LITTLE STEPS FORWARD
Sometimes, everything just comes together perfectly. That's what Jessica Shyu, the special education teacher of East Meets West, found when she took her students on a recent field trip—to a Denny's restaurant. Ok, it's not the Louvre, but for her students, the trip was a huge self-esteem boost—and a welcome chance to use the real-world skills they'd been practicing all year:
...the real progress that I see among my students is in their confidence. [One student] can find the type of burger that he wants in the menu. My other seventh grader knows how to lay her napkin on her lap. They can all budget. They can all figure out how to calculate 15% tip by hand. They aren't (as) afraid of asking questions and paying in public. I should have done this long ago.... My instruction in the resource room is to help these students learn enough to be mainstreamed back into the general education classroom. But what I knew for a long time, but didn't fully apply, was that my job is also to mainstream these students into society.
And that's the kind of "Aha!" moment that goes great with a Grand Slam Breakfast and a milkshake.