Classroom Management and Understanding of Students Meet Ms. Lujano. Her classroom is located next door to another important character in this story, Mr. Santiago. Recently, Ms. Lujano came to me, the special education teacher and consultant, sharing about her uneasiness due to how Mr. Santiago treats one of his students. This student, Joey, has been diagnosed with an emotional disability. I have seen his struggles dealing with tardiness, his temper, and understanding boundaries. Ms. Lujano brought it to my attention that Mr. Santiago struggles with communicating with Joey.
Instead of calmly discussing issues with Joey, Mr. Santiago raises his voice and shouts at Joey. This leads to Joey acting out more and often concluding with Joey getting thrown out of the class. Based off of Ms. Lujano’s information, this is not a healthy learning environment for anyone. Though Mr. Santiago has not expressed any concern, it is still my duty to check in and address what is happening in the classroom. By breaking up this situation into five different steps, I hope to find a common ground and solution for all parties in this predicament.
Action Point 1: Heart of the Problem After receiving the information that there may be a problem in one of the classrooms, I need to make sure that what I am hearing is true. In order to see this, I must go straight to the source. By observing in Mr. Santiago’s classroom, I can verify the issue and begin to create a plan to resolve it. Day one observation will first be spent focusing on the classroom management, behavior and engagement. Once, I am finished that day, I will pull aside Joey and confront the issue at hand.
I would ask him about how he is doing in the class and how he is getting along with Mr. Santiago. During this time, I would mention the reason for this observation would be to bring to attention and improve communication between the two. Mr. Santiago would have his one on one once all of the students are out of the classroom. I would confront him on the issue brought to my attention and ask how he feels this situation is being handled. Both parties need to understand the importance of this observation and personal conversations are the perfect way to bring them to light. When you teach with your eyes, ears, and mind open to what is happening around you, observation makes you a much better teacher,” Judy Jablon wrote in her article, Taking It All In: Observation in the Classroom. As the Special education consultant, I will be walking into the classroom and observing the teacher, the students, and the overall feeling in the classroom. As teachers, observation is also a successful addition to the classroom. Observation builds relationships, defines how to teach each child, and develops data for students’ progress.
As an observer, I will be modeling for Mr. Santiago how he should be observing in this classroom to build an open environment (Jablon, 2011). Action Point 2: Heart to Heart At this point, I have seen for myself the destructive learning in Mr. Santiago’s classroom, so it is time to start “researching” the opposes so we can come to a full conclusion to their inability to positively communicate. This action point may take three days, or it might take two weeks. The goal is to find each parties concern and address it in a way that achieves both party’s points. The meetings will be between Joey and me, and Mr. Santiago and me.
I will ask questions like, ‘What seems to be the cause to your outbursts in the classroom? ” Hopefully, by the end of this step, I will have an idea of what is the matter with each person, and steps to take to resolve these problems. Action Point 3: Hear Me Out By now we have observed the problem and researched what exactly the problem is. Now, there can be a large meeting held between Mr. Santiago, Joey, Joey’s Parents, and administration. Why are there so many people involved? Well, we obviously know why Mr. Santiago and Joey are there but why the rest? The parents are invited to this meeting to encourage communication back home.
In this situation, the guardian should be notified as we will be discussing certain special education situations. They need to help with the training at home as well as realize what type of training their son may be receiving. The administration would be involved for a back-up and second form of accountability. They need to be updated on the situation as well as continue to assist in professional development. Action Point 4: Professional Development This is the main point of action. Professional development would be the training and set of mind both Mr. Santiago and Joey need to understand.
Joey will be challenged in his ability to pay attention and behave in class. He will meet once a week with his counselor discussing different ways he can follow through with his goals. Mr. Santiago will be asked to attend a mandatory training session with other teachers regarding teaching students with special education needs in a general education classroom. This time period is focused on drilling into each person’s mind the importance of compromise in this answering to their problem. Education week is a website that provides Webinars for teachers to watch and study as a professional development option.
The website describes their purpose of these sessions, “These virtual broadcasts address the achievement gap for students with disabilities and strategies to help them succeed in the classroom. ” Looking through the list of seminars, I found Joining Forces: Tapping Teacher Specialists to Serve All Students. This webinar focuses on “cross-pollinating” the teachers focused on certain students such as ELL’s or special education. At the bottom of each description is a link to watch each option. Along with that are the PowerPoint slides so the staff can follow along with the webinar.
The best part about this website is the fact that it is all free (Special Education Webinars, 2017). Action Point 5: Accountability This last step is focused on keeping both parties accountable in their development. As the consultant I will be checking in weekly in both party’s actions. Along with these check-ups, administration and parents will be receiving data on how the process is working. This can be done one on one with Mr. Santiago or Joey. Also, observing in the classroom yet again will show if the issue is being resolved. Are both ends following through with what they said they would change?
If the answer is yes, then we can be encouraged that the problem is being resolved. If each party is still struggling with their end of the deal along with opening the communication, then there needs to be a new plan of action to readdress the issue. “The majority of educators agree with the fact that holding teachers accountable is imperative for student learning to take place,” Kelli Ballard and Alan Bates stated in their article Making a Connection Between Student Achievement, Teacher Accountability, and Quality Classroom Instruction.
As I continue to hold Mr. Santiago accountable, there will be different check points I look to. However, accountability needs to be held on a school wide basis. There should be different forms of data taken to ensure all students are receiving the instruction they need to succeed. There is not one single measure that can be used as a criterion for a teacher’s performance but through state scores, student’s grades, and classroom involvement. Each of these work together to decipher how the teacher is reaching their students (Ballard & Bates, 2008).
Conclusion First, I saw for myself the heart of the problem as I observed in Mr. Santiago’s class. Then, I communicated with Mr. Santiago and Joey the issue that was brought to my attention and learned both of their points of view on the situation. The third step gave both parties a chance to hear the other out. This meeting was appropriate yet challenging as we all came to a resolution together. After discussing it, the professional development action point is the time period allotted to training them to make this happen. Finally, I will continue to check in making sure that indeed both parties are satisfied and moving forward in their education.