Alex Fafara
Permission to do 3 Observations at 4 hours each.
Field Observation #2
Feelings/Inference
The teacher is very serious about the students’ having a good breakfast, or at least any
breakfast at all that isn’t pure soda.
It’s a fact that it helps kids focus, and it’s not
something most teachers take into account, or can control. She told me in private that the
district hasn’t made Adequate Yearly Progress in 5 years, and that causes the state to
withhold funding. If they are fortunate enough to achieve the AYP, then they will need to
improve every year.
She also tells me that in this school, Special Education is integrated,
and even though state law requires that they be taught at their level, should they learn at a
grade level below their age level. However they will still be given the 6
th
grade
standardized tests. They are, “Set up to fail,” as she puts it.
This shows to me how much
she cares about the students, and her goal to do her best to educate the students, no matter
the obstacles put against her.
In Kohn’s article, “Punished by Rewards,” it begins by showing how students are
often given rewards as incentive or motivation to do well. “It is not realistic to expect
students to develop motivations to learn in the classroom,” (p.143). Rather than using
rewards to form a “get good grades and you’ll earn a prize” classroom, Kohn states, “At
any age, rewards are less effective than intrinsic motivation for promoting effective
learning (p.144). This shows us that these 6
th
graders who are a part of special education,
tested at a 6
th
grade level when taught at a fourth grade level, will never do well, precisely
because no matter what a teacher does for them, they can’t get them to care, and the
students aren’t feeling motivated themselves if they view themselves as less intelligent
than others.
It is a losing battle, one that can’t be won until the state allows these students
to be tested at the level in which they are taught.
Questions
How many times has this teacher felt it necessary to feed breakfast to her students? She
seemed to know exactly what to get, and where, so does this happen often? Do the
students not have breakfast because the family can’t afford it, or because the parents
don’t care enough to buy it or make it? From the students’ perspectives, does this small
act of care, this tiny snack of crackers influence the rest of their day? This is my second
morning here, and both times we have reviewed the packet for the class trip coming up in
June. Will this be brought up every week as a means for motivation?
Next Steps