Yesterday, a fellow teacher friend was telling me about the classroom she set up last year. She taught Special Education in the Bronx, and she was given the “Special Ed” room for her self-contained class. The room was beat up. It had holes in the walls and dead cockroaches on the ground. It was cramped and all she had to write on was a little white board.
Every day, though, when the kids entered they were greeted by the cadence of softly playing classical music and brightly colored wall posters (she used these to cover the holes). From this point, they would commence reading independently before diving into a mini-lesson and a lesson summary.
Today, I found myself having a discussion with a veteran teacher about her class. She had just taken over after another teacher had left the school. It’s a self-contained US History class most of which is made up of students with learning disabilities. When I asked her how it was going, she responded, “It’s a slow process with that group. Today, I had a break through. A student asked a question. I think she wants to be mad at me, but she’s starting not to be.”