In my new career ventures I have the opportunity of owning and operating my own business, but I still get the pleasure of working with students in their school environments. It's a perfect combination for me. Seriously, sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I'm not dreaming. Fortunately, because I was offered positions at a number of locations, I was able to hand pick the environment that I wanted to work in. The school that I work in has a completely different teaching philosophy and environment than the traditional schools that I have worked in.
What is my new school like and why did I choose it?
What really drew me in was this school's focus on the individual child. The philosophy lets students learn at their own pace. They teach in small groups instead of whole class lectures. They give their students a number of responsibilities that they must get done in a day, but allow them flexibility to choose when and in what order they are going to get them done, within the structure of the school day.
At our school the student's are required to get a number of "works" done in "work cycle". The "works" are set up in categories like "language" and "math" and "science". The student knows which level they most recently passed off and move on to the next work in progression. They are allowed flexibility and independence in how they approach getting work done. They keep track of their work with "work charts". If you walk into a classroom you expect to see kids spread all around the room working on different projects. There are desks but the students aren't required to sit at them, and they are free to move them around the room. Students often work on projects on the floor so they can spread out pieces of their "works" as needed. From what I have observed, the students can work independently or in groups. There are 2 teachers per classroom who monitor the works and give support to the children when needed. When teachers present lessons, it is in small groups of 6-10 children who are around the same level. There is always a constant hum of activity. The students are free to talk quietly but can't be too loud or crazy because it would disturb the other students who are working on their different projects. There's never a teacher standing at the front attempting to teach 30 kids at 30 different levels a one-size fits all lecture. It's a whole new fascinating world that I'm still trying to wrap my head around. It's dramatically different than any public school I've ever worked in
but it is brilliant when executed correctly. The students have so much
opportunity to become independent thinkers and problem solvers. It's that thinking
outside of the box ideology that made me excited to work here.
Bringing Speech Therapy to the Classroom:
Another key reason I was excited to work at my school is the opportunity to easily work my therapy sessions into the classroom environment without disrupting the classroom dynamic. I have my schedule set up to do 2 sessions per week with my students. I do group sessions with 2 or 3 students on Tuesdays. And then I get to do individual sessions in the classroom with the students on Wednesdays. It's amazing! It gives me the ability to work with the students in multiple contexts.
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