Meet Peggy Simpson over at
Special Education on TpT
Check out her TpT Store:http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Special-Education-Peggy-Simpson
What do you teach? And where?
I'm moving into Special Education for incarcerated youth - offenders who are in the 4th grade and up (special ed) but will not be leaving the system and when they turn 18-22, they will transfer to a regular prison. Many of the students have pre-primer level skills so I use K stuff with them. I work in California.
What is one of your favorite memories in the classroom?
One of my students, wouldn't ride the bus to school (little yellow special ed bus) and would only talk in "Pokemon"-not any other language. He/She would scratch, yell, hit, run away and sometimes pee on anyone who tried to get close. I researched "Pokemon," bought some things and started dropping a "trail" (not unlike the Reese's Pieces for E.T.) to my classroom. Within two months, this child was speaking English and their Primary Language and learning! Within a year, they were able to go back to a comprehensive campus. Many years later, I was at the Very Special Arts Festival when I heard, "Ms. Simpson!, Ms. Simpson! And, a young adult came running across the festival and hugged me - I didn't recognize them (they were all "grown-up") until they crouched down in the "familiar" Pokemon stance. We laughed, talked and the student is going on to college. This is "why" we teach!
What was your hardest experience while teaching? How did you overcome it.
Yikes! I teach Special Education (on a enclosed campus) - so, I have many experiences. I don't think it was ever any "one" experience. . .but every time I have to change to a different site, the first three month (with all new students) can be . . . .interesting??? So many teachers are afraid of the kids I teach - with good reason, my job is not for everyone. What often happens is that they (teachers, admin, parents) have either ignored the students - or, similar, just let them do "whatever" they want to do. This is understandable, since bringing about a positive change takes a tremendous amount of time, creativity and dare I say it???? LOVE. It may sound "trite" but everyone grows with "love" and "acceptance." Every student out there wants to please, sadly many have just forgotten how wonderful being appreciated and celebrated can be. Be the one who helps them remember their "greatness" and you will be amazed with the positive changes you can bring about.
What advice would you give a new teacher or someone switching grade levels?
Do your homework. Learn everything you can about that grade level. What inspires these students? Who do they idolize? What is the "hot" book/music/movie/cartoon/car right now? Make it FUN!!! Our students come to us today with a high entertainment expectation. How will you compete? You want to be remembered for being the teacher that "changed" someone's life - NOT the teacher who put everyone to sleep.
Know that you are not likely to be interested in the things your students love - case in point, I really NEVER cared about Pokemon (or Yu-Gi-Ow) but I made myself familiar with these cartoons to create a bridge - and it was so worth it!.
Peggy would like to offer all followers a