Last week I spent the last two days getting to know my LRP classroom at Balfour Collegiate. I must say it was quite an experience! I went in not knowing what to really to expect, and was really happy with my first two days! The morning of the first day, my co-op teacher took me on a tour of the school. My, was I ever surprised! The teachers here are all so interesting! It was apparent that they really care about their students, and have put a lot of time and effort into making this school accommodating for all students. One hallway took us to the EAL classrooms, that is”home” to over 150 students. We then moved into massive and well equiped Practical and Applied Arts areas. I struggled at art in high school, but going into that art studio really made me want to spend time in there! Throughout the day, I met the Aboriginal Advocate, the AP Chemistry teacher, a teacher from the Shirley Schneider Center, and the other LRT. It was so neat to see that this school literally has something for everyone.
Throughout the day, I met students as they came and went from the LRP classroom. Most, just gave me funny looks, but as the second day progressed, some of them actually came and sought out my help. The students in this classroom were so much fun to work with. I learned so much in just two days about how different students are, and that this classroom comes with a great deal of patience. For some of these students, this work is a struggle; for others, they are fully capable, their priorities outside of school are greater than school. As I began to learn background information on a few students, I began to realize I can slightly understand where they are coming from. For some students, they use school as their safe place, and use it as a distraction. For others, they don’t enjoy school because of their struggles.
Day three was quite a day. It didn’t take me long to realize there is never a dull moment in this classroom! There were students and teachers coming and going all day long. This boy was having troubles getting his story going, so his teacher sent him up to the LRP to get cracking. Him and I made a deal that I would scribe for him as he created the story. Within no time the story was complete and he had exceeded the minimum page requirement! Seeing how happy he was to have the first draft of his story complete made my day.
Later that day, I scribed in a math class for a young boy; I was caught off guard at how smart this boy was. The LRT explained to me that this boy regularly finds his way to her room as he tends to act out in class, and the teachers get fed up. She then explained that he has a written expression disorder and gets easily frustrated when he is given a task that he can’t conquer, so he chooses to act out. It was interesting to see how easily he can read, and and well he comprehends math; however, his writing is just not there. It made me question the adaptations that were being made for him; could he answer through an interview, or audio and/or video recording? I showed my teacher the app, SocialCam, and explained this may be a great tool for him, as he is quite a social person. I look forward to working with him over the next few weeks and seeing what other supports are in place for him and other students like him!