Saturday, April 18, 2015

Choose Your Battles

Welcome back for Teacher Ninja Way # 3: Choose Your Battles
A true ninja avoids combat, only engaging when absolutely necessary. A ninja learns combat techniques to fall back on when the need arises.
A teacher ninja should follow the same philosophy. As we discussed in the previous post, the teacher ninja moves with precision, learning the drive of each student and how they tick. This information serves valuable for when to battle or not.
Everyday Benjamin comes to class without a pencil. You’ve given him a pencil everyday for the last ten days. Is it time to battle? Let’s look at what you’ve learned about Benjamin. He has moved three different times since school started three months ago. His mom lost her job and apartment. Benjamin and his mom along with three younger siblings moved in with friends temporarily. They move once again. This time with family until his mom can get back on her feet.
The teacher ninja decides the best course of action should be to keep a sharpened supply of pencils ready for Benjamin. Eventually, the ninja teacher will assess Benjamin’s situation to decide when the best time is to push the responsibility issue. Right now is not the time to engage.
Let’s take a look at Austin. He’s been identified with high functioning autism and receives limited special education services. The majority of his instruction is through inclusion in the classroom of peers his age. Austin is bright. He is capable in the intellectual sense to complete the same amount of work as his peers, however other distractions make it difficult for him. Should the teacher require him to complete the same amount of math problems as his peers knowing it will lead to frustration and shut down?
The ninja teacher carefully chooses a smaller amount of problems to complete that will assess his level of each skill presented. Having observed this student with precision, the ninja teacher knows what drives him. Once the required number of problems is completed, Austin may get out his private container of Lego's while the rest of the class finishes.The ninja teacher slowly increases the number of problems for Austin to complete as the year progresses.

See you next time for the teacher ninja technique #4 of using your words.


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