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I spent decades successfully climbing the ladder in the garment business/retailing, working with young staff that told me I should be a teacher because I was so patient & understanding of their learning disabilities. I went to college as a freshman (age 54) & on for my Masters in Special Education. I have been at the same school for the last 7 years in the Bronx working with Emotionally Disturbed students. I tutor many students at their local library to help them catch up, understand what is being taught in a different way, study skills, as well as preparing them for the New York State test.
Many call me their "school mom, or grandma." I work hard to let them know that I care about them, respect them, & want to be there for them. I have even taken in students as official foster children after going through the proper training & certification process. They say I have a huge heart. I just want to be there for students, to show them respect, give them confidence to get through the difficult school years. I have moved to FL to be near my one-year-old grandson. While that is exciting beyond belief, I know that I cannot sit still when I can be helpful to young students who are the future of this country. My students gave me a tee-shirt that says '100 years from now no one will remember what kind of house you lived in, what kind of car you drove, or the clothes you wore. But if you touch the life of a child you will be remembered forever.' I would like to think they were right so I must keep giving as much of myself to help others as I can.
Since I am learning disabled I have some understanding of the challenges that hinders the learning process. I am not one who just labels a child & pulls out a lesson plan to have us follow. There are so many different approaches or combinations to use when working with students. I have been through the system where a lesson plan is written & followed, never alternating from it. Instead I go by the student's IEP (individual educational plan), how they react to the stimuli that they are presented with, & their ability to stay focused for the best outcome for all.
The most important criteria is for the tutor to understand the "in the moment" phase the student is in. Are they on meds, did they take them as required. From there the tutor should decide the direction to take. If the student is very active the lesson will need to be tactile to keep the students attention & focused on the material being presented. It is next to impossible to suggest or demand the student sit down to learn. You have to know the hook, or how to draw them in to be able to focus, thus open to material being presented. Hands on is extremely helpful if they are rather calm. Always be ready with two or more approaches to be able to engage the student. The more approaches you have completely mastered the better prepared you are to reach the student. If they are unfortunate & have to much medication they will have just as hard a time focusing. Know your student, care about them, & respect their disorder. The more you show them you care & are trying, the more they will also try to focus. Keep the sessions short & on task.
I am a certified New York Special Education Teacher. To become certified in NY one has to have taken courses on specifics disabilities. Then they must have hands on classroom experience, then finally an exam must be passed to be properly Certified.
I have had students at many levels of the Aspergers syndrome. For those who can function at a high level, I encourage them in every manner possible. I tell them I have complete faith in their abilities to accomplish the task at hand. Then I back off, but stay close by, if they need reassurance. Others refuse to do any work & I approach carefully & whisper to them I am there if they would like to attempt the project at hand. It may take months before they are able to have a teacher near them, or let anyone see their work. Others hide behind or under a hooded sweatshirt, rarely expose even their face to others around them, don't cut or comb their hair. They may try the work & find it easy, but they will have the notebook on their lap, say no I am not doing it, to anyone who can see they are actually doing the work, which they can because they are very bright individuals.
As with each student the key is to handle each on as a unique individual- not a cookie cutter plan on how they should accomplish the task at hand, but rather how you need to approach them on many levels with differential methods of presentation. Most important is to be what they need you to be within the guidelines of acceptable teaching methods.
My middle name should have been backwards. When I was growing up no one knew about learning disabilities. I could not figure out for the life of me how people could follow a wavy sprawl of letters across a page to make sense let alone a sentence. I could listen & remember the pause in a sentence, ask me to read-impossible, & write "forget about it". I would write completely backwards so that if you held it up to the mirror it could be read. I was 32 before there was a name put to why I spelled so many things wrong. At college my Special Education teacher really helped me understand how to learn a different way. While I still can't spell (which my students know & point out my mistakes) I was able to get a 3.7, & read a James Patterson book in one night. Sometimes those who have experienced the frustration know what it is like & can reach out to those who are struggling.
I have a New York State Certification that permits me to teach regular elementary school students. I also have Certification for Special Education for Birth through grade six. I have been finger printed & cleared by New York State to teach in the state school system. I have experience teaching many different levels of students, different learning styles as well as tailoring instruction their abilities to meet the expectations that were clearly defined in their Individual Education Plan (IEP). Also, there was the behavior aspect of the students that had to be factored into each lesson plan & implemented each moment so that the students could maintain a learning environment. I personally tutored many of these students to prepare them for the State administered tests for both 3rd & 8th grade.
First being learning disabled myself I have a better understanding of the different aspect of the challenge, frustration, wanting to give up feeling. I did not even attempt college until I was 54.I have used different methods to reach each student on their level. I will lay down on the floor to act out what the child is trying to read if that is how I need to reach them so that they have faith & respect, then the willingness to try different ways to accomplish the putting of letters together to read one word, then a sentence,then a paragraph, to a book. The I take them through the steps on how to start writing. If they are timid about their ability I have worked endlessly to get the child over the hump. I have tutored students at libraries after school & on weekend to accomplish their goal. That is the confidence that is often taken from them in the classroom to the point they want to crawl under the table & hide. I just crawl under with them, make them feel comfortable. I have used the Wilson Learning program that is very structured, a phonics approach, computer games. I must reach the child gain their confidence before any progress can be made, no matter what the subject.
I am a Certified New York State Special Education Teacher. I am Certified from Birth through six; then first grade through sixth. I took all college courses required thus passing all my test for certification on the first try. This is an accomplishment because I am learning disabled, & very challenged by tests. I have worked with the range of students from severe ADHD, Aspergers, Dyslexia, OCD, ODD. Each student is unique, if they have been labeled that does not mean that they are approached in the same manner, especially when it comes to getting them committed to wanting to learn. So many have failed, feel humiliated, given up. A new fresh seed has to be planted & as a Special Education Teacher one has to find that seed, or water a positive one with positive attitude that they can do it.
I am a Certified New York State Teacher in both Special Education as well as Elementary Education. Certification for Special Education is Birth through grade six. Regular Education is first through sixth grade. Myself, being learning disabled I struggled through school so I know the pain that is buried so deep, & those walls that are built to protect ourselves.I work to try to give confidence to the student that we can get through this to make things a bit easier for them. There are many different approaches to both teaching as well as learning that I have been using that have struck the cord, opened the door to appreciate as well as looking forward to learning. First when working with a student it is important to have them describe their current study habits. Ask them if they feel it works for them or could it be tweaked a little to get more from their time & energy put in to studying. Certain items need to be assembled before they begin to study. Quiet clear space with everything that will be needed to properly achieve the task. (Books, paper, assignment, pencil/pen,reference material ) if they are studying vocabulary they could write the word on an index card, with the meaning on the opposite side. Then go through words & meanings. Then show either word or meaning & ask for correct answer. If they get it right put in one pile. Anything incorrect another pile. Tell them they can carry these with them everywhere they go. As they get them right put in correct pile. Before exam go through the index cards for review & confidence that they will do well. This method can be used on any subject. They can carry the cards to review any free time they have.
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