Creating a Welcoming Classroom for Special Ed Students: The Cult of Pedagogy Podcast, Episode 56 transcript
I can remember the first time I taught students with special needs. It was sixth grade, and twelve students with IEPs had been placed in a single class period with me. Despite the fact that I’d had a whole 3-credit college course devoted entirely to special education, I was absolutely clueless. I mean, I had seen their IEPs, but I didn’t really know how to interpret them. I was introduced to Kathy, the resource teacher who would accompany these students to class every day, but I wasn’t sure what her role was or what shape our relationship was supposed to take.
And needless to say, that year with that class period was an absolute train wreck. This is already a long episode so I’m not going to go into detail here, but let’s just say it was really, really hard. I know I didn’t serve those 12 kids well, and the remaining students also suffered, because I knew nothing about how to manage a class with such a wide range of abilities and needs.
I can only imagine how different that year could have been if I had known someone like Jam Gamble. I just discovered Jam–short for Jahmeelah–on Periscope a few weeks ago. She was talking about how she dealt with a student’s misbehavior one particular day, and just listening to the love in her voice and the careful way she handled this student’s feelings, not to mention the breakthrough she experienced with him, I knew right away she was the kind of teacher I absolutely loved. Once I realized her work focused primarily on special ed, an area I haven’t given nearly enough attention to on Cult of Pedagogy, I knew I had to have her on the podcast.
Ms. Jam is a developmental services worker in Toronto, Ontario. She supports students with disabilities, holds workshops, consults, and hosts her own TV show called A Voice for All, which focuses entirely on promoting disability awareness within the greater Toronto community. When discussing possible topics for our interview, Jam and I talked about how so many regular ed teachers feel inadequately prepared to serve the needs of students with special needs. But every year, more and more teachers are likely to have these students in their classrooms. Because Jam spends every day doing this kind of work, we decided to have her share some ways regular ed teachers could make their classrooms more welcoming for special ed students. Honestly, it was hard to squeeze all of it into one hour, and this interview certainly doesn’t cover ALL of the things teachers can do, but it offers some really smart, thoughtful advice teachers can start applying in their own classrooms right away.
📷 Say cheese!
Once again I found myself tweaking the Jam brand and what better way to do it than a photoshoot? A great headshot can make your brand look hella professional and that's exactly what you want potential customers to think when they visit your site.
I decided to team up with Lifestyle photographer, Rachel, from Sincerely Image and let me tell you folks that I'm SOOO happy that I did. Did you see those 4 photos above? No, let me show you 4 more!
Rachel did THAT 👏🏾!
When I received the Dropbox transfer, I dropped and I was squealing "but wait, who's this!?"
I truly believe that one's energy and their talents go hand in hand. One can't be fully successful without the other. I'm big on energy and that's what drew me to Rachel in the first place. Her calm demeanor totally compliments my large (?) personality 😂 so naturally we were so in sync during our shoot. Our location was the beautiful new wing at Square One Mall in Mississauga (big thanks to the Sq1 team for hooking us up!) Rachel was a professional from beginning to end! Again, I was being shot in a verrrry public area with people walking around and stopping to watch yet she managed to mute the background noise and get beautiful shots. You would think from looking at the finished products that we had the wing to ourselves.
Everyday when I look at these photos, I smile and dust my shoulders a little bit. I feel like potential clients could look at these headshots and could feel my energy radiating through which means...
Thank you, Rachel!
I absolutely love collaborating with new photographers. There's a high I get working with someone who's magic the industry hasn't seen yet.
Cue Wally J. Parker. Wally is a up and coming photographer in Toronto. I've known her for about 2 years but only recently discovered her love for the camera. When she started posting some of her shots, I sent her a message saying something along the lines of "Girl, yaaaas, we GOTTA work together!" And naturally she said, "Girl, yaaaaas! I'm SO DOWN".
Usually I discuss my vision with anyone I work with but for some reason, that didn't feel necessary with Wally. Her work honestly speaks for itself and she's no badass yet gentle that I was totally confident she knew what she was doing. One thing you may not suspect about me, is that I HATE taking photos in super public spaces. I get all insecure with people watching me and potentially judging me! So to my surprise, Wally chose Distillery District aka a super public location 😂. I didn't tell Wally this, but I rolled with it anyways because if anything, I can look at the shots she took so far to reassure me that I look good, right? WRONG. Wally didn't want me to see, which tripped me out big time, but once I saw the finished product, all my worries of smiling awkwardly as people watched, faded away. Why? Because Wally made me look like a Melanin Unicorn.
Her shots are beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. Her energy is so creative and free spirited, it really makes the shoot so easy! The angles she worked with, the subtle details she captured in the background, everything. Words aren't enough so see for yourself. Tell me if you too, see the melanin unicorn!
I can't thank Wally enough for capturing me in such a rustic yet chic manner. If you're looking for some new shots, family photos, or need an event covered, make the right choice and look up Wally J. Parker.
Melanin Unicorn Out ✌️🏾
I had some doubts about announcing this new service but the response was incredible! Soooo let's announce it officially!
Wedding March Playing In The Background
I, Jam Gamble, want to emcee your wedding reception.
Believe me when I say, ensuring audiences of all sizes have a memorable evening is my specialty.
Being married myself, I know from experience the importance of having a perfect reception. You want your guests to walk away feeling like they had a great night out celebrating people they love.
I can make that happen.
Planning your reception is the easy part. Getting to know you and your significant other is where all the fun begins!
Click the contact tab to plan an in person meeting!
Jam Gamble - Connector of People, Ideas and Energy