New Appreciation

02.15.2012Today was my first day at my internship! I have been placed at Kiser elementary and was told that I would serve as a “Teacher Assistant” for the day, which I was happy about and figured it’d be beneficial towards my major. So, today, I was placed in a special needs classroom. This is actually the first time I have worked with children with special needs, as in Early Childhood we do not really have these placements, unless you are going for the endorsement in Pre-K special needs. Needless to say, it was a different experience! The classroom was self-contained so there were not that many students, somewhere around seven to ten. Each student was working on something different. There were some students on computers, some working on puzzles, and some completing individual work. The teacher allowed them to work at their own pace, which I thought was nice of her. I tried to do flashcards with the one girl who has Down Syndrome. Even though she is eight years old, she has the mental abilities of a two year old. Because of this, she was a little difficult to work with, just like a two year old going through the “terrible two” stage. She would often hit, throw things, and just be overly aggressive. It was a task trying to get her to complete her work. In addition, she would often take other classmates’ work and rip it into pieces or not give it back. This was also a pain. However, I did learn of a lot of progress she has made throughout her time at Kiser. First of all, one of the teacher aids works with her every day on her vocabulary words. I was told that whenever the student first came to Kiser, she was at about an infant level where she would only look around and did not make any vocalizations. Now, they are working with her to enhance her vocabulary so that if anything happens she can verbalize that something is wrong or that she needs something. While I was there, she stated four of the words on the flashcards, which is a huge achievement for her. I enjoyed my time in this classroom especially since the teachers’ were so supportive of all of their students and would hug them or yell in excitement whenever they would grasp a certain concept, which I think is important with any child. However, I would have to say that I do not think that I could do their job all day, every day. I was only there for a few hours and I had been pushed, hit, and I was exhausted. I definitely have more of an appreciation for them and they do not receive as much attention and thanks as they should.