So far I've logged in about 15 hours, and I feel that I've already done/observed so much just in this first week. After being away from teaching for a whole year, I've really missed interacting with colleagues and children. Here's some of what I did this week:
- Observed an intake interview done by the school psychologist and SLP.
- Observed an assessment of a three year old done by both the school psych and SLP at the same time. It was a real tag team approach! From the outside the assessments looks like a lot of play, but I can see that there is so much more going on than that!
- Observed two Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings--both were long, but I learned a lot just by listening.
- Logging in assessment data into the computer.
- Visited a preschool classroom and observed a child suspected of having autism.
- Read sample reports.
One of my goals as a practicum student is to be diligent about reflecting, write down my thoughts and impressions, and to critically think about how my perspective is changing as a result of my experiences. I've been using a sticky pad to jot down my thoughts every day, but I really need to buy a nice notebook to document everything! Here's a sample of my thoughts from this week:
- I need to spend more time brushing up on my stats knowledge. Assessments use all sorts of different scores (z-scores, t-scores, standards scores, raw scores, etc.), and it is important to be able to know what each means and explain them in an easy to understand manner. I like how the team refers to the bell curve when explaining assessment results to parents.
- The perspective of both parents is important to have. Each parent has a lens in which he/she sees their child, and a more comprehensive picture of the child is developed for the interviewer when both parents provide input. Of course having both parents attend meetings may not be possible, but it is ideal if both can.
- Teacher expectations or the general environment in which a child is in may be a poor fit for a child to be successful. This is definitely not saying that the teacher or the supervising adult is "bad"---it's just a mismatch for what the child needs. I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and I'm sure that I will write more on this topic at another time.
- During an IEP, I noticed that one of the team members asked the parent if the data that she presented on her child fits the parent's expectations. What a great question to ask! It lets the parent know that his/her input is valued, and it creates an atmosphere of collaboration. I think at school meetings, parents can feel talked at rather than talked with, especially during IEP meetings which can be overwhelming!
- My favorite part of the week was just seeing how all of these wonderful educators at the center work cohesively together and really make an effort to work with the parents. It was so clear to me that the team members all genuinely get along and it really does seem like a team effort. The relationship piece is such a big factor to enjoying your job, as well as believing that what you do matters. I think this is going to be a big reason why I am going to enjoy my time at the center.
The dress code for preschool where I am at appears to be pretty relaxed. I've seen members of the team wear jeans, dresses, and slacks or ankle pants. I think during the IEP meetings it is nice to be a little more dressed up, but since the assessments for preschoolers are often done on the floor using a lot of toys and objects, pants are needed on those days! I'm hoping to do a little bit of shopping for work wear this summer. I anticipate having to wear a lot more pants rather than pencil skirts for what I have to do, plus I would like to have more blouses for the warm weather and I need to go shoe shopping for flats. I'm curious as to how my style will change as I progress professionally.
|#1: Talbots anchor embroidered skirt, Merona tee, Lands' End Canvas scarf|
#2: BR short sleeve jacket, BR trouser denim
#3: J. Crew linen trouser pant & J. Crew shirt
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