If you could be a fly on a wall in a different classroom every day for a year, you would see many things.
Some great things, many good things, many bad things, and some horrific things.
Thankfully, through my college experience I have had the opportunity to see MANY different classrooms in many different school districts.
Here are a few things I’ve seen:
(which I realized after typing this out, all intertwine with each other)
Students who are behind are falling more and more behind with every passing day.
Some of you know of it as the Matthew Effect– The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
Without quick intervention when disabilities are suspected, qualified intervention teachers, and continued intervention, the students are absolutely suffering.
I taught for 8 weeks in a 9th-12th grade self contained classroom. With no clue how to sound out a word or add and subtract two digit numbers, I was constantly plagued by the question, “how did my students make it to the 10th grade without learning ANY of this?” What has happened to our three tier system where our students would slowly work their way up the pyramid until they were getting the sufficient intervention they needed?
Inclusion classrooms with students who were not ready for inclusion
This builds off of my first point. I witnessed entirely too many inclusion classrooms where students were inappropriately placed in them. Occasionally students are flat-out not ready for inclusion. Whether academically or behaviorally, we shouldn’t be forcing students into a less restrictive environment when they’re not ready.
When inappropriately placed, the work presented in class is above the student’s instructional level, therefore they fall behind and STAY behind. When students fall and stay behind, they are not prepared to enter the next year of schooling, thus perpetuating being behind. When work presented in class is above a student’s instructional level, then negative behaviors are likely to arise, like defiance or refusal.
In short: When students are placed in inclusion before they’re ready, they suffer academically and behaviorally
last , but certainly not least,
IEPs with way too many unnecessary accommodations
This is bad for two reasons
- Special education inclusion teachers and general education teachers cannot successfully comply with everyone’s accommodations when each student has 8+ accommodations on their IEP. We all would need 3 aids in our classrooms to comply with the accommodations.
- How can the students be expected to grow and achieve more when they are being continually and extremely scaffolded? Our scaffolds that we set up through accommodations are not being gradually decreased as they should. How can we expect a poor reader to improve if all of their assignments are read aloud to them?