If you have been following my Facebook and Instagram feeds, you probably already know that at the beginning of the school year, I went from teaching in a resource classroom setting to an intense intervention classroom.

The school year so far has been an exciting one. Each day is different, and I am growing as an advocate, coach, leader, and teacher. The students in my classroom are being challenged and they are showing me more about themselves each day.

Although they may communicate differently than their grade-level peers when they do have an aha moment it is breathtaking.

The other day, one of the peer tutors came into my classroom full of energy and bouncing around. The student said, “Mrs. L, I decided to run around in my science class today”. I asked him, why and he said because his teacher was leaving and he was upset.

I asked him how would the teacher feel, by him being disruptive and they might already have been having a hard time leaving. He said he did not think. I said ok, what should we do instead he said express to the teacher how much she has helped him over the years. I said that is correct.

Ten minutes later, an intensive needs student went up to the same peer mentor and said to him you did not do right. I look up to you, you should say sorry because we are not supposed to run around in class.

At that point my whole class became quiet and the peer mentor said sorry again and decided to begin a card campaign with the students in the classroom, to thank the teacher how much she has helped him.

Sometimes you might think that we are teaching our students, something but they are also teaching us so many things. Do not think that the students who the intensive needs are not listening. They are the ones who are listening more intentionally, so they can learn.

The student with the intensive needs expressed himself with such compassion and clarity because I have been incorporating social skills, social-emotional skills in my classroom that focus on real-world situations.

Being in middle school is hard, but being a student in a middle school with intensive needs in middle school is harder. That is why it is so important that we as teachers, parents, and educators need to make sure that our students are prepared for employment, further education, and independent living.

I do this by walking students, parents and teachers through an input statement that focuses on education, communication, social skills, and self-regulation skills that are needed for them to be successful.

Are you ready to create your input statement?

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