I also teach blind students, ELL blind students. And I've had five different blind students. My last student, Jessica, she's now a senior at UNM and she's going to be entering law school. And she was the first blind student that I ever had. And when she applied to law school 'cause she's applying to get in 'cause she's taking her LSAT, she wrote down my name and gave me a lot of credit and asked me to look over her essays and stuff. Just made me feel really successful that she was successful.
Keep an open mind
My messages to teachers around the country are that to keep their mind open (about the Common Core), especially the veteran teachers and look at the standards again and see how you can incorporate them, especially for our ELL kids. And don't forget our ELL kids that are special education students too. Those kids are often forgotten.
Collaboration with colleagues
Being on this cadre has enriched my teaching. Teaching is very isolating. There is never enough time to collaborate with my colleagues. Listening to the interactions that occur during the meetings, spurs me to get involved again in helping teachers learn to accommodate ELL students.
The best part of this experience has been working with my cadre. It's been a while since I've had the opportunity to interact with teachers from other schools. Just to be able to share and learn what is happening in our respective schools has been invaluable. The experiences that we have been able to share and the collaboration in creating a plan was exciting and fulfilling.
What do teachers need?
Teachers will need professional development similar to what this cadre is achieving. They will have to become proficient writing lesson plans that address the standards. They will have to become familiar with the lexile level for the lessons they are going to teach to assure that the lessons are challenging enough.