Discussion in 'General Education' started by 1stGradeRocks, Nov 7, 2008.
Nov 7, 2008
I feel your pain. I am expecting a student next week who is deaf, is pretty much non-verbal, and doesn't know sign language (parents don't want him to learn it). I was also told to not expect any extra support and the hearing specialist told me that the only thing she could help me with is giving me a workshop on how to work his FM systemhmy:. He has only been in school for 3 weeks and has been suspended for the other 7 weeks. Oh, and he will most likely only get 30 min. of speech therapy/week. The school district mandated (meaning I have to take him even though he doesn't qualify) that I take him in my program because they don't know where else to put him.
I don't think you should spend any more time with him than any other child. Your job is to teach every child. He should be placed in an ELL class and if that can't be done you have to have other expectations. Don't let a child frustrate you. It is not his fault. If he doesn't know how to write his name than start at the begining. Things like that his parents don't have to speak english to work on. I would grade him as an enlish language learner. No one expects miracles.
Kinder, look into the ELL laws of your state. I just had to take the CLAD courses last year, and there's a lot of legal requirements for ELL students. I'll admit I don't remember if they are state or federal, or even what they are, as I haven't had to use them since I learned them. But perhaps a few minutes of research can save you some long, sad nights.
Nov 8, 2008
EEEK- kinder, you really need to change your mindset about this...You have the unique opportunity of making a difference in this child's life- have some grace and compassion..
Do you have an ESL/ESOL teacher in the building? If so, s/he should be able to help you out by creating packets of work that he can do when he is unable to do your classwork...If no ESL, then make some packs for him- coloring, counting, writing his name over and over...pictures and words, books on tape...
I've been in a similar situation before. Although, honestly students who come in months after the school year started usually do fall into the routines a lot faster than it took to establish them because the other students are doing them.
Are there older grade students in your school? I have a couple of 5th graders come to my room each morning for the first 20 minutes or so to help out and the thing they've been working on early in the school year is helping individuals learn to write their names. See if you can work something out with another teacher. (These girls actually come to school early to get their morning work from their own class done so they can work in my class.)
Barring any learning disabilities or severe behaviors, he WILL learn just by being exposed to everything.
I agree that it's not fair for one student to take an inordinate amount of time. Do what you can. Celebrate any of his successes and incremental progress.
Is there a Spanish speaking child in your class who can help him?Does your school have any ESL teachers who can work with him?Maybe your aide can try and teach him some basic English vocabulary.I know it is difficult,but it sounds like you are becoming obsessed by this child. You can only do the best job you can to teach him as much as you can.If you can help him to adjust to being with other children and learning some basic skills you are probably making a difference in his life.
My first year of teaching,I received a new admit in my class after one month.He spoke no English. The first two words he learned were Bathroom and lunch. If he had learned the words test prep he might have been totally prepared for school.
I tend to agree with czacza. And, this is a unique opportunity for you to learn, too.
Your P and your school district should be able to provide you with some sort of help if you are not a designated bilingual school. Have you checked with them for assistance?
Children as young as he is will learn english just so long as they hear it. Don't focus only on the little guy. Do lots of group work so he hears the other children and is included. Put up lots of pictures and the words that go with them. Front load all stories then go over the story, and specify important vocabulary. Lots of kindergarten reading will help him learn english-lots of repetition of words. Be sure to say thank you, your welcome, and please to the little one at appropriate times. Try having the children teach each other in partners or groups of three what ever you just taught, he will then get a repetion of whatever you said from his peers. Trust this child will learn english, if he was in third or above it would be a worry but in kinder he is still in the language absorbing age. Instead of having you and the aide work one on one with him pick a permanent "peer helper" or two and train them to restate things, work with him, or show him what you are telling them to do. The children usually like such assignments.
I had a student in my special education class who was 13 and hadn't even gone to school until he was 12. He was from Jamaca (sp), and he had a severe speech impediment so his parents hid him.
When he got to the US he did go to school, but he didn't know how to act and he hardly knew anything. Someone did teach him to read, but it was pretty hard to teach him because he wasn't socialized and just wanted to crawl/ roll around the floor.
