One of my favorite memories as an artistic and creative child was when the “art lady” came on Fridays to my 4th-grade class. She would introduce a project, and we got to pull out those crayons and paints we stored in our desks. We learned to do “stained glass” with tissue paper, draw pumpkins, and learn what to do when we made mistakes.
In my middle school classroom, the introduction of a group project brought out mixed feelings from students. Many students loved being able to pick their groups and hated it when I assigned groups, while other students wanted to bypass the teamwork altogether.
Building positive relationships with families is like putting money in the bank! Yes, it takes effort and valuable time, but the investment is absolutely worth it. The MTSS process provides several strategic opportunities to connect with families and partner together to support students.
I will never forget one of the toughest phone calls with a parent in my first year of teaching. As soon as the phone call ended, tears streamed down my face. It had taken everything I had to hold it together while a parent listed out all the things I had been doing wrong with her child. As a first-year teacher, I understood how to create engaging lessons, and I prioritized building relationships with students, but working with parents and families was much more challenging.
I am the first to admit that I didn’t even know how to get my students more intense help for many years. As a new 7th Grade ELA teacher, I just thought I was failing as a teacher. As I gained experience and training, specifically in English as a Second language, I learned how to make my instruction more accessible and to identify those students that needed help beyond core instruction. In many ways, I remained at a loss for how to provide the intervention they needed.
Years of data and research reveal inequities within education that continue to persist. With the best intentions, there are always ways in which the best system fails at meeting all needs. However, what separates educators and schools is what we do to correct the course or rebuild with equity.