Friday, January 09, 2009

Lessons from Fifth Grade

Really, lessons about teaching. It's not the ideal way to be reminded of somebody's life work, but...
He moved to Saskatchewan and began teaching in the fall of 1976 in Saskatoon. He was a gifted teacher who inspired his students through music, history and the love of nature. He championed children with learning disabilities, founded Camp Tamarack in 1977 and initiated the formation of the Saskatchewan chapter of the Learning Disabilities Association.
Ken Marland's fifth grade classroom included a large contingent of learning disabled and emotionally disturbed kids, and the categories weren't mutually exclusive. When it came to helping troubled kids, Ken walked the walk.

Having spending almost a year in that classroom I can tell you that having a caring, dedicated teacher can make a difference, but you'll never be able to convince me that the baggage a child brings in from home doesn't affect their classroom performance, or that you can "have it all" - that the time a teacher spends maintaining classroom order, and providing structure and support for struggling students, doesn't take something away from everybody else. At the same time, you're going to have difficulty finding a teacher who either tried harder or could have done better under the same circumstances.


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  5. Thanks for clarifying those definitions. In common parlance, "mainstreaming" is used to describe what you call "inclusion". I have (mis)used the term in that sense, and probably would have continued to do so in the future, so I'll certainly benefit from knowing the more technically correct, specific term.

  6. Aaron, please forgive me for deleting my comments. If I made someone that batshit crazy over what I said, I don't want this to filter back to a supervisor or anything. I'm sorry for being paranoid!

    I'll reiterate for those who are wondering what the F is going on...

    mainstreaming is sending kids out for specials, electives, assemblies, lunch

    inclusion is sending kids out to academic classes

    Thanks for understanding my neuroticness, Aaron!! :)

  7. (The first comment above was removed at the request of its author.)