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3.4 Field Work Assignment

ITL 606: Learners and Learning II

Randy Wright

National University

Teacher Interview

School: Stanford Middle School City or Town: Long Beach, CA

Teacher’s Name: Bryan Feely, Date 01/16/2019

[ X] General Education [ X] Special Education Designation / Grade Level(s) 6-8

In your professional opinion:

1. How important is it for students to have their basic needs met in order to be successful in
School? Why do you think so?

Teaching middle school students, Bryan stresses the important of meeting every child’s

basic needs. At Stanford Middle School, students enter a larger school campus with more

students; they are going through their own changes (puberty, etc.) and becoming more

independent, not just academically, but socially and behaviorally as well. If the staff fails to

meet the basic needs of any student; he believes they jeopardize the motivation and willingness

for that student to try. He states how they proactively work hard to meet everyone’s needs,

otherwise the reaction is a student who doesn’t participate and eventually receives a poor grade.

Bryan made it clear he does not like to give poor grades, and is really concerned when he sees

students not motivated to participate and how he makes every effort to get them back on track.

His efforts have included working extra with students during lunch and after school, placing

them in supportive peer groups during activities, providing options during activities they don’t

prefer, and eventually contacting parents to discuss concerns regarding behavior.


Staff is responsible for meeting all students needs, we work together to ensure that every student
is comfortable, becomes independent, adjusts to the changing environment academically,
socially, and behaviorally. Meeting basic needs gives students the comfort of belonging and this
extends into their motivation and willingness to work.

I feel like if a student doesn’t participate it’s a reflection of my teaching, I didn’t make a
connection with that student. The end result is a bad grade, I don’t like giving bad grades it’s on
the student and on me as well. I try to give students extra opportunities during lunch and after
school, group them with friends, give them choices of activities, to increase motivation.

2. Which needs are most important to have satisfied so students can thrive in school? Why?

Students come to school every day; he addresses safety and belonging as the top two

needs in regards to importance. Safety is extremely important in PE. There are kids who have

never performed some of the activities and worked with such a large group of peers. There are a

number of different ability levels and speeds at which kids play. For example, the current lesson

is soccer. Some kids have played for years. If they are not aware, their speed advantage makes

it possible to run over other students. Also, some students have learned the art of the slide

tackle, whereas other students have not. If the other students model this technique without the

preparation and training, they may hurt someone. Therefore, slide tackling is forbidden at

Stanford. The same example can be considered for belonging. Some students know what it’s

like to be a part of a team and they are comfortable in PE working with their peers. Others have

no experience, the teachers work real hard to ensure the students learn to become comfortable

working with their peers.

As for physiological, esteem, and self-actualization, through the years he has observed

that some students need individualized attention to those needs and are usually independent

cases. He stated that ‘you never know what today will bring in PE. You can even break it down

further, and say you never know what each class will bring today. With fifty plus students you

just can’t prepare in advance for what exactly the day will bring.’ Bryan does not like to

publicly address personal issues; the staff would rather work with the individual to understand

what their needs are and handle the situation accordingly.


Most important is safety and belonging: Safety in PE can be the physical act of doing, having
their belongings secure in the locker room, willingness to try without negative reaction.
Belonging can be the negative reaction as well, being a part of a team, acceptance of abilities.

Example: soccer, being on a team and helping the team, speeds and abilities of different
students, slide tackling experience and no experience = not allowed at school

All classes are different, every year different, makes it really hard to prepare. You have
expectations and experience helps you react to situations, but really, it’s wait and see what
happens then respond.

Physiological, esteem, and self-actualization are treated individual. We don’t like other students
to know limitations of individuals, it’s not their business, best to be discreet.

3. Who is responsible for ensuring that students have their needs met? Why do you think so?

Bryan explains the responsibility for ensuring that students have their needs met is done

as a collective whole, or the entire school. He explains how one person on this campus cannot

possibly ensure that all students needs have been met. The collective whole is represented by

collaboration, friendly conversations, and especially the willingness to work with colleagues. In

PE there are five teachers. They constantly share information and experiences with past students

to help inform the student’s new teacher. ‘We never make plans on our own.’ Curriculum

design, classroom management, assessments, and evaluations are constantly discussed and ideas

are shared so all students and teachers can have a positive learning experience at Stanford.


Responsibility is with everyone, we try to be a team and help each other out. From curriculum to
assessments, the PE teachers discuss the expectations and grading policies for PE. We don’t
want students to think one teacher is easier or harder.

Use your resources; we have a nurse, counselors, psychologist, if you are in doubt someone is
there to help.

The PE staff talks daily about students, lessons, family, life, etc.

4. What is one thing a teacher might do for a student who has physiological or safety needs?
Why would this be useful?

Bryan clearly explained how it depends on the situation. Stanford has a full time nurse, a

counselor and a school psychologist on campus for students. He has a student with bee allergies

so he has an epi-pen always in his possession just in case that student is stung. Bee stings require

immediate first aid to avoid a possible allergic reaction. With guidance of the nurse, Bryan has

been provided the knowledge to administer the injection. Time is of the essence with allergic

reactions and bee stings, this helps provide the student with immediate care which is vital for the

students safety needs.


