The power of one…
While I am taking these classes, I keep thinking about what Special Education teachers are expected to do as well as what elementary teachers do daily. I think about student need, and how those teachers address that. I am licensed to teach 5th through 12th grade, but I am not totally convinced on my effectiveness at the 5th or 6th grade level.
If we are so concerned about the message of NCLB, how can we expect our elementary and special education teachers to be experts for all core curriculum? I am not saying that it can’t be done, or isn’t done effectively. I am saying that we as teachers all have our strengths. I am acutely aware of this with my classes and learning how to instruct students in reading. This is definitely not my strong suit, and I am unsure of how comfortable I can be if I find myself in this role.
We have found that students have gaps in their learning- some of those are due to their individual circumstances at home, some are due to personal application in class, but some are also due to the teachers they have throughout their learning career.
I am not saying that some teachers are bad or inept, but I am saying that we as teachers have our strong subjects, those that we understand and feel comfortable with. My wife teaches 3rd grade and she is also a math person. Her group consistently scores the highest on the MCAs compared to her team. She also works hard with her students in language arts, but is consistently behind her coworker who has a passion for that discipline. What if a students consistently gets assigned homerooms with teachers who are strong in math? What will that do to their language arts abilities? Is there a correlation there?
I also know many parents request a certain teacher for their student on the grounds of “best fit” or personality. What if that too promotes a deficiency in the student’s learning? Is there a correlation between personality and proficiency within a discipline?
These questions may seem off base or a stretch, but I think it is something to consider. Our students need to have the best opportunities available to them as learners. Sometimes that means instead of going with a family friend as a teacher or one who is strong in a student’s interests or skills, that they need to be led in the direction of the teacher that is strong in an area of that student’s need. I have to fight with Brayden about reading, and I know other than my love for reading there isn’t a lot of home support on that front. It has become a chore to get him to read, and Brayden doesn’t see, feel or get exposed to the passion that can come from a teacher who truly loves it. I want Brayden to get teachers who he will get along with socially, but I also want teachers who can best support his needs- which currently lies in reading.
There is a power in one, each teacher has educational strengths that perhaps we need to utilize more.