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Vail, CO: Veteran teacher sees changes; more SPED students/kids with social emotional needs

Aug 16, 2018, Vail (CO) Daily: Rankin: What’s a teacher to do about ever-increasing requirements? https://www.vaildaily.com/opinion/rankin-whats-a-teacher-to-do-about-ever-increasing-requirements-column/ Joyce Rankin When I went off to college to learn to be a teacher, the responsibility of an elementary school teacher was mostly teaching "reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic," the "3 R's." Social studies, science and physical education rounded out the curriculum. … Since I've been a member of the state board, I've visited with teachers, administrators and taxpayers in the school districts I represent. I've found that we've come a long way from the "3 R's." … Another tough duty is dealing with special needs students. I recently visited with several special education teachers who specialize in Autism. Some students are with their teachers for part of the day and integrated into a general classroom the rest of the day. The special education teachers told me that it is essential that all classroom teachers take specific coursework in teaching and understanding students with autism. So far this is not a requirement. Teachers are also expected to incorporate "social and emotional" lessons into their classroom curriculum. Students are coming to school without skills usually learned at home; therefore, teachers need to include social-emotional skills in classroom lessons. Teachers are also required to have an understanding of suicide prevention, depression, mental illness and bullying. And then there's drug prevention, sex education and "safe schools." It's understandable why school administrators continue to request more school counselors and health professionals to address these needs. …