1 thing – bee sting allergies and a epi-pen. Nurse has given me training to use. This is a
situation where the sooner we act the better it will be for student.

5. Ensuring Safety needs are met and making sure students are ready to learn involves classroom
management. What are three things you do to manage your classroom?

To manage his classroom when it’s time to learn Bryan begins by signaling for attention.

This could be a hand in the air and a five second countdown, or if the class is real loud a short

tweet of the whistle and a five second countdown.


Bryan next presented the importance of fair rules and progressive discipline. The rules

are shared amongst the five PE teachers. They are presented with emphasis the first week of

class and routinely discussed when problems begin to develop. The rules are established for all

students to follow, and Bryan was quick to point out that rules must be consistent for everyone

and followed by all students. Progressive discipline involves four steps. First the student is

given a warning. Next, the student is removed from the activity and given an assignment in

regards to the rule broken and how it’s not appropriate in PE class. Then the student is given

detention, to be served at lunch or after school. With detention a written slip is sent home for

parents to sign. Finally, the student is sent to the office and Bryan provides a report of the

problem to the office. Bryan did note how severe problems do have the ability to pass the first

three steps and the student proceeds to the office. For instance, Stanford has a strict no-bullying

policy. If bullying is observed during PE class the student is immediately sent to the office. He

explained how this helps by showing students the severity of their actions in hopes to prevent

them from repeating the action or doing it in the first place.

The third and final point Bryan presented was having a good rapport with his students so

they want to attend his class. Bryan commented how if students respect the teacher, it’s easier to

respect other students and respect the classroom environment. He explained the importance of

getting to know your students. If you take an active interest in your students, you will see their

interest extends beyond you and transfers to the classroom environment. He made it clear that a

student, who is interested, is more likely to be motivated and inspired to participate at a positive

level during class. I was impressed by the attitudes of Bryan’s students. They were very

positive and appeared to enjoy participating in PE daily. It was also great to see Bryan’s

connection with former students. They would come to PE and say ‘Hi Mr. Feely, how are you

doing today?’ They didn’t say it to be nice; they were genuinely interested in how their former

teacher was doing.


I signal the class by putting my hand up or blowing my whistle then I use a 5 second countdown.

Fair rules are key to success. Must be fair and equitable to all students and never be perceived as
playing favorites. We spend a lot of time discussing rules during the first week and review the
rules if problems become consistent.

We have 4 steps to progressive discipline: warning, removed from activity with a small
assignment on rule broken, detention served at lunch or after school with a slip and parent
signature, send student to office. We do have situations where students are sent straight to office
like bullying. This is school-wide policy and all teachers send students to office directly to
office for bullying. Big issues are identified school wide to prevent from happening.

Establish a positive rapport with students and build respect. We respect each other, respecting
classroom becomes easier. Become interested in your students, current and former. This makes
the environment much more friendly and enjoyable.

6. How do you decide what rules and routines to employ?

Bryan does not make the classroom rules. The rules are established by the PE

department, and are enforced collectively by the five teachers. For example, rules include: no

gum chewing, water only (no Gatorade), and locker room expectations. Any of the five teachers

have the authority to enforce the rules on all students. This is especially important when

considering genders. Clearly, the male teachers enforce rules for the male students while in the

locker room, and the women teachers are responsible for the rules in the female locker room.

The teachers work together and report back to their colleagues if there are any rule infractions.


I don’t make the rules we (all PE teachers) make the rules. The most basic rules are the ones that
most often get broken: chewing gum, eating/drinking, and screwing around in the locker room.
We all help each other in enforcing rules and report back to each other. I have female students
but can’t regulate the female locker room; I need the help of the female teachers. It works both

7. Do these fit for students who have a Behavior Intervention Plan? How do you assess
progress? What do you do for students from a different culture?

Bryan said for the most part, the rules fit for students who have a Behavior Intervention

Plan. The rules set by the PE teachers are very common and are not so crazy that a student can’t

understand and comply. For students with a plan, the teachers complete routine progress reports

that identify behavior. The reports are individual and are viewed by the student, teachers,

administrators, and family members. Every few weeks the report goes home and is signed by a

parent. He explained by having this network of support, the student is less inclined to misbehave

because there is awareness by a number of different people.

In terms of other cultures, Stanford does have privacy areas for those with modesty issues

and if needed, the teachers make accommodations for students with religious/cultural beliefs that

may not necessarily align with expectations. Teachers need to adjust to honor and respect the

student’s way of doing things.


We don’t have a specific Behavior Intervention Plan, but do have reports on students with
continued negative behavior and have access and contribute weekly to those reports. The reports
are done by all the student’s teachers and every couple of weeks the reports go home and are

signed by a parent. This increases accountability and deters the student from misbehaving. I
would hope the student wants to show everyone how well they are behaving.

PE rules are fairly common and uniform from school to school. I don’t write a bad report for
chewing gum, that type of discipline I mentioned before. It’s got to be something big for me to
write a negative report on a student with a plan, otherwise it goes back to the 4 step rules

Culture: we have privacy areas for students with modesty issues.

