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Teacher Interview with Kei Lucas

What are the biggest challenges you face?

Probably the biggest challenges are the things like helping students to develop social skills, pro-social skills, and helping our students to develop those behaviors that don’t get them into tough situations or dangerous situations. That is really hard to teach. That’s really hard to teach because you can only practice so much of it within the confines of your room and then, then what? Then where do you go to practice those things? And it’s only meaningful when it’s in real life. Certainly, some of the more frequent challenges are things like, how are we going to keep someone in that seat because they don’t seem to be able to sit for longer than two seconds? How are we going to get someone to complete their math or language arts or whatever the academic content area is when they can’t read a word of what is there? How are we going to get someone to follow directions if they can’t process what we’re saying very easily? It’s all the things they bring with them and, certainly in special ed., you have a lot of kids who bring physical challenges with them, whether it’s cerebral palsy, whether they’re in wheel chairs or they’re using walkers. We have had students who have had to bring their little oxygen tanks with them. We’ve had medically fragile students. We’ve had seizure active kids. So there are all those things involved and how do you address those needs, how do you prepare yourself and the rest of the students in the class for some of those kinds of needs and challenges? How do I reach kids who seem to be unmotivated, intrinsically unmotivated? How do we get that fire burning in them, how do we hook them and then once we have hooked them, how long can we keep them dangling like that and keep them interested? A lot of times it means you’ve got to become someone other than who you normally are, so you do that goofy stuff, you do that playing around kind of thing and just try to keep them interested.

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