher? Because you sound incredibly unemphatic. It sounds like you need a profession that doesn't involve working with people or at least kids since so many are beneath you.

    There are a lot of students who struggle with math. It may be because they're intellectually disabled, have a specific learning disability but do well in other subjects or come from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Regardless, you'll always have struggling students in class.

    I urge you to seek another profession. For someone who speaks of his own struggles on a daily basis, you appear to have little to no ability to put yourself in someone else's shoes. That doesn't make for a good teacher.

    :wow::dizzy:
     
  29. SF_Giants66

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    You can urge whatever you like. I don't really think suggesting a profession where someone doesn't have to ever work with people is very sound advice though. It seems as you're just trying to be insulting.
     
  30. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    SF_Giants, I'm wondering, were you always good at math in school? Did it come easily for you, and is that why you chose to be a math teacher? I was always naturally good at school. Most things came pretty easily to me, and even when they didn't, I mastered skills with minimum effort. I was classified gifted, and only ever in classes with students who also learned things quickly. I say all of this not to brag, but because when I entered education it was a huge realization for me that not everyone is smart. Not everyone is average. There are some students who, for a variety of reasons, struggle to be successful in school. I had to change my entire paradigm of how I saw the world because I had been somewhat sheltered. I think this may be what is happening to you.
     
  31. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    SF, in an earlier post you said the students were struggling with decimals and the teacher let them get out their journals. Then you said they didn't seem to be struggling? I'm confused.

    If you want to know why the teacher is teaching her class this way, ask her. I'm willing to bet she has more background knowledge than you do, which is why she's teaching this way. I teach 5th grade. We add and subtract fractions with unlike denominators, but before we do, we spend 3 weeks reviewing adding and subtracting like fractions, equivalent fractions, mixed numbers, etc. All of those are skills they were taught in 4th grade, with solid instruction. Inclusion, on grade level, and gifted students all failed the pre test, which had these skills. Why? Because fractions are complex, and cannot be mastered in two class periods.
     
  32. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Let me put it to you this way...

    I often watch American Idol's opening shows and see some people who lack any bit of singing talent try to perform for the judges. Ultimately, they are heartbroken/frustrated/downright angry at the judges when they are told they need to go in another direction with their lives. I always think it is unfortunate that they weren't told earlier that maybe they needed to pursue some other dream, as singing just isn't what they are cut out for.

    Think of this as me trying to save you from the criticism to come. A job that doesn't deal with people is where you will flourish. This isn't your thing.

    :2cents:
     
  33. olivecoffee

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    I'm not sure if this has been said, because I'm two pages behind, but you're going to have to understand that these children do NOT learn how you learn. I'm in my practicum right now and I'm facing challenges because I have to remember every.single.minute that these kiddos don't learn the way I do. My university supervisor told me that this is a problem he sees a lot with student teachers and new teachers.

    I understand that you grasped the concept of fractions with like denominators in one class period, but your kiddos are not you. In fact, it took me quite a while to figure out fractions. If I had a teacher who expected me to understand it in a math period, I'd have been set up for failure. One of the kiddos in my student teaching classroom could not tell me what I could add to 20 to get to 29, but the problem she had to solve was 20 + ____ = 29. She's in third grade. She just isn't there. I know that *I* could look at the number on the left of the equal sign and say, "9," but she isn't me. She needed manipulatives, and even then she struggled.

    Your kiddos will never learn the way you do, and you cannot teach them the way you learn. Please understand that. You'll struggle with this in your practicum. It's something I have to remind myself constantly, especially since I'm teaching rounding. I find myself thinking: WHY DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND!!!! IF IT'S 4 OR LESS, IT STAYS THE SAME!!!!" But I'm an adult. They are not.
     
  34. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Or, maybe the poster is just trying to be helpful ... and willing to voice an opinion others (probably) also have about you.
     
  35. pinkrobots27

    pinkrobots27 Rookie

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    No, I'm honestly not. I've seen several of your posts but not being able to think like a student...actually not wanting to..is a big red flag for anyone who wants to teach. You need to anticipate your students mistakes or at the very least be willing to help them even if they don't learn everything in one day like you do.

    Sorry but you can't design your ideal classroom with your ideal subject where every student thinks just like you do. Try to have a little more empathy. It's clear you struggle with things like social skills so one would think you could understand another's difficulties albeit in a different subject.
     
  36. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I'm not trying to be the least bit rude, but I have to ask you if you think you are headed in the right career path for your talents? You are highly math oriented...maybe engineering would be a better fit?
     
  37. Mr.history

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    Last year was my first year teaching. I had inclusion students in a 11th grade US History class that couldn't read. I was blown away as I didnt remember kids like this when I was in high school. This year I have 2-3 students who can barely write their name, but they can listen and answer questions on what they heard/have had read to them.

    Your going to have to get used to this. I personally don't think inclusion is a good model for most students but its the way things are.
     
  38. SF_Giants66

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    I think I've made it pretty clear in several previous threads that I'm not switching career paths.


    The inclusion classes are likely due to the special education laws on least restrictive environment. The problem for me wasn't really with teaching kids who struggle with math, but mostly that I just am not buying the fact that this many kids are at this level, and my initial suspicion was that they fudged the IEPs in order to get them into an easy class to keep their school ratings high.

    The students seemed to struggle with the core bites worksheets which were common core warm-ups, but didn't have any struggle with adding and subtracting numbers with decimals, which in reality is no different than adding and subtracting regular numbers and putting a dot in with the number. So I was just having a difficult time believing that there was actually a reason for this other than the school giving these kids a load of crap course disguised as a real math class.
     
  39. bros

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    Students reach a level like that because they are pushed through the system in an attempt to pass the buck onto the next teacher in line.

    It is very damaging to the students. As you have learned in your education/psychology classes, scaffolding is important to learn new concepts.

    Some empathy wouldn't hurt either.
     
  40. SF_Giants66

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    What bothered me is scaffolding is something I didn't observe in this class. As I stated, the teacher didn't seem to even care if the students were even paying attention and retaining any information on a statistics problem she was working out on the board. She didn't even have them practice one on their own after teaching them.

    I just felt if the majority of the students were getting problems from 3 years ago correct, she should have been satisfied and moved onto something else a bit more challenging.

    The kids didn't seem stupid, dim-witted, or lacking intelligent thought, but I just felt the teacher was treating them that way.
     
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