WOW 3 weeks over already! Pre-internship was amazing, I had the opportunity to teach Science 9 and a few lesson in Science 10 at Them Collegiate. I had a wonderful experience but learning one thing the adapting for student makes a world of a difference, not only for students but also for Learning Resource Teachers and Educational Assistants.
The class I spent the most time with had 11 students who required alternate learning needs, from needing scribing to using a computer to complete assignments and needing assignments blown up and given more space to complete assignments. Going in I was unsure of how to adapt assignments and notes, lucky my cooperating teacher had a good grasp on how to help each student.
Although I didn’t have much freedom with the classroom environment, as we were only there for 3 weeks. I was able to come up with my own assignments as well as change my co-op’s assignments as I wished. One major challenge that I faced was adapting to each student that needed it, since I had a high number of students that needed adaptations, I found myself spending a lot of time doing extra planning. Lucky some students needed similar adaptations so I killed two birds with one stone.
I had one student who I worked closely with when other students were working. I got advice from other teachers to just scribe for this student as it will be impossible to read his writing. Thinking other staff knew what was best, as they had worked with him longer, I took their advice and got support for him to have a scribe. But as the days went by I quit asking my co-op or my partner to scribe for him and here is why. Although this “adaptation” was to help him, I thought that maybe it was really in place to help the teachers, to make their life easier. So I thought to myself, if he is ALWAYS having someone write for him, his writing will never improve, and what if this student now depends on having a scribe? As I thought to myself, now if I make this decision to not have a scribe for him will this hurt or help him? Because this student was fully capable in knowing the answers and his writing was just messy, on smaller assignments he wrote them himself, and on larger time-crunched things like exams, he had a scribe.
Another example is when the two periods were given an exam, both classes got the same exam on the same content, again as it wasn’t my main class, I only had little say. For the exam there was word banks for some of the questions, if those words banks were not there for the period 2 Science 9 class the results would have been a lot worse then they were. But once period 4 Science 9 class began writing and I was walking around, surprised at how fast they were finishing compared to the first class, I thought to myself, we are adapting for students who are on the lower end but never adapting for the high end. I decided that if that would have been my class, I simply would have took out the word banks because they were not needed. For a small percentage of the period 4 class, it might have changed their marks drastically but for a large percentage, it would have challenged the students but would not change their grade in the end.
This realization made me wonder why some adaptations are in place, are they in place because teachers result them to save their own ass or is it actually help the student succeed in school. I will continue adapting content and assignments for different students but I always want to know the true reason behind the adaptations, because it can truly make a difference in a child’s education experience.