October 08, 2003
If you work with Special Ed students and you need to find ways to motivate them, the most important thing to do is to build a rapport with the students. This can be done by giving a few minutes a day to get to know the students. It isn't necessary to be a teenager, but mainly to listen and know what is happening in the students' lives. You will need to keep boundaries up and maintain discipline, but always avoid the conflict cycle. Ignore the complaints -- they are just a part of this demographic group. Keep activities as real and life applicable as possible. Tie as many lessons into their world as you possibly can. A sense of humor is the only way to survive -- don't be afraid to make a mistake or admit human frailty. Your elementary experience will be very helpful for creativity, but be careful not to use any baby activities. Most of these kids come into these classrooms through some very difficult circumstances. While one can't excuse what they do, it does help keep their behavior in perspective.