Professional Competencies: Co-Planning for Social Responsibility
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Co-Planning for Social Responsibility Case Study
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Directions: As you read the following case study, locate instances where the professional competencies may be at play. Be prepared to share your findings.
Case Study As a special education teacher in their third year of teaching, you have begun to hit your stride. You enjoy working at Happy Elementary School and the theory behind inclusion settings into practice. You are pleased with the relationships you’ve built and how integrated you’ve become with the faculty. You are welcomed to every grade level meeting, where colleagues regularly ask for your assistance in accommodating or modifying curriculum for exceptional learners. Happy Elementary School has recently encountered some problems in the student population. There has been a rash of bullying instances, in the upper grades, stemming from cultural differences. Furthermore, the bullying seems to have leaked into other grade levels as one of your 3rd grade students, Jared, shares that students are harassing him at recess and on the way home. Jared shares that students are teasing him about his reading ability and have been calling him “slow” and “dumb”. He won’t give the name of any students because he is afraid it will get worse. Jared is clearly distressed and you decide to take action about this trend. At the next 3rd grade planning period, you propose the team use different texts for literature circles. You share with them a list of 25 award-winning texts that should help decrease the levels of bullying. You are careful to provide a wide-range of reading abilities and texts with protagonists similar to your exceptional learners and the diversity at the school. Expecting your actions to be met with excitement and enthusiasm, you’re surprised by the uncomfortable silence that follows your announcement. You see Miss Borden and Miss Lorin shift a bit uncomfortably in their seats and give some sideways glances to Mrs. Sprouls, the grade level chair. Mrs. Sprouls thanks you for your suggestion but says that she doesn’t think that it would work out. Surprised by the reaction, you sit silently dumbfounded the rest of the meeting. Wanting to ensure Jared’s learning environment improves, you spend your own money to buy eight of the books and reach out to Jared’s teacher, Miss Lorin, and see if she can incorporate. She thanks you and mentions that she’ll display them in her library for the children to read in their free time. After a few days, you notice that none of the students are interested in the books and you’re still concerned that students aren’t getting exposure to social responsibility. You know that Jared is still distressed and even witness an escalated exchange between him and another student which begins with name calling. You meet again with Miss Lorin and ask if she is willing to modify the Library Book Loan Cart to incorporate some of the texts you researched. Shared across the grade level, the Library Book Loan Cart is a cart of books related to the units of study third graders are studying at that point. Miss Lorin acquiesces to your request but seems nervous about the whole idea. When you come to visit Jared in class the next day you are heartened to see that some of your anti-bullying texts have made the cart and some students are even reading them. Later that afternoon, Mrs. Sprouls comes to your office to speak with you. She looks upset and shares her displeasure at you, “going behind her back to usurp the grade level plans with Miss Lorin.” Before she leaves the room in a hurry, she says, “Your books about getting along are more appropriate for Kindergarten and first grade. We have real content and 3rd grade is a high-stakes year in reading for our children. I can’t risk some students no