My intern is gearing up for her “Week of Independence”. This is a tradition in my classroom where the grad student/intern/instructional assistant pulls together all that she has learned to complete a week on her own, without me there. Even though I have been pulling back and “letting” her take on more and more of the responsibilities, the fact I am around makes things go smoothly. The idea with the week of independence is to give her a chance to move through the planning and implementation of our primary ED program without me as a net. It gives interns a real taste of problem-solving on the fly--- a very important skill for an ED teacher.
She is a bit nervous (of course!), but will do well with the day to day things she has been dealing with all year. Tantrums, conspiracies, emotional meltdowns…. These she will manage superbly! The challenges of planning and being responsible for the delivery of instruction will be a bit tougher, and she will be working with a substitute IA whom she will have to “manage”. New teachers often say that being “in charge of” an IA is one of the toughest parts of starting their careers. So this will give her a taste.
I will spend some time visiting other spec. ed programs in the area, those from which many of my students come, and some that are often considered for placement at the same time we are. I hope to get a good feel for the autism programs in the area, mainly because I have had several truly aut kids come my way, and I never understood why the autism program wasn’t a better fit.
Also, I will be working with colleague teachers on developing behavior programs, instructional organization, strategies, in their classrooms etc. As a mentor teacher, I seldom get the blocks of time that are needed to really be a support. This will give me two days to really get into it! I can’t wait.
And I am taking a personal day to extend the weekend….My beautiful son is graduating from a university up north, and now I won’t have to hurry back!! Priceless!
So, after 8 months, this amazing intern gets her chance to fly solo! It’s been a long gestation period… ;)