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Friday, September 9, 2011

MAP this!!!!

So I teach students who have visual impairments, with this pleasure comes the responsibilities of making accommodations for them to access their educational environment/curriculum. The beginning of the year in my district brings the ever popular student growth measurement (MAP testing). YAY!!!! Trumpet sounds!!! Any vision teacher knows that there is not an assessment in the world that takes visual impairment into consideration.  Let me just include that this is the ONLY assessment my district has to measure growth in Math and LA. Add to this the change in presentation strategies that disables the compatibility between the test and Universal Access on the computer….they are just asking for my students to fail. Yesterday I walked in to check on one of my students and he was sitting at his table with a laptop flipped so that the screen was laying on the table and the keyboard in the air, reading the questions and clicking in the circle to answer using the projected enlarged image on his CCTV!!! His IEP states that he is to have large print and MARK IN BOOK!!! The most disturbing part of this scenario is the SPECIAL ED teacher that is also his case manager watching him do it as if this is okay. So I get to work early this morning to try to troubleshoot this issue. Anyway, three middle schools (in two hours) later I found myself stuck with a dead car battery!!! REALLY?!?!? I am supposed to figure out a solution to this glitch as well as calm the nerves of the new teachers that have my students and do it itinerantly with NO car!!!! At this point I am on the phone with my handy husband who tells me I need to go buy a new battery and change it!!! UMMMMMMM am I supposed to do it with the wrenches made out of recycled soda cans that you have outfitted my trunk with???? So I end up walking back to one of the middle schools, enlisting the help of a custodian to take my battery out. He so generously leaves one of his tools for me to put the battery back, after taking the old one out J. I walk a half mile down the road (carrying a 40 lb battery) back to my home school to borrow a car. I drive to the car part store, purchase a battery, drive back to school work with a student, then drive back to my car during lunch to change this battery. My pregnant friend agrees to drive me so that I can drive my car back. We are standing under the hood of my car trying to replace the battery, meanwhile getting hoots and hollars from passing WOMEN because the look of us was empowering :). We succeeded in dirtying our hands and replacing that battery all by ourselves!!! The lesson I learned from this is that my students don’t get to just start their car mindlessly and drive off!! They first have to take out the battery, walk a mile carrying it, exchange it for a new one and then put it back in without instructions or tools to do it to reach the same destination as their sighted peers. So what do I have to say to you powers that be… you are tying my paycheck to my students’ growth, please make sure that you think of all of the pieces of the puzzle that will get us there before making demands, instead of as an afterthought!!!!

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