Oh hey! You have somehow managed to stumble through cyberspace and ended up here. Welcome! You’re in for a treat today, as I regale you with tales from the inside of my classroom. My goal here is to demystify the Developmental Education classroom with a heaping pile of bad humour.
So, this is me. Nice to meet you. I am an elementary teacher from Ontario, and as of September 2016, I have been teaching a Developmental Education: Medically Fragile class. This was a new venture for me, as in previous years, I had found myself teaching pretty much everything from Kindergarten Music to Grade 8 Math. I had special education experience, of course, but it was never a full time gig. Primarily, I had spent my previous four years (slash only four years) teaching music, as this is what I had spend my university days training for (spoiler alert: this has been a huge asset). But now, here I am, teaching eight young adults with considerable intellectual and physical disabilities with a wonderful team of three Educational Assistants.
I have always been the person who “finds the funny” in even the worst situations. That is how I cope with life, I make jokes and observations that poke fun at the world around me. Naturally, I record these jokes and observations, like the good millenial that I am, on Facebook. I titled this series “A Day in the Life of a Dev Ed Teacher”, and somehow, it gained a lot of positive attention. Just yesterday, I was at an ETFO presentation, and a fair number of colleagues mentioned how much they liked the series. Even my mom’s friends have commented to her about this. But, I’ve never felt like the whole story behind each post has been told. Even when I feel like I’ve shared just about everything with everyone, there are still a mountain of misconceptions about life in a Dev Ed classroom.
Before I begin, I would like to acknowledge that I am writing from a place of immense privilege as an employed, educated, able-bodied, settler, caucasian, Canadian woman. My work in the classroom comes from my own direct experiences and revelations, which are influenced by my privileges. I recognize that I do not speak for all, nor do my experiences resonate with everyone, in or out of the teaching profession. I welcome constructive dialogue, and do not even begin to see myself as an expert. Simply put, this blog is a day-to-day recount of life in a congregated special education classroom, with the intent to demystify and normalize the experiences of myself and those I serve.
So, hold on tight, because here we go…