For the second half of my student teaching this fall, I was in a special education classroom in a 4th-6th grade school. My teacher and I spent time with our students pulled out to our room during parts of the day, but we also went into classrooms to aid the inclusion teachers, especially during math class. The district mandated that low-performing students work with a phonics computer program for 25 minutes every day, so many of our students spent a chunk of their time in our room do that. I also used different reading programs to help and aided them with homework or projects that needed additional assistance.
This placement taught me about parents and communication more than anything else. I constantly had to communicate with parents and other teachers. The first week at the school, there were student-led parent conferences, which was a great place for me to introduce myself. At these conferences, several parents made requests for various things, and it became my job to fill it. This included specially made lined paper to help the student write and give space for editing and indenting paragraphs, behavior intervention plans, and a workbook for a student to complete for fun at her house. One visually impaired student also requested a giant multiplication chart for her to take home (the teacher had made one the week before I came for school), so I scanned and taped it on to a giant poster board for one giant multiplication chart.
Every day I communicated with parents through the students' assignment notebooks. I was very glad to have this experience working with the parents and other staff closely because that is often a side of teaching I did not have the opportunity to experience as just a college student. I even attended several IEP meetings with parents' permission and led one, including completing most of the paper work and completing all communication with the parent.
Well, that was my second experience in a nutshell. I was frustrated with it at times because I felt like I couldn't work with students much, but I did learn many things, especially about communication. I even attended the fifth grade field trip to the planetarium! Also, having fourth, fifth, and sixths graders was very different than my little first graders during the first part of student teaching, but I love them all! Oh, also at this school, I had my first few Amish students and was in a school where all students were given iPads to use during school (sixth graders could take them home). If you're interested in hearing more, I'd love to share, just let me know.