Tag Archives: FASD

Couldn’t Be More Proud

13 Apr

During my pre-internship I had an absolutely amazing experience.  Yes, there were plenty of them, but there is one that stands out the most for me.  I had a girl in my class with FASD.  I didn’t know this until the second last day of my internship, when her mom emailed my co-op.  I noticed, though, that she needed a different style of teaching the first day.

She sat in the corner, and didn’t partake in the lesson at all.  I tried, slowly, talking to her.  She did not trust me.  Each day I pushed a little more.  This was all before I actually started teaching (so really it was only the first two days).  My first day of teaching I made sure that I went over to her and explained the tasks one on one, without standing out and doing it.  I was handing everything out and I casually talked them through with her quick.  Her response to me changed quite quickly.  I made sure every day to go and talk to her, and ask her about her homework.  When I started making separate lessons for my student with Aspbergers I started giving them to her too, and working through problems out loud with her.

She trusted me.  I knew this when she came to me before class start to tell me how the homework went without me asking, and when she had lost her binder, the day she found it she came and told me right away.  She talked to me a lot more.  When I helped her with the work, she accepted my help.

When I gave out my first quiz I was a little worried, but she went to the tutorial teacher and did it with her so I assumed she was in good hands.  I marked it… 82%. Pretty good for a student who hasn’t been doing very well in the class.  I have to say, the tutorial teacher definitely made an impact, and I really wish I could have gone down and talked with that teacher.

The test day came.  My co-op had changed up the test for my two students who needed an adapted test, and she was getting to work in tutorial.  She did it over two classes rather than one.  The first day I got it back there was a huge FAIL written across the top of the page.  I was sad that she was so disheartened by the test.  After her tutorial class at the end of the day I got the test back and marked it.  87%.  I was amazed.  She almost did the entire test perfectly.  I was so proud! She understood all of the concepts.

The best part was giving it back.  I asked her how she thought she did… “not good” was the response.  All i said was “I don’t know where you get this fail from…” and put the test down.  I have never seen a students face light up so much.  She was so amazed, and I realized that she probably doesn’t see a lot of success in school, especially in math.

I only got to work with her three weeks, but maybe there will be more motivation for her to keep working hard, because it really did pay off, and lucky for me I got to show her that.

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Breaking Out Of The Box

10 Feb

A couple weeks ago my entire math education group was fortunate to go on our OCRE.  Don’t ask me what the acronym is, because I honestly have no clue.  What we got to do was plan a “bonding time” where we were able to bring in guest speakers of our choice to speak with us.  We had someone come in and talk about brain based learning, a speaker about grief, an incredible skype session about assessment, a talk about sexuality, and finally a talk about FASD.  Every single presentation was incredible and I learned so much in those two days it was amazing.  It was also an opportunity to get closer with the students who are also in math, we are just one big happy family.

There were certain points in those two days that I felt like I had really had a huge “A-Ha” moments.  During our talk about grief, given to us by The Greystone Bereavement Centre I realized that although I have felt grief in my life, it isn’t something I really actually understand.  Our class opened up entirely and it made me realize that I am going to have to support children who have gone through some very difficult things.  I also really enjoyed knowing what the Centre had to offer and some of the beautiful activities that I would incorporate into my own lessons, especially in the arts.  In our session about sexuality, given to use by the UR Pride Centre I realized that a big thing I will need to focus on is something as simple as my language.  Language can be taken in so many ways, and for someone in a class who could be confused or feel different, they aren’t going to care about that schooling necessarily and I will need to help them feel safe.  It reminded me of all the research I have done on oppression and of how I want to be able to create the safest environment for all students as possible.

Our talk about FASD was also incredible because it gave so much insight to something I didn’t know before.  Sometimes things like extrinsic motivation are crucial and sometimes they are not.  Our presenter gave us lots of examples and scenarios of things that she has encountered and really gave us a captivating talk.  I am happy to know that there are people like her that work for the school system who are ready at your disposal to help you when you have children in your class that need that help.

The last thing I want to talk about is really a turning point in how I feel about education.  It made me think.  Maybe more than any other time in my education thus far.  We had a skype session with Joe Bower about assessment.  I was lucky to be familiar with his blog, For The Love Of Learning, so I already knew what he had to talk about.  Joe Bower is a teacher who assesses his students, but does not grade them.  What a crazy concept in a society we have today.  I have thought numerous times before this that grading is something that is done wrong, I don’t know if I ever thought it was something you could actually do without though.  But really, what is a grade anyways?  Bower talked to us about how he doesn’t grade, why, and how we could go about doing this too.  A big focus is that we need to get students intrinsicly motivated to learn, and everything else comes from that.  It was an amazing talk, and I could probably go on for days about this so I will just end with something he said during our talk that really stuck with me.

There’s a word that starts with L that we don’t use enough in school, it’s called Learning.