Dec 2, 2010

Special Visits to my Special School

I adore my special school, and treasure my monthly visits to my special school.

Somehow, my special school gives me a friendly, cozy feel. I always feel welcomed here, and the students are eager to learn or just simply to say 'hi' to me.

Maybe because it's a small school? Total student population is only about 150+. Or maybe the teachers are generally younger (as they need physical strength to help the children)? Or maybe at special schools, our wants and needs are much simpler? We will cheer on the child as he struggles down the flight of stairs with his crutch alone, but we expect much much more from our regular students.

Ops.. off tangent, back to my school.

My special school accepts different kinds of disabilities and conditions. I have taught students who are physically challenged, and intellectually challenged. As such, due to their varying abilities, my lessons with them are very varied as well.

There are 3 departments at my special school, namely Elementary, Junior High and High School. Thus, I get to mix with young children from age of 6 to teenagers age 18.

Each day at the special school is pretty packed, as I roam from Elementary to Junior High or Junior High to High School sections. But I love the variety. We did story-telling, recording of a promotional video, recording of a story-telling session, played the 'It' game for Halloween, or simply just learning how to ask me questions using the grammar structure- "Can you...?". In most cases, I play the complimentary role, and not the primary teacher, as compared to my base school.

From the teachers, I learnt that some routines are ingrained in the children, especially for the more intellectually challenged children. For example, every morning, we will do cleaning along the corridor. These are important employment skills, as most will work as cleaners after graduation.

For the other more abled students, they also learn other skills like how to make leather crafts or recycled paper crafts, which they sold at their annual school festival.

In addition, they also have routine toilet visits. Do not scoff at such efforts. They help to train the less abled students how to control their bowels better. And that is also why they hire so many young strong teachers at school.

I am envious of the teacher-student ratio at the special school in Japan. It is about 1 teacher to 1 or 2 physically challenged students, and 1 teacher to about 4 non-physically challenged students. I am quite definite that we don't have such luxury in Singapore's special school.

To my students at my special school, you remind me of the wild sunflowers which grow along the road in front of the school. So full of life despite the difficulties.

Sunflowers outside the school. Standing strong against the wind.

Another shot of the sunflowers outside school.

Looking forward to seeing you, again. The next visit is the 4th one! :D