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One of the pieces we use, day in and day out, in special education is individual plans. I think this also goes in line with discipline. No child reacts the same way to a set standard of punishment.

I think one of the biggest pieces we need in incorporate in education is being proactive. We need to make every student feel like they connect to the teachers. I really liked how one teacher made a comment about giving them a pat on the back. Studies show physical contact is one of the quickest ways to connect with another person.

Also knowing your students is key and what is going on in their lives. If they know I am excited that they get to see their grandma over the weekend they are very excited to come back Monday morning and have me ask them questions.

I think we have to remember to make an enormous effort to connect with students. Even those very difficult students need connection. When consequences are necessary it is crucial to keep in mind how the student will respond.

Teacher, Writer, and Artist


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When class ends and they're walking out, stand at the door and say something encouraging and personal to each student. Even if you've got 342 kids filing out this is a tremendous gesture ... for them and you.

For you ... it keeps you sharp and demands that you notice anything and everything positive that they're doing. Every day.

For them ... the gesture shows you're paying attention to them ... that nothing gets by you, their teacher.

Funny, I think if you wonder if you're doing a great job as a teacher ... how do you really know?

Because you get home and sit in your favorite chair ... and can't get back up.

Teacher, Writer, and Artist


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Well said, Maurice. Thank you for your article. A few simple things have worked for me in my special education classroom, full of kids who not only struggle with school responsibilities, but with daily life and relationships with everyone.

Pat them on the back. Literally pat them on the back and say "I'm proud of you" with extreme sincerity and loud enough where they hear you

Learn early on in the school year what they like ... and learn a bit about it. It may be a certain rock band or a certain skate shoe. Engage them on those things from time to time ... sincerely

Toss a piece of candy across the room as a reward for a good question ... or for just saying "Yes, sir" ... or just for using manners. Bribing kids with candy as a reward for good behavior is okay with me, because it works

Never give up ... keep doing these and all other things as you know in your teacher's heart this ain't a sprint's an Olympic marathon under, sometimes, the toughest conditions

Walk around your classroom ... get in their space, but with respect ... so they'll know you're energetic, aware, involved, alive

Show them you care. A cheesy saying, I know ... but IT WILL WORK OVER TIME. Ignore the moments when you get blazing disrespect back, because it ain't personal, even though it feels like it!

Teach on! Never give up!

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