Meeting Mrs. S. for the first time was a wonderful experience. She is a happy, excited teacher and I am looking forward to working with her for my student teaching. Already, I feel that the eight hours I have been in her classroom have been almost more valuable than my previous fieldwork placements. I’ll get into the specifics as I progress through this entry.
I arrived just a few minutes before the next students arrived. Mrs. S. and I were able to chat about our histories and likes. She briefly explained her system for students. Mrs. S. has differentiated work baskets for each student she sees. They are kept on the counter near the windows. As work is completed, students take it home, and Mrs. S. replaces it with new work. Most students come for more than one subject. If they have difficulties differentiating materials for reading or math, the student has two baskets.
Mrs. S. keeps a schedule that is unlike any other teacher I have worked with in the past. Her flexibility and communication with general education teachers equates to seeing different students for different subjects at the same time of day. This leads to slight confusion on my part, as I’m used to all students working on the same subject, but it works. I’ll adjust and get to know the students and what times their different subjects are at. Another piece of flexibility Mrs. S uses is to modify her schedule to match the classroom teachers needs. For example, the 3rd graders come from 1:35-2:10, exceeding their IEP specified 25 minutes for math, however, if they went back at 2:00, they would be disrupting to their classmates. Instead, they are expected to have free reading during this time.
The classroom is ginormous. I think it is the biggest classroom I have been in for a resource teacher (except maybe Mrs. H at another school). She generally uses one peanut table facing south and what I would consider her “front of classroom” with the whiteboard, SmartBoard and the majority of posters. Along the east wall are shelves and the counter where student baskets are kept, along with several different paper types and other materials. The west wall has books, books and more books! They are organized by grade level or in the “partner” bin if there are multiple copies. Near the front door, there is a peninsula with a sink and microwave. There is another peanut table that I haven’t seen used yet in the southeast corner of the classroom. My sketch isn’t quite to scale, but shows the general gist of the room.