In schools today students work with multiple teachers. Students have all kinds of specialist teachers and classroom teachers too. As I consider this, I am thinking about the collaboration needed to serve students well. For some students, this collaboration is simple. These children typically go along with the program, do what's expected, and manage their days well, and for other students, for all kinds of reasons, this is not a simple matter--these kinds of students have less ability to manage their day and meet expectations. These are the students who challenge good collegial collaboration as these students don't fit well into typical school programs.
What do we do about students who need different or more, students who typically work with lots of teachers?
A good schedule
These students typically require a good schedule, the kind of schedule that meets their needs. It's important that these children understand their schedule well and have some control over their time too. As I think about this, I am thinking that it's important to to sit down with these children and review the schedule with time, reasonable choice, and specificity. These children typically want to understand well what's expected, what's on the agenda, and how they can be successful and well cared for.
Strategies for success
For students who find school challenging, it's important to provide them with strategies for success. That takes lots of time as teacher and student discuss problematic issues and seek ways to remedy the problems to gain success. These students need more time for pointed discussion, problem solving, and strategy use and practice.
Goals and priorities
These students need to create good goals, move toward those goals, and assess their success regularly. Making and seeing progress builds confidence and greater success. The number of goals needs to be just-right, and that just-right number will be different for every child. What's important is that those goals are reasonable and achievable. It's important to work with the child to create learning paths to achieve these goals and make those learning paths explicit.
When programs are overwhelming, goals unclear, and expectations confusing, students have less chance for success. I will be thinking about these criteria as I work on my own and with colleagues to meet the needs of students who face greater challenge at school.