Subtle Changes

I love finding things that have a meaning or an impact that go far beyond immediate appearances. I found one this morning.

Today was Day 5 of my son’s new school program and I drove him for a before school activity, staying until it was over to make sure it went OK. I walked with him to his classroom afterwards and was somewhat surprised when we failed to make a turn toward Room 2. I then learned that he starts each day in his mainstream classroom. This was the first time in several years that he hasn’t started and ended the day in a self contained classroom, even when he was mainstreamed for all his classes.

My first thought was: This isn’t right! Mornings are hectic. What if something goes wrong? Where’s his aide? I shoved the ideas aside and checked in with his teacher. I then met his new aide and chatted about the events of the previous day. All the while, I was stealthily observing how the morning routine was going. As children finished gathering, I said goodbye and walked away.

Before I even reached to door to leave the school, my sense of concern about the changes in starting the day had been replaced. I realized that the change eliminated the extra transition (from the self-contained to the mainstream classroom) each morning. He’ll have much more time to get comfortable in his space each day. He’ll only have to settle into his surroundings once.

I followed this train of thought a little further. I realized that by starting the day in the mainstream classroom my son might get the subtle message that he belongs there, all day! It’s a different message than the one we’ve been sending for a few years. A little bit of success may lead to increased confidence in his own ability to handle starting the day in the same way as other students. Learning to deal with this before middle school would be wonderful.

I’ll readily admit that these changes may be completely trivial and simply result of the different logistics of different programs in different buildings. I’ll take them anyway as the risks are low and the upside is high. I’ve learned it takes lots of little changes to find what works and that’s there’s something positive to be found in most changes.

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4 Responses to Subtle Changes

  1. Estee says:

    Hi there,

    Thanks for reading my blog which has led me to reading yours…I like your attitude! I will post your blog on my site:
    With thanks,

  2. Wade Rankin says:

    It’s just like being back in school ourselves, isn’t it?

  3. SquareGirl says:

    It’s always the subtle changes. You know, the ones most people don’t usually even pay attention to, but when you do they make so much sense!

  4. Eileen says:

    I taught in self contained and a regular fourth grade class. My last year in that 4th grade class they finally made the change to have the mainstreamed kids begin their day in the mainstream classroom as opposed to the self contained and I believe it made such a difference in the kids self-esteem. Like you said, they finally felt like they belonged.

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