Guess what? I saw the hugest growth in him. He was a big thorn in my side, but I learned to embrace him and do what I could to help him. He made so many big strides. He took so much of my energy but it was so worth it. I think about him fondly and miss him now.
I agree with Czacza, its important that you change your thinking about this child. There is no reason that he should monopolize your time, but he does have very special needs.
In order to give him support without having to hang over him all day, help to get him to the point where he can be a little more independent. I highly recommend starfall.com It is a website that he can go on to practice phonics and beginning reading.
Also, as someone else suggested, it would be a great idea to set him up with a buddy/buddies. Maybe there is a child in your class who could use a confidence boost? Or someone who simply shares his language? Asking a child to help him out will be good for everyone involved. They can look at books together, play together, color together, etc. The buddy can help him with English words, and just lend a little support.
I would also put together a packet of coloring pages, things to cut out and match, etc.
I also want to reiterate that he is at a huge advantage being in kindergarten. Really, the playing field is almost level that young, as all the children are learning to read, write, and the basic functions of language in the classroom. He will pick it up in no time, he just needs patience, understanding, and support.
I have some resources that I put together for teachers in my school building on working with newcomer English Language Learners if you would like them, you can feel free to PM me with your email address.
I, too, think that this can not only be a great opportunity for him, and that you've got the unique opportunity to make a huge difference in his life, but you are very lucky in that you will be able to learn a lot from teaching this student.
Just remember to consider what this child is going through. He probably feels just as lost coming into the school year three months in as you do trying to figure out what to do with him. He does not understanding a word that is said, in a culture very different from his own, having left family and friends and all that is familiar behind.
I wish you and the child the best.
Ok, I am really not a horrible teacher and person. Some of you are making me feel that way though. I made this post last night after I came home from work very frustrated. I promise that I am 100% committed to helping this child achieve as much as he can.
I know that working with ELLs can be very frustrating, and I an ESL teacher and work exclusively with ELLs, 60 of them, to be exact, day in and day out. They are challenging children, but the reward that you will reap from helping this little boy will be incredibly worth it. And lucky you, you will see progress very quickly.
I don't think you are a horrible teacher and person, as Im sure no one else does either, but, it will take dedication and determination, so don't give up now!
Again, if you would like to see some information on working with newcomer ELLs, just PM me your email address, and if you ever have any questions or want to bounce ideas around, Im always open to help. I love teaching ELLs and want others to enjoy it as much as I do, so I love providing support!
You aren't horrible. Its a very tough thing to deal with when you have so many kids in your class and they all need you. We are here for you.
Nov 9, 2008
No one was trying to make you feel terrible- just to view this kid differently...It's ok to vent, to feel exhausted and frustrated...the advice you've been given here is good- try it...you will see that this kiddo will soon be learning English just because he desires to be social with the other kids and to be involved in your class activities...
From reading your other posts here on the forums, it seems you are having a particularly stressful year...are you doing anything for YOU?...find ways to de-stress, to unwind, rejuvenate, refresh, reflect...you need to make time for that.
You are going to be amazed at how quickly this child will pick up the "survival language" he needs. The other posters are correct. Just expose him to what he needs to learn as much as possible. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Also, if you have something majorly important you need him to understand then if you have a student either in your class or another class that speaks Spanish then utilize that front.
Does your school have an ELL program? It is a federal law that if a student needs services they need to be provided those services. In our county we are one of three elementary schools that provide ELL services to all of the students in the county. The system is required to provide transportation to get them to us or lose federal education funds.
The poster that suggested that you label things was right on. It would be even more beneficial if you could label it in both english and spanish and also learn some basic phrases - for example "door - puerta; pencil - lapiz; to go to the bathroom - ir al bano; im hungry - tener hambre; line up - alinearse"
We don't think you are a bad teacher or a bad person kinder, it can be overwhelming when you haven't ever been exposed to ELL children. I can tell you from experience though that they are very sweet, very hard working for the most part, even though they can be a challenge and their parents are some of the best parents that you will have because they value education highly.