My goal as a teacher is to help students learn how to learn so that they will no longer need my help. I establish a calm, harmonious learning environment and employ an all-positive approach. By encouraging students to stretch beyond K-12 curriculum goals, I nudge them toward college-level standards.
I intuitively retool and simplify concepts to suit different learning styles and skill levels. As an experienced special education classroom leader, I help learners understand increasingly compl...
I'm currently in grad school working toward certification in special education, but it's been mainly through tutoring that I've gained experience with children with attention difficulties.
In fact, I'm reluctant to call them attention difficulties, because they can be so useful -- people who know when an idea has run its course, or who can respond to small environmental changes can be extremely valuable to society. However, they can be challenging to a linear learning process.
As a tutor, I seek to find ways to make learning fun for children who are stressed by the "sit still and listen method" they regularly encounter in school. Sometimes a young child can focus better if a puppet gives the directions, or if she can dance while reciting new rules (of grammar or spelling, for example).
Usually, older children have been "identified" with ADD or ADHD and may be taking medications to control symptoms, but even so, they deserve to be engaged in learning. Learning happens when material becomes compelling enough to hold attention.
I aim to increase students' reading time. I break down writing assignments into small, manageable tasks that add up to a complete project. I am patient and build in constructive breaks as needed.
I have taught students with Asperger's for the past decade, at all academic levels. Students with Aspergerâ€™s often demonstrate a few specific, intense interests, so I plan instruction that helps them connect new knowledge to their specific, existing interests. My students learn to make these connections by themselves, and become more flexible thinkers. As mental flexibility increases, so does sensory integration; as sensory integration improves, symptoms of Aspergerâ€™s begin to disappear, and a "new," more engaged student emerges.
I help my students with autism to direct and convey their thinking with increasing verbal fluency. This is mainly a matter of â€œtranslation,â€ as students with autism often can â€œseeâ€ what they wish to communicate before they can say it; I work to help students connect what they envision to words. As they become more flexible â€œtranslators,â€ not only do they enjoy cognitive growth, but they also display fewer symptoms of autism, and can better integrate sensory experiences. Gaining rapport with highly visual thinkers is one of the most stimulating and rewarding experiences I have enjoyed as a teacher.