What Are We Teaching and Why?

Discussion in 'Special Education Archives' started by Guest, Sep 22, 2002.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Sep 22, 2002

    Hello: I have followed this forum, and other speccial education forums for a few months and the following issue seems to be a common thread. Teachers are continually looking for academic/lifeskills curriculum that is at lower elementary levels and geared towards middle/high school students. I offer another, more realistic, and successful approach-create a classroom that does all of this in real life settings. The MR population has a 97% full time unemployment rate, and is directly related to programs that offer abstract, simulated, experiences that teachers think will transfer to the real world. They don't, and 62% of learning disabled students are unemployed after graduation.
    Source: National Longitudinal Transition Study (Wagner 1991)

    How would we feel if when we went to college, we were told that only 3% of us would find full time work? Answer-the system would be investigated and overhauled. With all the time and energy you will have to put into to creating a simulated real life experiences, you could just as easily create a real one, plus your students and you will experience true meaning and reward daily. Our system is a failure, and the only way it is going to change is to do it ourselves, in our programs. Teenagers reading/writing at the 2-4th grade level need to be prepared for the real world, where the supports given in the schools do not exist. They will be employed, hopefully, by in large, in the service fields, ride mass transit, and have to deal with all the pitfalls that exist in poverty. Most can't get, hold jobs because they lack the basic skills needed to work such as, getting to and from the job, following directions, gettting along with co-workers, and knowing when to ask for help. Very little, to no reading, writing, and math skills are required for most of these jobs. In schools when one of our students is struggling, meetings are held which can include upwards of a dozen college educated people including principals, lawyers, etc.. When these students are on their own and working at McDonalds, and they have a problem, will the CEO, VP, regional manager,etc., brainstorm to help this special needs adult succeed? Excuse my language, but hell no! This is why they have a 97% unemployment rate(stats from the ARC). With all of this said, I challenge all to look to the future for your students, when they are on their own, out of the security of school, and to create real life curriculum to help them succeed as adults in our society. I have created such a program and invite you all to view my website. I will help anyone interested in this approach, in anyway I can. Walter
  3. Shea Logan

    Shea Logan Rookie

    Sep 8, 2002
    Likes Received:

    Sep 23, 2002

    Hi Walter,

    Your idea sounds very intersesting. How did you get the pie/bagel shop started? Do your students actually bake the pies, or do you buy them? Is the store open all day long, or during a specific time? How many students do you have in your class? What are their specific jobs/roles in the store?

    Sorry for all of the questions...I teach a Middle School Autisic class and I am just curious. :)


  4. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Sep 23, 2002

    what are we teaching and why

    Shea: Thanks for the response. I will try to answer your questions, but if you want more details I prefer to talk on the phone. My typing skills are pretty bad.

    Your idea sounds very interesting. How did you get the pie/bagel shop started? This started about 14 years ago with a small brownie stand we set up during break at a HS in Texas. It has grown through the years with teacher lunches, selling drinks and snacks at dances, lunch sales to local merchants and school staff, pie sales to the same, carwashes, etc.. We now gross over $10,000.00 a year. My next expansion plan is to sell customized homemade pizzas to staff and students 1 day a week. As you can tell, I have a backround in the food industry.
    Do your students actually bake the pies, or do you buy them?
    We make them from scratch. Everything we make is done this way. The bagels are allowed to rise overnight in the fridge, hand shaped, boiled, topped, and baked. I have added 2 stoves and 2 fridges in the room, and have 2 top of the line Kitchenaid mixers. We also use commercial utensils, supplies, and cookware.
    Is the store open all day long, or during a specific time?
    It is open all day, but most of our business comes during morning break. In 15 minutes my students sell about 70-100 muffins and bagels. They run 2 real cash registers, and I have developed a very simple system for them to follow. People come in all day long and buy what is left. I send my aide downtown(we are located in downtown Santa Rosa, Ca.) 2-3 times a week to about 40 different businesses to sell our products. We also have many standing orders to law offices every week. I have set up relationships over time with these people that allow us to use these opportunities for teaching the skills needed for success in dealing with the public, money, time, etc..
    How many students do you have in your class? I have 12 students, as of today, one adult aide, and 7 reg ed student aides.
    What are their specific jobs/roles in the store? They range from dishwashers to cashiers, delivery, bookkeeping, basically everything you need to run a real bakery. If you want to talk further, I can give you my phone number, or I can call you if $ is an issue at this time-teachers ain't rich! Walter

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