When I started teaching 9 1/2 years ago, I was unaware of how naïve my preconceived notions were as to student behavior both in the classroom and towards teachers. These notions were solely based on my personal school experiences in which I had never been exposed to the challenges of students in a Title I school. After having taught in a Title I school, the experience has proven more valuable than I could have imagined. I have learned that a student’s background, home life, culture, and learning style directly affects his or her behavior. Many students in Title I schools, struggle with difficult life situations that extend beyond school doors, yet these struggles directly impact them during school hours. Working with these students as a teacher, you become adept in working with these challenges and how to use the challenges to help/benefit the students’ education success.
As a Special Education teacher, the various unique learning, emotional, and mental challenges of students have provided me a different view on standard teaching strategies. You must adapt daily to their challenges in learning. As a teacher, having students with unique circumstances, both underprivileged and special education, has challenged me to search for new teaching strategies as well as stretch my own understanding of student’s needs and successes. I have been helping my students with disabilities who have needed additional help in school as well as personal life. Through this growing process, I have also become a mentor and my room has become known as a safe place for students in times of need.
Working with Parents
Parents and teachers both hold the responsibility to teach and guide children into the right direction. When discussing parental involvement, it seems natural that a parent would want to be involved in their child’s education. Myself, like many teachers, have had both ends of the spectrum from begging parents to just contact me so we can talk about their child to having too much input in to how and what their child will and can do. You must find a balance, finding the way to contact that reluctant parent and redirecting the too involved parent.
I am in constant communication with parents of my caseload and classroom about successes and any issues that might have arised. I have found that if you keep and open line of communication with the parents that when an issue arises, they more open to suggestions and corrective actions that might be needed. By treating parents as a partner in their child’s education, you have more success with that student and meeting their needs in school. When communicating with parents, you need to consider their perspective on what they and their child believe is occurring in the classroom. In doing this, you can help them understand what is going on and/or confirm their perspective.
As a teacher, you will always be working with school personnel, from the administrative personnel, teaching assistants, other teachers, counselors and principals. I have always had a good relationship with all of them. You must respect what each one of them does and what role each of them plays in making the school run smoothly to making sure each student is learning to the best of their ability. In collaborating with all aspects of the school personnel you are able to understand what every person’s job can in tell. With that knowledge, you can better understand what is the best way to help students reach their maximum potential in their education. Teachers, counselors, and administrator have to work together to maximize their impact on student achievement and this can be done in a variety of ways. Whether cross-walking standards for classroom lessons or talking about individual students, this partnership is essential to helping students to be successful.
Working with Children
I have always worked with children in some form. I babysat as a teenager and had a summer job at the local daycare. I have even been a camp counselor at a Boy Scout camp during college. Before I finally got a classroom of my own, I was in the corporate world. When I realized this was not what I wanted to do with my life. When I got my degree in history, one of my goals was to be like my high school US History teacher and using that goal I began to look at my options on becoming a teacher, ultimately deciding on going through an alternative certification program. Once I entered an alternative certification program, I also began substitute teaching to get me into a classroom as soon as possible. Substitute teaching helped me narrow down the age group that I wanted to teach. I learned that teachers of Kindergartners have a special place in this world, middles schoolers are funny and still want to learn. High schoolers are in a world of their own. They think they are ready for the world. Some are just ready to get out there work but many want to do more and as a teacher you have to prepare them for all of it. I took what I learned while substituting teaching, ultimately deciding I wanted to work with Middle and High schoolers.
I am currently a High School SPED Inclusion and Resource teacher. I regularly work one on one with students with a wide range of learning difficulties. I have a caseload of about 12 students in which I meet with at least twice a 6 weeks to see how they are doing, what help might they need from me with school and/or personal life. Several of these students meet with me every other week to go over goals and grades.
School Counselors Jobs
School counselors collaborate with other school personnel such as teachers who will help implement guidance lessons in the classroom. As a school counselor it is important to keep the teachers motivated to help implement these programs. The school counselor is first and foremost a collaborator with the student being his first client. It is the counselor’s responsibility to champion the cause of the student by collaborating with families and other educators. As a collaborator, the counselor gives the parents and/or educators options to choose and avenues to meet goals so the student can succeed. School counselors strive to make each student feel there is someone in the school who knows and cares about them.
School counselors can be an excellent resource in assisting teachers in dealing with difficult students. School counselors are an important part of the educational leadership team and provide valuable assistance to students regardless of whether they work in an elementary school or middle school, high school or beyond. School counselors also identify problems, such as alcohol and substance abuse, family violence or problems between students. They use a variety of counseling methods and conflict resolution skills to resolve these problems. School counselors also help students find their appropriate educational path and help them stick to it. At the middle school and high school levels, school counselors work with students to help determine and achieve the student’s post-high school goals. They help students choose high school classes that prepare them for post-graduation plans. They also help them apply to colleges or trade schools by advising them about admission requirements scholarships, and financial aid.
Strengths and Weakness
My strengths are that I am always there to help in any way that I can. I am usually the first to volunteer when administration needs someone. I have been in counseling and helped in advising my students. In the past my students have come to me for help many aspects of their life, from social issues, references, and academic advice. I have admired how hard counselors work with the students, teachers, and administration.