Today in the Inspirational Teacher Series we profile Erica Donaldson. Erica has been teaching for 15 years and uses a hands on approach to Teaching. I hope you enjoy her profile.
1. What is your name?
2. What is your education level and credentials?
Bach of Teaching (Infants/Primary, inc Special Education), Bach Education (Qualifying to Year 10 mainstream SEP to Year 12)
3. What would you like a one-sentence description of yourself to say?
I believe that all children have the right to an education that is tailored to allow them to display THEIR individual best.
4. Do you have a website?
5. How long have you been a Teacher?
6. What type of classroom do you teach (i.e. General Education, Special Day Class, etc)?
Learning Support (ESL and general difficulties), General Education – prior to this year specifically Students With Disabilities
7. What Research based instruction methods do you use in your classroom for your students with a disability?
I use a variety of methods in teaching, however tend to focus task development around Blooms and the Proximal Zone of Development theory
8. What other educational methods have you used that have been successful for your students with a disability?
I prefer to use a child lead strategy in my classrooms where possible. However try to make my classrooms as hands on and practically based as possible, allowing student to gain relevant life skills as well as traditional bases to their education.
9. How do you create inclusion opportunities for your students with a disability?
Presently I work a full inclusive methodology, however, in previously have supported children directly in the classroom, rather than practising a withdrawal method. I find withdrawing students from a class tends to make them more ‘different’ than they already are – although I prefer the terminology of Exceptional Students.
10. What behavior strategies and methods have worked for you in the classroom for students with a disability?
Understanding, time out within the room, Chill Zones, Emotion Corners, strategies which include stress/texture toys.
11. How do you involve parents in educating their children in and out of the classroom?
I simply talk to them. I include them on decision making about their child’s learning program, discuss the need or lack thereof, for homework, etc. Parents have a greater intimate knowledge of their child than I will as a teacher of the child.
12. How do you communicate with the parents?
Email, telephone, face to face, I actively avoid communication books are many children appear to find this method confronting and thinking that it is a full reporting system on the negatives of the day.
13. How do you collect data to determine if a child has met their IEP Goals?
I often find ‘tick and flick’ sheets to be a quick way, with conferencing at set periods throughout the school year to establish that the goals are actively being achieved.
14. What is a typical day like in your classroom?
What is a typical day? Teaching students with disabilities require flexible teaching as well as structure. However those teachable moments need to be catered to.
15. What is the most inspirational thing you have ever seen in the classroom?
A child happily interacting with other children, having success where others have not seen it happen.
16. What advice would you give other Teachers about teaching students with a disability?
Have patience, it will happen, maybe not immediately, but having patience will help it.