Saturday, January 26, 2008

My Revelation, My Dilemma

This week I had a revelation. In order for me to be a successful teacher (and to feel good about my work), I have to be more involved in the design of the courses that I am co-teaching.

Easier said than done.

What it means, is that I must be a much more active participant in the construction of lesson plans and in the delivery of instruction. It is not enough to simply assist the teacher, or to work individually with the special ed students to make lessons more accessible. I must assert myself as a ‘strategy specialist’ (whatever that means) for the course, not just a disciplinarian in the class.

The problem is time. Planning time. How is it at all possible to successfully plan three different course with three different teachers with limited co-planning time? I am trying to reach for the ideal, but the reality is hitting me in the face. I’m also dealing with working with teachers who are insensitive to the needs of Special Ed students. It’s not like they (the gen ed teachers) chose this field- so on many levels, I cannot blame them. However, I cannot bear witness, or co-sign on inappropriate teaching to students with special needs.

So it appears like I need to somehow slip in some sensitivity training into my fellow colleagues.

So yea, this is my revelation, but also my dilemma.


Jose said...

Good luck undertaking that.

subtext said...

I would approach one of the teachers you work with who you think would be the most willing. Try to co- plan with that teacher first, see how it goes then try another one. It is the "Journey of a thousand miles, begins with one step" method of change. And change in teaching is very slow; but movement is possible. good luck.

Anonymous said...

I have just been accepted as a NYC Teaching Fellow. I have not yet enrolled, and am continuing my research into the program.

Any way I could make contact with you?

NYC Teaching Fellow said...

congrats. you can contact me at

Anonymous said...


I stumbled across your blog. I've been in your position so I can totally relate to the challenges that come with collaborative team teaching- especially if you're the special educator and have multiple co-teachers. I was a Cohort 10 Fellow and my first year was spent as a Special Ed CTT at the middle school level. The children had four general education teachers and I traveled with them as they changed classes. Not only was there not common planning time, it was very clear who THE teacher was in the most of the rooms (I was treated like a disciplinarian or aide and students pick up on this). If you are trying to effectively teach students with special needs, it's difficult when there is no motivation or interest in making the learning accessible for ALL students. I found that a lot. The CTT model is a fairly new one and full of problems that need to be fixed. Unfortunately, it is the children who will suffer in the long run....

P.S. I am still teaching- now in a 12:1 environment.

NYC Teaching Fellow said...

Jose- Just to follow up- it has been going much better. I had to be really honest with the teachers that I am working with, as well as honest with myself and had to create a vehicle for my progress as a teacher.

subtext- thanks for your suggestion.. i started working more closely with one teacher..

oneflyleolady- our experiences sound very similar. yea, CTT is new, and im not really feeling it thus far. its interesting that you are now working in a self-contained classroom. i am thinking about that switch for my second year also..