Stories from the Field
Edited By David J. Connor and Beth A. Ferri
16. No Bat Required
The past is at its best when it takes us to places that counsel and instruct, that show us who we are by showing us where we have been, that remind us of our connections to what happened here (italics in the original). (Chapman, 1979)
Sound Warehouse, the former mega record store sourced my reward scheme for students. Styx, Molly Hatchett, Eagles, Rush, CS&N, Emmylou Harris, Fleetwood Mac were a few of the oversized posters that lined my middle school classroom. Freebies that the store employees put aside for me became the prime motivator for students to produce their best work. On any given day, I might walk over to a poster and with great drama, remove it, and hand it the student. It wasn’t based on a point system, or a barter system—it was random and usually, the surprised student wondered how I knew that the poster was their favorite. Getting to know my students was the easy part, the difficult part, too often was getting them to know themselves as more than an amalgam of failure and lack.
I began my career as a public school special education teacher in the 1970s, certified by the state of Texas. My credential did not distinguish, in the typical categorical approach, qualification to teach a particular student population. Rather, a “generic” certification qualified me to teach any K-12 student identified as disabled. This non-distinction was never unpacked for its meaning...
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