Imagine having a language-based learning disability while learning to speak English. This is the situation that most of my students find themselves in. Many of my students have speech and language impairments, dyslexia and dysgraphia. I am an ENL co-teacher in two 3rd grade inclusion classrooms. Hence, my students are also learning English as a New Language. One may assume that these students, with two strikes against them, would have little inspiration for succeeding academically. However, this is not the case in my school. My students are bright and curious. They are grateful for the opportunities that a great education can give them. They LOVE school!
The families of my students come to New York City for opportunities and the hope of a better life.
As newly arrived and first-generation immigrants, my students are eager to succeed in this country. Many of my students come from nations that do not offer opportunities for special education students to reach their full potential. In our school, they find a haven where differences are celebrated and young minds are nurtured and loved. Our Title I school provides 2 free meals a day to all students.
As a teacher of English as a New Language in a special education setting, I provide my students with as much small group instruction as I can. However, I can not always by engaged with every student. Often that gives some of my them time without direct instruction. Imagine, if this time could be spent on websites such as Newsela, Read Works, I-Ready, and Duolingo. For students with learning disabilities and attention issues iPads bring the world to life in an engaging and timely manner.
Over 90% of my students live in poverty; some families live in one room and struggle for the basics in life.
Hence, most of my students do not have a computer or internet at home.
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