With only a few weeks remaining of COETAIL, I thought this may be a good opportunity to reflect on how my practice has changed over the past year. It’s strange to think of my time with COETAIL coming to an end as it’s been a rewarding experience and yet the end is just a few weeks away.
This year brought a change and a new role. My training and, to be honest, the whole reason I became an Educator was in this field. One of the biggest shifts for working in this position has been the importance of fostering relationships with students, families, and classroom teachers. I’m lucky to have been working with a number of colleagues for a few years now, however, previously I was a classroom teacher and now I am working with lower school students K – 5. When working as a homeroom teacher, I sometimes felt that there was a disconnect between what was happening to support student progress towards ILP goals and what I was working on in the classroom.
In order to try and build deeper relationships with colleagues, I have tried to inform them of the progress our students are making during pullout classes. Updates contain a short summary of learning, sometimes accompanied by photos of student work. My hope is to ensure that classroom teachers know exactly what we are working on and ensure that reported progress is being carried over into the general education setting.
I am currently using WeChat to share these reports and progress updates with other teachers. My aim is to make them as convenient as possible without taking away from the classroom teacher’s day. This has been new to me since February and I am still trying to roll it out to all students I work with. In all honesty, it is far easier for me to report on students in one-to-one classes, as I am finding it easier to make time for these to be individualized rather than referring to the group.
We use Managebac at my school for storing reports, unit planners, and notices regarding students. A huge advantage to this is that I am able to look at students’ Units of Inquiry, Literacy, and Maths units so that I can effectively plan support. This has also empowered me to come to meetings with other teachers prepared with ideas of how to support students. Having been a classroom teacher, I know the feeling of wanting to help a student succeed, but running out of ideas of how to do that. I am guilty of being a solutions-oriented person, so I like to come to meetings prepared with ideas of what can be done.
My overarching hope is that all of this will help build closer relationships between myself and homeroom teachers and help us move past the false paradigm of “my kids and your kids” that can follow when a student receives extra support. One of my personal goals for this year was to try and keep teachers in the loop as much as I could and I hope that this will help us work as a team to support learning.