Moving On!

I was thinking about it this morning and thought I should post this little (not-so) milestone on my blog:

Friday was my last day as a classroom assistant. The next time I go to “work” it will be as a teacher! Yay me!

Overall, I think this time spent as an assistant in special education has been very much worth it. I think now, as I did going into this whole thing, that the experience will help me as a teacher in my own classroom. With inclusion as a rule nowadays, there will almost always be someone in my class with some sort of disability. Knowing how to handle these situations a bit more is totally worth it. I have also realized that “special eduation” techniques are great for “regular” kids, and your own kids too. Ask me how many times my own son threw himself down on the floor in a screaming fit. That would be exactly once. He got up on his own soon after Mommy walked away from him like she didn’t even know him. And he got none of what he was pitching a fit for. (Apparently he did try this tactic at the babysitter’s house a couple times. Product of seeing other kids do the same, but he never brought it back home to me!) Ignoring is a great behavior modification tactic. Yummy!

So last year with St Coletta
and this year as a classroom assistant in Prince George’s County schools has really been beneficial. I really loved getting the opportunity, as a classroom assistant, to be in a normal classroom observing. I got to take a peek at the curriculum, and got to hone my “I don’t understand” techniques. I should be ready for any difficulties in a regular classroom by now!

Both of the students I worked with in the regular (3rd grade) classroom were autistic
. They just needed a little (or a lot) of help in certain areas. Looking back, I see a big difference in their behaviors and skills from the beginning of the year until the end. Not just because of me, either. After all, I did leave for two and a half months to do my student teaching. But I can really tell a difference in their abilities, and willingness to try different things. Toward the end of the year – maybe for the past couple weeks or so – both boys began to willingly read to me. It used to be a tooth-puller. Or I had to read with them, or alternate with them in order to get them to read on their own. Then one day, D said “I’ll read the odd numbered things if T will read the even.” And that was it – they took turns like this, and would read pages and pages of material if need be! Wonderful! And both improved in their reading SO much! Great!

Another area both boys improved in was their confidence. When I first got to the class, D would NOT go up to the board/overhead or read aloud for the class. At the end, he was all over that. T always went up, but not D. Of course, offset of the Autism, D also got upset if he raised his hand to volunteer and didn’t get called on. Then, watch out! He was gonna be mad! Thank goodness neither one of them was violent!

I have high hopes for both these boys’ futures. I think they will do well, and I wish them all the success they can stand!

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