A special last week and new things to come

My last week at my current school is approaching! It came so fast, I didn’t realize I only had four days left with my class until today.

It’s sad to have to move on again. This is the first time I actually HAVE to move on, because my position was temporary, and unfortunately we were too well-staffed to extend my contract. However, I will stay VERY CLOSE to my current school and just move to the neighboring High School. 
My first time teaching HS (apart from HS teaching at my current special needs school)!!! I’m on reduced hours, to allow me more time for uni and myself, so I won’t be taking over class teacher responsibilities but stick to teaching Math and English.

I’m sad, but I’m also embracing the opportunity!

The experience at the special needs school has changed me, definitely. And I’m looking forward to apply my learning at my new school. And to reflect a bit more on my learning over the summer. So watch this space! 

Special Needs – differentiation

As you might now, I’m currently at a special needs school. Our students have learning disabilities and our school does not need to follow the state curriculum. That gives us a lot of space and time to …. support our students individually. As we should. Not just in special needs schools.

However, it is still not a walk in the park… especially not with 16 students in your class. For the first half of the school year, I was responsible for Math in my class, a grade 5/6. Then we decided to change our approach, and to combine classes 5, 6 and 7 for Math and Language. We divided them up into 6 similar-ability groups.

Advantages

  • The students feel much more comfortable in these smaller groups and with students of similar abilities
  • Teachers can focus much more on the students’ needs
  • Learning has increased and sped up
  • Planning has become more focused and as a result…
  • Teaching has become more inquiry-based!

Disadvantages

  • It is hard to work inter- or transdisciplinary, because students go back into their classes after their Math and Language lessons
  • The lessons are often too short
  • It’s hard to be flexible and extend the learning time, because students switch courses (from Math to Language) after 50 min and then go back into their class

All in all though, this is amazing. I am able to do much more with my group of students, and the results are fantastic.