School District: Ozark R-VI School District, Ozark MO
Classroom: 8:1:1 Self Contained Junior High School
Position: Functional Life Skills Teacher
Tamara Jackson has been using Rethink in her junior high school classroom for 4 years now. She began by watching the Rethink lesson videos with her paraprofessional, Judy Dewitt, and has worked over the years to fully incorporate Rethink into her classroom routines. Each of her students has their own Rethink box with their Rethink activities and accompanying materials. They work on any skills that they have mastered independently, with support from the classroom paraprofessionals, and work in stations that Tamara has set up to learn new skills.
“When you get these kids, especially at older ages, it sometimes seems like they aren’t capable,” she told us, “then you have Rethink, it shows you how you can teach these kids, you start to see success, and it makes you believe in them.”
“I’ve seen improvements in my students I never thought possible”
One of Tamara’s most inspiring teaching stories of her career was teaching a 7th grade student to zip up his coat with the help of a Rethink lesson video. When she met with the student’s mother at the beginning of the school year and asked what goals she had for her son that year, she just said that she wanted to see him zip up his coat. No one thought he could do it, Tamara explained, the OT, other teachers–they had tried without success.
So at the beginning of the school year Tamara watched the Rethink lesson video demonstrating how to teach the skill and started working on it. “I never would have thought to break it down like that,” she said. After about 2-3 months of working on the skill, he got it. “Everyone told me it wasn’t in his capability, and then he did it!”
It was the student’s idea to film himself zipping up his coat as a Christmas present for his mom! When she watched the video, she cried.