I spent part of my Saturday evening working on the Math lesson plan for my 6th grade class. Yes, yes…I know I said I wouldn’t do any work on the weekends, but school life happens! These past 2 weeks have zoomed by and, although I have accomplished a lot, I still need to use some time on the weekends for lesson planning if I want to leave work at a decent hour this year (before 6PM).
Why are we moving so fast?
As I worked yesterday, I tried to figure out how I could ‘catch-up’ with the other Math classes. There were some hiccups with scheduling, kids being kept in extended homeroom for a really extended amount of time, some kids forgetting to switch classes altogether…whew! Honestly, I wrestled with the idea of trying to keep up while sitting in our first grade-level planning meeting. We were supposed to spend 2 days on adding and subtracting decimals; my class needed 4 days. See? We were behind at the end of the first instructional week. We needed those extra days to relearn lining-up decimals, subtracting from right to left instead of left to right, etc.
Decision-makers do not consider all students or their learning needs when they create pacing guides. I cannot help but wonder if anyone with experience teaching in Special Education was consulted on this guide or the previous ones. I doubt it. Just looking through the selected textbook confirms that the kids I teach are always an addendum to all curricula-related decisions. These same people sit around scratching their heads when state test results show that Students With Disabilities (SWDs) are making considerably smaller gains than their peers, if any at all.
As someone who prefers to be on time (early), accepting that we will be ‘behind’ the other classes was difficult. I have a good idea of where my students are and which skills I need to reteach; the reteaching will not happen in a condensed instructional window. I will not be rushed to teach and they will not be rushed to learn.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”African Proverb
I think my students and I are going to go far, at our own pace.