Q | How can I best work with both students and teachers in my new K–4 resource-room position?
A | First, take the time to introduce yourself to your students’ regular education teachers and let them know you want to coordinate your work with theirs. Follow up with e-mails each week asking teachers for information about upcoming tests or projects, and check in with them regularly about students’ progress. You will need to be diligent because they will not always remember to contact you.
A word of caution: Don’t limit your job to helping kids with homework and tests. An elementary-level resource room isn’t just a junior study hall where you wait for kids to come in with work. Instead, it’s an early opportunity to help children improve basic study skills like organization, planning, and practice. These are skills that will not only be helpful for next Friday’s test but for all future study.
Your daily planning for students should include exercises and games to reinforce study skills so that they can turn to their work with confidence. Because the number of children you will see at one time is limited, often you will be able to individualize instruction. Be sure to check the IEP for each student who has one so that you know what goals have already been established for him or her.
The resource room should be a warm, inviting place where kids feel comfortable coming for extra help. By teaching and reinforcing study skills, you can also help them to become more independent learners.
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Suzanne Tingley is a former teacher, principal, superintendent, and education professor.
Image: Aaron Clamage