Karla from Life in Special Education is holding a linky party for SpEd teachers entitled What Do You Teach? She (rightly!) pointed out that we have to explicitly teach a lot of skills that are totally not covered in the standards. My friend (who teaches self-contained preschool) and I were discussing how we would be in big trouble if they used standardized testing data to determine teacher pay, because most of what we teach is not tested.
So, in addition to K-2 state standards, here is some of what I teach. . .
1. How to walk into the school building and through the hallway.
2. Walking in line without talking, touching anyone else, or making your regular ed teacher unreasonably upset just because you're stimming.
3. How to ask a friend to play.
4. What to do if that friend says no thanks, because they'd rather play alone.
5. How to actually play with a friend when they say yes.
6. How to have a conversation with a peer or adult.
7. Transitions can be accomplished without getting upset! Recess is great, let's go!
8. Use strategies to cool down when you get upset.
9. We can solve conflicts without getting aggressive!
10. When you excuse yourself from a tough situation, you should let your teacher know where you're going so you don't get in trouble.
11. Friends need support when they're sad. Telling them to shut up will only make them cry louder. Be nice.
12. When to tell and when not to tattle.
13. Superstitions do not excuse you from classwork.
14. Fart jokes don't impress the ladies or your homeboys. Or whomever else you thought it would. Actually farting is even less impressive.
15. During peer mentoring: "No, if your heart was broken, you would be dead."
16. Blowing your nose and wiping your nose are not the same.
17. Using words gets us what we want and need. Picture symbols are good substitutes. Spitting, hitting, kicking, biting, and screaming don't usually work.
18. The definition of appropriate and why we have to be that at school.
19. The golden rule.
20. There are multiple steps to using the bathroom. You will be called out if you miss putting your clothes back on, flushing, or hand-washing. The rest is up to you.
21. Also, which order all of those steps go in. Hand-washing is not first.
22. You are responsible for you. And only you.
23. Breaking things makes people sad and angry.
24. Even if you don't care if you make someone sad or angry, you may not like the consequences.
25. No one can make you do anything, but I am very convincing.
26. How to play Angry Birds.
27. How to draw The Pigeon.
28. There is no excuse for not keeping your hands to yourself.
29. Basic language concepts (especially pragmatics and vocabulary.)
30. The golden rule.
31. What silverware is, how to use it, and why table manners matter.
32. Clothes have to be worn properly, all day.
33. How to win gracefully and how to lose without losing it.
34. Telling your classmates that we're all going to die is not reassuring during a tornado warning.
35. What to say when someone is bothering you.
36. Other people have different opinions, and they matter.
37. Some problems are kid-sized, and not everything requires adult intervention.
38. Why we have to do work at school.
39. Lying is not okay (so sometimes you should just not say anything.)
40. If an adult at school asks you to do something that will not hurt you, you generally have to listen to them.
Here are a few things that my littles and I are learning together, as a bonus!
41. Eye contact is apparently more essential than . . . lots of other stuff we're actually good at.
42. Just because some crazy, young SpEd teacher doesn't enforce quiet hands doesn't mean other teachers won't.
43. Academics: not a competitive sport. Unless you're talking about MAP scores.
44. It is okay to let other people be wrong. Even people who won't admit it. Especially people that won't understand the concept anyway.
45. Being smart is awesome. Making sure everyone else knows it is awkward.