It’s been about a month since I have begun my student teaching placement. Every day that I am at my placement I learn something new. I felt confident going into my student teaching experience that I knew about developmental learning processes, that I knew who is most important to the child’s learning environment, where a child’s learning environment was, and how children learn.
I was turned on my head by the real world of working with children. Early intervention has grown in recent times to move away from a medical type model of providing children with services. In the past, children would come to a sterile, clinical-type setting to receive special instruction, speech, occupational, and physical therapies. We now work with in an evidence-based model where teachers and therapists come to the child’s home to work on typical everyday activities in the child’s natural environment. This in turn becomes more meaningful, and the intervention is not happening ‘once a week’ per se, but on an everyday meaningful basis with mom and dad providing the instruction and therapies during meal time, bath time, and play time.
Learning and understanding this idea to me seemed pretty far removed from my past experiences with how a classroom can sometimes run. In some cases, children with special needs receive their special education and even instruction in an unnatural learning environment from typical peers. In the many experiences in classrooms I have seen, families are left at the way side and don’t have much to say about the goals set for their children. I now find myself questioning what best practices look like for providing services to children with special needs in a classroom.
Taking a little from my Early Intervention experiences into my next placement, it will be interesting to see how my new ideas hold true to a classroom setting. Although I don’t know all the answers about teaching as previously thought, I know the type of teacher I want to become when I have my own classroom. I am thankful that I will have such a plethora of experiences, ideas, models, and strategies to pull from when creating my own views on the educational field. Teaching is a growing experience, if we can’t learn and grow with it how can we provide our best practices?