I have now been with my students for 6 months and I can finally say that I like my students. Don’t get me wrong, I liked them before too, but we FINALLY bonded. If you work in Special Education, or just with children.. you have to go through some stuff to really get to know each other. You need to have some good days, some bad days, some great days, and some terrible days to really get to know a person. After 6 months with my new class, I have officially gone through these days with EVERY student. Now don’t look at this like it’s a bad thing. This is a GREAT thing!! Those bad days bring you closer to your students and those great days help you form bonds that are unbreakable.
Let me back up a little.
My first three years at my current site have been with about the same group. I teach a first to third grade special day classroom (SDC) and I get to watch students for 2-3 years grow, make friends, and learn. Special Education is a special group of children (and adults eventually... I’m in denial) that take time to form a relationship. In a general education classroom you have kids talking and playing games the first day when in an SDC you are introducing this foreign classroom with a new schedule and peers and adults and it takes a week or two to introduce yourself. It takes weeks/months to teach my students not to go into my desk to look for food, not to rip my books, and how to communicate when you need a break.
I ended my last school year with all 3rd graders who I was with for 2-3 years. They knew the rules, their friends, their community, they were use to mainstreaming and could do it independently. I started this school year with six new students to my classroom and all first graders. They were now staying in school an extra hour a day, they started mainstreaming, and they had to walk up a huge hill to get to the big kid playground. There were a lot of changes and this transition reminded me that you should never feel too comfortable in your teaching career because settings change and the kids change. Constantly.
Bottom line: I am just so happy that I finally feel that bond with each one of my students. And I hope everyone keeps working to form that relationship with their students.
P.S. Need some tips on how to form relationships?
1. Follow what the student is doing. If they are laying under a desk, go join them. Show them you want to be their friend.
2. Find a way for them to successfully communicate basic needs to you. Using Pecs, prompting, or objects.
3. Be genuine. Sounds basic but man do kids know when you are putting on an act.