By Kodey Toney
Teach The Children Well
I teach a few classes at the local college, and as I was finishing up entering my grades this week I started thinking about something. At the college level I expect more out of my students because they are no longer in high school. I tell them on the first day that I don't give grades, you earn them. I think this philosophy is true for any age, but I also think earning a grade is so much more than just the student doing their work.
All schools MUST adhere to the Americans With Disabilities Act. That means that I very often receive a letter telling me each semester that a student may have a disability and that I need to make accommodation. I do this for many reasons. I do it because I understand that this student has made an effort to attend school, and is working to better their life. I do it because I would want someone to do the same for me, and I would want someone to do it for my son. I do it because it's the right thing to do as a teacher and a humanitarian. And, I do it because IT IS THE LAW. I understand that if I don't make these accommodations after I've been sent this letter telling me I have to I can lose my job and potentially be sued.
I make these accommodation even if I don't have a letter telling me to. I understand that some of my students have special needs, but haven't requested assistance for some reason. I want to make sure that my students are learning. If they are not I try to find ways to help them learn. I'm not trying to set them up to fail. If they are showing an effort I will help them. If they are not I will try to motivate them.
I understand that people have issues. I try to work with those students and push them to do better. I feel that is my job as a teacher.
You see I feel there is a difference between a teacher and an educator. An educator can lecture, give the information to students, and let them do the work...or not, the choice is up to the student. I feel a teacher goes above and beyond for their students, all students, but especially those who have special needs in the classroom. If they need motivation or some special instruction then a "teacher" will go above and beyond.
This works on all levels of education from elementary to higher ed.
We have to help students with ADA requirements and IEPs. Not only is it the law; it is simply the right thing to do. If an educator doesn't feel that way I think they should find a different profession because they're not in it for the right reasons, to help others.
This is just my opinion.