“Which classes do you want to teach?”

Seems like an easy enough question, but when I start thinking about the variables, I find myself stumped:

  • Which grade level(s)?  Options include KG1-KG3 (students are kept out of Grade 1 for up to 3 years until they have been deemed to have sufficient signing skills, which in most cases means they are learning their first language in Kindergarten), Class 1-8, and Vocational (woodworking for the 9th graders who were not accepted into high school).  Also a possibility: staff training (computers, KSL, etc).
  • Which subject(s)?

I am guided by the following questions, to which I am furiously trying to find answers:

  • What can I do that would best serve as a springboard to a wider audience?  Helping 10 kids is great, but helping a thousand is better if I finish the class with a sustainable strategy that can be implemented by non-volunteer staff.
  • In which subject is the school weakest?  I found this answer today.  According to the standardized test scores, science.
  • An improvement in which subjects would benefit the children the most?  So their science is weak, but my gut tells me that more English would benefit them most.
  • In most cases I am displacing another teacher’s time in the classroom.  Which teacher would I want to displace?  Should I identify the weakest teachers and their weakest subjects and vie for them?  Or should I try to split a class/subject in two according to the children’s abilities and take half of them?
  • How much free time will I have to do more after school, like extra-curriculars, research, library and computer time, etc?
  • HERE IS THE BIG ONE: When are these children most susceptible to positive intervention?  Translated: when is it too soon and when is it too late?  On one extreme we have high-school aged students in the vocational school, and probably I will teach them math (geometry that applies to measurements) and English (that might help in business).  This is very tangible and the success is visible, but at the same time it’s incremental and late in the game.  On the other hand we have the KG classes.  Since they are building their first language, mostly by communicating and playing with each other, is this too early to really build written language skills?  I have been trying to take advantage of Google Scholar, Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, and American Annals for the Deaf but there’s so much information, and it’s obnoxious to have to purchase articles!  If anyone has any guidance, I have mostly been searching for “late intervention efficacy prelingual deaf.”

I am still trying to get school records to try to identify patterns.  It appears that, like my instinct suggested, children who do well when young continue to do so all the way through school.  If that is a given, it would seem that the sooner I can make a difference, the better, and that the child will take care of him/herself later, but a) is it possible with such a late intervention and b) what are the best pedagogical strategies to make it happen?

In general, the earlier the better, but the summary sounds pretty vague: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/102/5/1161

Pretty specific and relevant study on KCPE score as a fairly linear predictor of KCSE performance: https://circle.ubc.ca/handle/2429/1239

(Sill looking for research that predicts 8th grade performance based on younger ages— at what age is your destiny decided?

I am surely overthinking this, as is my style, since at the end of the day the Peace Corps Temp Agency put here here to be a teacher, not to save the world, but doesn’t everyone join the Peace Corps for the latter reason?

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