In years’ past, I spent 80% or more of my day at school in my classroom, teaching “pullout” classes. This was my ideal setup because it allowed me to really get creative in teaching all the different subjects to my students – doing all kinds of service projects and technology-integrated projects.
This year is quite different; I have only two classes that I provide direct instruction for – math and social skills. The rest of my day is filled with either:
- prepping for the two classes listed above
- more so, supporting students in the regular education setting
While this is more limiting of my personal endeavors as the head of the class (and designer of the lessons), it has opened my eyes to other facets of education
- seeing master teachers at work
- learning content that I haven’t seen before
- working with students who are not in special ed programming
- making connections with music programs
- connecting with classroom teachers for behavioral supports and academic modifications and accommodations
Today, I felt a little positive feedback for my “increased visibility.” I was walking through the halls and a student asked, “Mr. Malcore, are you planning on working with solo/ensemble kids again this year?”
This probably seems like a really simple, superfluous question to most. I mean, so the kid is wondering if I am going to be accompanying kids for their band solos. What’s so great about that?
To reiterate, I’ve been sequestered to my own classroom for four years up until this year. When I walked the halls, students would ask if I needed to be escorted to the office (okay, an exaggeration). Seriously, though, anytime I walked the halls, students looked at me like a stranger.
This had a number of negative consequences on my day (you can imagine how it feels to walk as a stranger in your workplace for four years).
So, just having someone outside of my program say something to me (not to mention something as reinforcing as asking if I would accompany her solo) adds a boost to my day.
Of course, working with students in an inclusive setting also has benefits for them 🙂