Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Self-contained & Resource Co-teaching...huh?
I'm linking up with "Teach Talk Inspire" and a "My Day in K" to share my teacher bucket list! Warning....this one might get deep! But if you've thought about co-teaching, you'll want to read about my wild and crazy proposal!
Am I crazy or what?! I already have grades 1st-5th and I want to extend my grades through 8th! Yikes! However, next year I am going to be teaching only 3rd-5th. And I have taught five grade levels for so long, it is going to be weird only having 3, so I thought this was a great opportunity for me to tackle this and proceed with this proposal.
You see, it has always bothered me sending my 5th graders off to middle school for a couple of reasons. Once my students go off to middle school they seem to backslide and even drop out. They're not happy, they don't make progress! One of the reasons this is happening is there has been nothing but long term subs in the middle school self-contained classroom (6-8) on and off for the last few years that I know of. Another reason is that I feel my kiddos are just too young mentally to go on to middle school. Some of my 5th graders have the mentality of a 1st grader, yet I'm sending them off to middle school??? It just doesn't seem right! Not to mention the fact that once we send them there, we are failing them! I run into parents all the time of my former students, and the parents have nothing good to say about the new placement. They often request that their child come back to my class. Just recently, one of my former student's mothers was so disgusted that she has pulled him out and is going to attempt to homeschool him. :( This child is Autistic! Hello! He is not going to benefit from homeschool. He needs to be in a social environment! It just breaks my heart to see this happening to my students that I've worked so hard with over a five year period!
So anyway, when I found out that I was losing two grade levels next year, I decided to make the proposal to my principal, to extend through 8th grade....and guess what? She loved the idea! And the great part of it is that she is the principal for both schools! My classroom is huge...it actually used to be two classrooms....so I have the space. The only thing we thought that may be an issue is "typical peers." If these 6th, 7th, and 8th graders are at a K-5 school, they wouldn't be with their typical peers. Well when I told her about the next part of my proposal, she had a solution.
Since this would be 6 grade levels, one more than I had before, I thought, "Hey, what about a co-teaching model?" The sub/teacher in the middle school classroom and I could co-teach. Hmmm. Well, she loved that idea too! And suggested that if there were two teachers in the room, one teacher could use the school van and take the 6th, 7th, and 8th graders to the middle school.....the schools are less than a mile apart.....to participate in electives and extracurricular activities.
Then she asked me if I wanted to pilot the co-teaching next year with our resource room teacher. Wha What? That's unheard of....self-contained and resource together? But hey, I'm game for anything! After speaking with him, he is totally on board with it and his caseload is projected at only 10 students next year....so I think we could manage it. Especially since his resource students come and go throughout the day. Plus another advantage of co-teaching with the RR teacher is that it would be like mainstreaming my students.
So I wrote up the formal proposal she requested and presented it to her a few days before summer break. She is going to present it to her boss for approval. In the meantime, it looks like I'm going to be piloting co-teaching next year with the RR teacher! Imagine that....Resource and self-contained students in the same class and two teachers! While I'm excited for this exciting new adventure, I also hope I'm not making a mistake....opening my classroom up to another teacher and giving ownership. We have a great rapport, so I'm not worried about that....but what if it gets approved formally and I clash with the sub/teacher from the middle school??? So I have lots of thoughts running through my head, but for now I'm super excited about this change!!! :)
And now that you've read all of this, if indeed you made it this far, you've probably forgotten about my last bucket list wish and that is to maybe oneday in the FAR future becoming a behavior mentor/consultant.
Thanks for reading about my exciting, yet crazy and wild bucket list wish! I'll keep you posted on how it turns out!