From the observations of a school teacher, translated…
From before, when I’d worked in a regular high school, I didn’t know what “Combined Occupational Training” is, until fate stepped in, and took me to another new school to teach, that, was when I’d gotten into contact with this group of amazing kids. In the morning, when most of the students entered into the gates of the school, with their heads lowered, and a lack of facial expression, this group of kids would always use the most upbeat voice to greet me, giving me a good start of my day.
Later on, I’d attended a special educations seminar in the summer, there was a lecturer, who’d told us, “the culture in Taiwan awards the students who performed well, and in the end, there may be half of those kids who grow up, and go abroad to work, but, our group of kids will work and give back to the communities here indefinitely, and so, we must do EVERYTHING we can, to help them grow up.”, those words, they got into my heart, made me think, other than showing my passions toward them, and saying hi in the mornings, what ELSE can I do?
And so, I’d told the manager of student affairs, I’d wanted to teach the occupational math courses. The manager of student affairs opened up his eyes wide, asked me, “Principal, are you SURE, you want to teach their class?” I’d nodded, persistently, and that, was how my affinities with this group of kids started.
At first, when I’d started, I didn’t get ANY feedback from the students, after I’d explored awhile, I’d come to realize, that by having a lot of knowledge in the mathematics, still wasn’t enough, to teach the course to them. For them, I’d written individualized education plans that tailored to their needs, and, I’d found, that the material must be able to be applied in real life situations for them.
On a practice exam, a student raised her hands, asked me if they could use calculators? Without much thought, I’d told, if they can not use it, then, they don’t use it. But, when I saw how she’d counted, using her fingers, I’d felt so awful, and, I’d immediately had her take out her calculator—and later on, I’d told her, that she could use ANYTHING, so long as she can manage solve the math problems. Contemplating on the matters further, as teachers, we’d often use our own standards, to expect the students to perform well, did we use more empathy, and more patience, to make the learning process more student-focused?
At the end of the semester, as the students got out of their final class session, a student followed behind me quickly. “Principal, this, is sausage with fish eggs, I’d made it with my mom at home, it’s for you, and, I’m only giving it to you!”, he’d stated.
“Thank you. And, calculate for me, if a single sausage is sold for $15N.T.s, and, you buy one for all of the fifteen students in the class, how much would it be totally? Tell me your answer, at the start of next semester.” I’d replied to him with a smile, and, accepted this gift.
This, is the practical side of education, this principal worked with this group of kids with special needs, to help them have the basic abilities to make it on their own, and, although the lessons are simple, to normal people, it’d taken these kids a lot of time and energy to understand the subjects, and, being an instructor of special needs children, it takes patience, and compassion.