Monday, December 19, 2016
I returned to work from maternity leave this week. As many of you know....this can be challenging. Although I love my job and my students.... it is so difficult to leave my babies at home.
One of the scariest things about returning mid year to my classroom is the unknown. Half of my class is new to me this year...so I really don't know them yet. My students have been going about their days and working hard in my absence. I don't know what skills they have learned, if there are any new challenging behaviors, or what else may have impacted them in this time.
This is where my instructional staff come in. THEY ARE AMAZING and derserve so much credit. One of the instructional staff in my room (also a certified teacher) replaced me during my leave. She did an incredible job keeping things running and certainly helped with the transition on both ends.
The instructional staff in my room also are great. They are dedicated, hard working, and skillful.
My students are making progress and WORKING INDEPENDENTLY. Independence is one of the essential skills I am always working towards. I have previously spent a great deal of time training instructional staff in my room on the importance of independence and how to foster independence. I think these trainings have paid off...because I observed all of my students working on independent schedules within the first minutes of returning to work!
I am SO LUCKY...and I can't imagine coming back from a leave to a different situation.
So.... here are my TOP 3 REASONS WHY AMAZING INSTRUCTIONAL STAFF ARE A CRUCIAL PART OF ANY SPED CLASSROOM!
1. Preparation Assistance
There is a lot to prep for in special education. My students all have individualized curriculum and materials...which can take quite a bit of time to gather and prepare. The instructional staff in my room help locate, print, prepare, and organize materials everyday. This ensures we have the right things available when it is time to work with students. Proper organization helps eliminate unnecessary downtime....which is no ones friend.
2. They can keep things running smoothly in our absence.
This one was huge while I was on leave. There are times when we are sick, have a meeting, or otherwise need to step out of the classroom. It is so important that this time is not lost for our students. The instructional staff in my room know the routines, understand what is expected of them and the students, and can pick up where they need to in order to continue teaching our students.
3. Skillful, hard-working, caring instructional staff make OUR (sped teacher's) jobs possible.
The staff in my classroom make my life a million times easier. They make it possible for me to teach...and their role in our classroom is irreplaceable. Without effective instructional staff my students may not have the same opportunities to learn as they do now. I am thankful for my aides...as are my students and their families.
Have I said enough? Our instructional staff are an integral part of our classrooms...and can't be overlooked!
Why are you instructional staff amazing?
How do you use the staff in your class to best support your students!?