First, the apology: it’s been quite a while since I’ve made a post. That makes me a bad, bad journal-writer. I’ve been busy with work and summer school – there is no shortage of things I want to post about, rather a shortage of time with which to prepare decent posts. I hate the idea of slapping half-assed, unresearched posts up here just for the sake of posting. So, I do hope that you will forgive the lull. I’m hoping it will start picking up.
Now, for the subject at hand.
Last night I went to a low-key party at a friend’s house. Before you get all excited, there were board games involved – I suppose a more appropriate term would be “get-together”, but none of this is truly important. One of my friends, K, is a teaching assistant (elementary school), and something she said to me struck me as odd and frightening at the same time.
We were talking about summer school, and she says, “Oh, yeah! My teacher from last year is teaching summer school this summer, and I ran into her, yesterday. I asked her how it was going and she says, ‘I have seventeen kids and none of them are on medication!’ All I could think was, ‘Should they be? You had 22 last year and none of them were on medication, either…'”
K also found this teacher’s statement odd, and just kind of ended the conversation with her. She went on to explain that this is a first year teacher, who was inconsistent and never really handled discipline or communication with families her entire first year of teaching. K, the teaching assistant, did all of that for her.
Because of things like this, and other reasons, K left that school and will be a teaching assistant at a very small (80 kids) elementary school next year.
This caused me to react in several different ways:
(1) What are they teaching people at East Carolina University (from where the teacher graduated) about special needs kids, classroom management, and family communication? (I’ve heard great things about ECU’s school of education from many different people, and am guessing that this person is an exception to her peers.)
(2) Why do people still assume it’s their students that are the problem when they have issues in the classroom? And why is the hoped-for outcome medicated students? What ever happened to thinking, “Hmm… my students aren’t doing well and going crazy… perhaps I should change what I’m doing.”
(3) Why is it okay to abuse your teaching assistant by letting/making them do all the classroom management? This teacher is going to be in a world of trouble next year, when she has to do all of that stuff herself.
(4) Speaking of that, why don’t school of education programs mention teaching assistants? I just realized that I have not once learned what a teaching assistant is actually supposed to do. I can guess, based on prior experience, but isn’t that kind of important? Shouldn’t I be learning how to properly utilize my teaching assistant, if I get one? They’re kind of a mystery to me.
Anyway, just some observations… some of which have been rolling around in my head for some time, but came to the surface last night. I hope to develop a more detailed, researched post about students on medication in the future, but didn’t have time to do that, tonight.
I hope you are all well.