I’d like to welcome Emilia Perdue, elementary Special Education Teacher for children with autism, and contributing writer of the blog Thriving Wives. Emily has been teaching in the public school setting across all grade levels since 2007. Today she is sharing her experience with building strong student relationships, as well as fostering positive behaviors in children both in the school and academic setting.
Throughout my experience as an educator I have always put building relationships with my students as a top priority. I set aside time to meet with each student individually in an effort to get to know them one on one. I have found creating strong, positive and mutually respectful relationships with students produces better behaviors. I am not one who believes in authoritarian classrooms nor do I expect students to respond to someone who demands respect. I want students to want to respect me and do well because they know I have their best interest in mind and I truly care.
Starting from the first day of school students are provided with clear expectations, structure and consistency that allows them to thrive. From my experiences working with students with emotional disturbances as well as the high school population, I have learned a great deal about student behaviors. While students may put on a good show, pretending to be tough and uninterested in education, the reality is often the opposite. Deep down they want to be successful but feel carrying the label of “special ed” interferes with what they are able to achieve. I can tell you, I don’t buy that. Any student who has the drive and desire to succeed can do it. I am always my students’ biggest fan and hugest supporter; I make sure they know that from day one. By, creating a classroom that fosters not only academic growth but also promotes pro-social skills and kindness students gain knowledge that will benefit them beyond only their academic careers.
In addition to taking time to get to know my students, I also connect with their families and open the lines of communication. I like to introduce myself to parents and create partnerships that will benefit the student both in the classroom and at home. I have found that a united front between parents and teachers makes a huge impact on the student. To know they will be held accountable at home for what they do in class, really makes a difference. Furthermore, being on the same page with parents also creates opportunities for teachers to counsel students on choices they make outside of school. I have been contacted countless times by parents to prompt students about a certain issue as a means to provide an adult to confide in. Students with disabilities desperately need strong, positive role models who can help guide them through life’s challenges. Building strong relationships with the families of these students creates a strong support system for these students to rely.
Throughout my experiences in teaching I have had few behavioral issues with students. They know what is expected of them and are able to monitor and motivate each other to rise to the occasion. My classroom exudes positive energy and shared respect for each other as well as the learning process. I am able to nurture the success of my students by creating daily positive learning experiences and promoting pro social skills with peers and staff.
Ways to help foster positive behaviors in your student both at home and in school
-Have clear and consistent rules and expectations for both the home and school environment.
-Get in touch with teachers from the start and build positive partnerships to support your student.
-Email teachers frequently and request they contact you regarding both negative and positive behaviors in school (I know I LOVE to call home with good news much more than bad)
-Create a positive reinforcement system at home to motivate students at school.
-Keep it visual. Have a chart at home so students can see what behaviors they should implement to earn rewards they desire.
-Communicate with your student frequently and create opportunities for your student to confide in you on issues that may be of concern to them.
-Encourage and motivate your students to want to be the best person they can be through positive modeling and guidance.
Special Education Specialist, M.A.
After earning a degree in Speech Communication from Chico State University, I headed to San Jose State to earn my Moderate/Severe Special Education Credential. In an effort to start gaining hands on experience, I enrolled in internship program and was offered a contract by Campbell Unified School District in 2007. After teaching one year in an Special Day Class for student’s with Emotional Disturbances and completing my credential program, I moved to the Central Valley. I taught four years in an SDC/RSP combo program in secondary education. In 2012 I earned a Mild/Moderate Credential as well as Master’s in education from Point Loma Nazarene University to diversify my knowledge base and create opportunities for different educational settings. Finally settling in Orange County, I am currently teaching at the elementary level in a program for students with Autism. Throughout my education and teaching experience I have been able to identify where my strengths lie as well as my passions. While I have dedicated myself to being an advocate to children and families with disabilities, I have found my true calling to lie in behavior. I look forward to becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in the future and continuing to strive to make a difference in the lives of the students with whom I work.