As a special education teacher, I work in six different classrooms daily. My daily struggle is being able to use my tools to help students learn. If you're a special education teacher, what's the first thing someone says to you when you tell them that is your job? "Oh, you must be soooo patient!" Too often that's the general education teacher attitude that I encounter.
"Just work with these students, using my teaching methods, at a more PATIENT pace."
I'm sorry, but special education DOES NOT work that way. Students are in special education because they need instruction designed for them (hint....INDIVIDUALIZED education plan). I want to be able to use tools that best help all students learn, but that does not mean all students need the same tool.
Let's put this into perspective. I come from a family of people who love to cook, as do I. One of our favorite shows is Top Chef . I remember an episode where the chefs had to cook using only one tool. The chefs could not make any dish they wanted, because they had a limited use of resources. Isn't that the same in education? Students will struggle to achieve all that is asked of them, if they are only given one tool.
This is not just limited to special education students, but to all students. Think about those "disruptive" students, that never miss a day of school. Are they disruptive because it is in their nature, or are they disruptive because we are only giving them one tool to cook with?
As an educator, I am making it my goal to introduce at least one new tool, into each classroom I teach in, each day.