Thursday, October 21, 2010


Every day that passes, I am more grateful for working through enough stuff to quit EBDland and move on to teaching at the university level.

I loved EBDland, but it was killing me.  Literally.

So, the best part of this new gig?  Well, there are many.  But supervising student teachers allows me to enter all sorts of classrooms and watch how others are managing their caseloads and classrooms.  Kinda like driving around the hood slowly late at night, peeping in lit up windows to see how your neighbors are decorating the living room.

I have seen exceptional.  I have seen deplorable. And the good part....?  I don't have to do anything about it!!!!

It has been an incredible experience to then process with my student teachers.  It is invigorating to analyze, ponder, reflect, and problem solve.  It is amazing to watch the next generation of teachers come into their style, evolve, and collect the good, the bad and the ugly and sift through it all in their efforts to be really good teachers.  

Unfortunately one of my student teachers is in the worst possible situation.  In one room there are 6 teachers.  It is arranged very poorly, it is very unwelcoming, there are some real safety issues in there.  Ld teacher working in small pull out groups has to teach over the din of hour long meltdowns.  I mean full on screaming!  And the administrator said, "Well, that's just special ed."

Are you cussing kidding me?????  What kind of school leadership is that?  Sacrifice quality learning environment for the LD kiddos?  Really?  This same administrator hands out much less harsh consequences to special ed victims of special ed peer attacks than she does if a special ed kiddo attacks a reg ed student.  So, special ed kids don't deserve quality learning environments?  So, special ed kids don't need to feel safe?  So, special ed kids don't need protecting from other special ed kiddo bullying?

Oh yeah, I am furious.  Oh yeah, I can't let this one go.  Not sure how I will address it, but I will.  

So grateful I stopped the insanity of crossing over the the dark side.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Sorry I have been out of it for so long.  That certainly was not my intention or preference.  

As mentioned before, Movie Man was having a most challenging transition to middle school and Superman was presenting a bit more aggression than usual and was expressing some new found emotions.  I have a real love-hate relationship with Superman evolving.  You gotta take the good with the bad and as he claws through another layer of Autism (which I love), he has so much to process and put in some sort of order. It usually is not a pretty transition (which I hate).

Now let's move on to my career change.  LOVING IT!  Love, love, love it.  What the hell was all my fuss about?  No, let's not go there.

I am having a blast teaching advanced methods to seniors ready to student teach next semester.  I was nervous for the first few weeks as I was not teaching as I noted some of my peers were.  They are way in the world of academia and research and I am.... well, I am not.  At first I felt really self conscious (although I have total autonomy), I was nervous that I wasn't brainy enough.  I took a long hard look at most of my fellow professors and thought about what they offered and where they came from, how much public school teaching they had done before becoming tenure track professors.  

And I concluded that what I have to offer is of incredible value.  18 years of real experience in the trenches.  with real kids, in real situations, with real teachers, with real parents, with real frustrations.  That knowledge base is irreplaceable. And the whole point of making this career change is to make a difference in the way special education teachers in training are trained, to offer up some real strategies and stories that will empower new teachers as they enter this incredible profession. 

OK, PLUS, I want to make sure that my own kiddos have a better chance of always landing in good special ed programs.  I am that controlling, yes, I am.

Anyway, I am having a blast doing it my way.  And the feedback from my students has been incredible.  They express gratitude every single day.  They are relieved.  They are hungry to better understand, to fill their bags of tricks with good stuff that works, to be given permission to cut loose, follow their instincts.

They are even beginning to embrace my goal for them to become independent thinkers, to question research based methods, to expose themselves to the vast amounts of great information and resources, and to throw out what they don't want to use and embrace trying new things and making it work for each and every one of their students.

I am also so adoring being a student teacher supervisor.  It is a great form of voyeurism, no?  I get to sit in a variety of classrooms in a variety of school districts and just sit and watch, and then I get to process it all with my very talented student teachers.  One placement is dreadful with a capital D.  It has been a blast to work through it with my student teacher, to empower her, to help her in ways her cooperating teacher is not.   I love watching the kiddos in each placement, learning how different districts offer different solutions for all sorts of issues and challenges every district faces.  

I think what I want to do with this blog is to chat with you all about what I am seeing and how we are all finding solutions.  I also hope that you all will comment as we go along and that you will let me know what you think is most important for teachers in training to understand before they student teach.

It's good.  Really good.