Thinking outside the box with Special Education

Ms. April English, dressed in beekeeper
attire, visited Ashcroft Apiary along with
her virtual class on Sept. 16.

Photo Submitted

Ms. April English, dressed in beekeeper attire, visited Ashcroft Apiary along with her virtual class on Sept. 16.

For those who do not know, a special education teacher is a person who instructs students with learning disabilities and gives them one on one learning attention needed in order for them to thrive. Freedom has 4 special education teachers, Ms. April English, Mrs. Jessika Fontaine, Ms. Heather Macon and Mrs. Christina Waters. Each teacher is responsible for supporting, helping as well as adding those  students who have special needs. In the times of COVID-19 and virtual learning, English has been teaching her class in a whole new, and out of this world way. Many people want to know how online schooling is for a special ed teacher, so English has insight that she plans to share. 

When asked this question, she had answered with, “Online schooling as a special ed teacher is challenging. I teach life skills, which includes teaching social skills. That is especially difficult virtually.” English said a  problem with the online schooling is the students mute themselves. 

She had sent off some materials home at the beginning of the school year to keep her students engaged in class. She said, “We are able to still incorporate hands-on activities together. We break into groups and read. I continue with our community based instruction by going out into the community and the students join me through a Google Meet.”

Google Meet allows you to video call friends, teachers and family. You can mute and unmute. It also allows you to type in a message/chat area and can even have extensions added. Some teachers tend to tell you to get the extension Nod, which allows a student to give a thumbs up, send a party emoji, raise their hands, etc.

The hardest thing about teaching using Google Meets according to English is, “Seeing the students struggle and I am not able to physically be there to help.” When doing online schooling, the teachers can only watch because they are not able to be in the same room as students. With that being said, some students struggle with not being able to learn properly in classrooms. This can cause some problems for the students and teachers.

A positive aspect about online learning, according to English, is, “We are able to take virtual field trips to places that we may not have been able to visit as a class.” She had also said that her style of teaching has changed slightly. She said, “I sit down a lot more.” 

English had added, “We are making the best of our situation. I am very proud of my students for working hard to not let another obstacle come in their way!”