Friday, September 17, 2010


Mr. Self-Importance was somewhat put in his rightful place today; not just by me, but by an unspoken and subtle collaboration of the whole class.  High school students have incredible social aptitude, and I'm quite proud to see them apply it toward a positive end.

I've been forcing myself to give more consideration lately to Individualized Education Programs (IEP's), which is code for "Special Education requirements" or even "the huge bundle of paperwork that defines the disabilities, strengths, weaknesses, performance, goals, adaptations, and modifications designed for a single student that must, legally, be adhered to by every teacher."  I think there are a dozen students with IEP's in our 3 GM classes.  I spoke to a learning support teacher about one student yesterday, and appreciated that insight.  Today, I was giving it consideration while quizzing students on guitar.  Without going into incomprehensible babbling about my precise thoughts, this has led me to deep thoughts about standard expectations...

This school is determined to have a 100% graduation rate.  That sounds admirable, but how much should one lower their standards in order to pass a student?  What about if that student has an IEP?  What if a student doesn't have an IEP?  What if you're so overwhelmed with IEP's that it's easier to modify standard expectations for the whole class?  There are some very "interesting" signs of pressure that force a critically-thinking teacher to define their expectations, deliberately adapt them to IEP's, and defend them when they have to.

Grinnin' In Your Face - Son House


  1. A) I like that you include music in almost all of your posts.
    B) could you explain your last sentence a bit?
    C) I'm liking the blog. You're better at concise posts than I am.

  2. A) Thanks! I've had a couple people tell me that they really enjoy something that i posted here. That makes me happy.

    B) I'm trying to be very careful with my wording, because i want this blog to be readable by anyone at the school if they ever ask for its address. I'm so inexperienced that it would be not just unwise but likely unfair for me to point fingers, place blame, or make conclusions too quickly. That last sentence meant that i've felt some pressure to give students good grades just so that they'll pass a course or test, and i've realized that the only way to protect myself from either getting in trouble or sacrificing my educational philosophy is to make clear, for myself and others, what i expect students to be able to do, adapt those expectations as needed for IEP's, and defend them. Ultimately, there isn't much that i can do right now except follow the lead of Mrs. D. Does that make more sense?

    C) Also thanks. I'm liking your blog, too. Being concise is tricky. I think i'm doing better than i was when i started.