I am so excited about the linky Jamie from Tales of a Carolina Girl is hosting. Blogging is something I have really gotten into this past year and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE finding other special ed. bloggers. Networking is a huge part of my success and I love hearing from those who do what I do day in and day out. With that said here is a little information about me:
Any teaching job, gen. ed or special ed., can be stressful at times. Getting advice from those who are in the same situations as you can be one of the most helpful and comforting things for me. My advice for anyone in the special education field is just to be patient and not give up. Our students are creatures of habit. If they have eaten lunch before recess for the past 4 years and now are expected to have recess before lunch a problem will more than likely arise. It is important to take the time to help your student understand the change in routine and show them that it will be ok. This may take 1 time (lucky you) but in my case it took me about 1 month to get this under control this year.
Another thing is to be consistent. Kids are smart! They know how to push our buttons and manipulate situations. Don't let up on your directive. Keep pushing yourself to stand firm and your students will learn. Again be patient, but they will learn.
I would also say to make sure to celebrate accomplishments. One of my students during melt downs last year was very destructive. At the beginning of the year we were tearing down book shelves, ripping bulletin boards down, breaking baskets and at sometimes getting physical. I worked very hard to educate my staff on using common language. After meltdowns, when the student was back to a rational state, I would talk to them about what happened. I would then teach the replacement behavior. I would want this particular student to say "I'm angry". We worked long and hard at this. The destructive behaviors continued to get smaller and smaller until one day (8 months into the school year) my little guy said "I'm angry" and noting was destroyed. I am not kidding you when I say I was so happy I cried. It was that moment that told me everything I did, the countless hours of preparation, reading up on interventions, finding dinosaur materials etc. was totally worth it. No accomplishment, big or small, should be passed up. Celebrate and share what you and your students are doing.
My final note is to have fun and laugh. Our jobs are tough. If we don't make ourselves enjoy them we will get burnt out. I laugh daily and teach my kids it's ok to make mistakes and laugh at ourselves.
I am so excited to do some blog hoppin' and meet up with some other SPED's!! Make sure to get in on the action too, just click here!
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