Okay, so I am a student in a university who is studying to become a secondary Spanish teacher. As part of my program, I have to observe 20 hours of general education and 20 hours of special education. Right now, I am in the special education part of my observation.
They placed me in an MH-Mild classroom, where high school students have the academic learning capacity of 3rd to 6th graders. I observe for three hours a day, one day a week (but I've been going more than I'm actually scheduled because I want a consistent experienced.
Here's where the suck came in. The school's philosophy with special education is to have hands-on instruction. However, during all the times I have been to the class, the teacher has been talking on her cellphone (she'll call her roommate, she'll call parents of kids that she coaches for cheerleading, she'll call her family). If she's not on her cellphone, she's browsing the internet. In the time I have spent observing- she doesn't help these kids at all.
She has a paraprofessional and two student aids that are supposed to be "helping" her with the students. The student aids either sleep or are sent on Burger King runs, while the paraprofessional sits and reads the newspaper or a novel all day. I'm not exaggerating- this actually happens.
What really pissed me off, and the reason I am compelled to write here- is that she yells at the kids when they ask questions. She doesn't yell all the time, but she'll start belittling them. ("What do you mean you don't know if seven is greater than four? We've been over this. Why are you not paying attention?")
I don't mean to paint these kids as saints. I know that there are many problems teachers face with classroom management and keeping these students motivated, but she does this with all her students that are MH-Mild (mentally handicapped). It's proven that students like this have memory problems.
So here's what really got me angry: Yesterday they were learning coins and currency. They had to figure out how many pennies were in a nickel, nickels in a dime, etc. She gave them a packet of 20 pages (which is what she typically does- gives them a packet and tells them to work on it). I was walking around and noticed that this girl had every answer incorrect. I asked her if she wanted to go over the answers. Together, we figured out the first couple and she was fine from then.
After that, another girl asked me for help. Then, a boy asked me for help. I was happy to help them. Once I got the boy, the teacher yelled at the entire class, "Stop bugging the observing teacher. You need to do this yourself! If you can't do this yourself, I am writing you a referral!" I was floored. I told her that I was willing to help them if they needed help, but she told me to just let them work. Then, she got back on her cellphone.
I have an appointment with the administrator next week.