Cultural/religious beliefs: we try our best to accommodate; you have to adjust at times as
students are different and have different beliefs

8. How do you organize your classroom / educational environment to support classroom


Every day the students go straight to the locker room to change and then head directly to

their roll call numbers for attendance and warm ups. When I visited it was a rainy day. Students

got changed and sat on the locker room benches until they were told by a teacher to enter the

gymnasium. In the gym the students sat down and were lined up in rows for attendance. The

students remained seated until they were instructed to do otherwise.

During activities, groups are made either by Bryan ahead of time or in a way that

minimizes the loss of class time. If Bryan doesn’t make groups in advance, he will break

students up by roll numbers, alphabetically, by rows or columns, or by gender based on the

activity. He explained how the most important element of PE is getting students active. Too

much time can be spent on non-active administrative procedures. By being organized and

having a plan, Bryan minimizes the downtime and maximizes the time spent being active.


Daily routine: go to locker room, change, and head straight to roll numbers.

Today with rain was different. Rainy day = plan B. Can’t let students go directly to gym so we
have them sit on locker room benches and release them to gym.

I prefer to make groups ahead of time, it saves down time and increases activity time.
Sometimes I break groups by role numbers, alphabetically, attendance rows/columns, or maybe
gender based on activity we are doing. You factor in locker room, attendance, time is short.
You have a limited time to get kids active; I try to get as much out of a period as possible.

9. With classroom management in mind, what advice would you give me regarding how to
establish good classroom management in my first class?

Bryan was clear that classroom management is an ongoing process. He explained how I

will not have the answers right away. He has been a teacher for twenty years and that every year

and every class is different. For example, he may perhaps organize his second period differently

than his seventh period because of the abilities and needs of the students. He explained to me

how to take things in stride and most importantly, be fair, and be consistent.


Classroom management is continuous and ongoing. You will not have answers right away.
Been teaching for 20 years and every class is different. The plan for 2nd period does not fit the
students in 7th period. Must be fair, consistent, and take things in stride.

10. When you know that a student has a specific need that most of the other students do not have,
what do you do to address that need?

Bryan elected to answer the first question. He provided the example of his third period

class where he has eight moderate/severe special education students included with forty-six

general students. Bryan regularly uses a whistle to get the attention of his students. In third

period some of his SPED students are sound sensitive to the whistle. Instead, he has an

electronic whistle with a less intense sound that doesn’t bother sound sensitive students yet

provides the same basic function. He explained you can learn a lot about your students by

reading and understanding their IEP. ‘You don’t want to understand problems based on trial and

error.’ By learning about students and having a plan in place, the teacher can address and assist

the student’s need and avoid having an unpleasant experience during class. He also noted the

importance of reaching out to parents. In general, schools don’t prioritize the needs of students

in physical education classes as a priority like the general classroom. By starting a dialogue with

family members and letting people know you are aware and care, it becomes apparent that you

are addressing needs and are genuinely concerned with the success of their child.

Notes – Question 1

3rd period APE kids join general PE. Bryan and PE teacher Amy share most of special needs
kids because teaching style best works, and seniority.

3rd period has 54 students, and 8 with mild/severe disabilities and a few are sound sensitive. I
use an electronic whistle instead of normal whistle, it’s not as loud.

PE is more difficult than general classroom. More students and less help. No aids, no special ed
class, we pretty much are on our own. It’s really important to talk with others to learn, it takes
too much time to figure it out on your own.

Read and understand students IEP, you can learn a lot before school begins and get better
prepared. Don’t want to wait for problems if you can learn what potential problems exist in

Also can learn a lot from parents, reach out to parents and not just about the negative. They
really appreciate your concern and it establishes a great support system. If you only reach out for
negative, parents become more hostile and confrontational.


This field study at Stanford Middle School in Long Beach, California provided me with

useful information on classroom management and extended my knowledge on what it means to

become a professional teacher. In a word I summarize my experience as positive. The PE

teachers at Stanford are a team, working together to provide the best learning experience for all

students. The students had a wide range of abilities and needs but shared a common

characteristic; they were happy and enthused about attending PE class. “In Maslow’s theory,

needs that are lower in hierarchy must be at least partially satisfied before a person will try to

satisfy higher-level needs. The more people are able to meet their need to know and understand

the world around them, the greater their motivation may become to learn still more”(Slavin,

2018. p. 250). Bryan has established a classroom environment where all students are

appreciated, respected, and there’s genuine concern for student success. This has provided

students with the opportunity to feel wanted, improving their physiological needs, safety,

belonging, and self-esteem. By satisfying student deficiency needs students have “a strong

motivation to achieve the higher-level growth objectives”(Slavin, 2018. p. 250). Maslow

indicates growth objectives as self-actualization. The PE classes I witnessed had motivated

students respecting, appreciating, and working with each other. Slavin defines self-actualization

as; “The desire to become everything that one is capable of becoming and characterizes the term

by the acceptance of self and others”(2018. p. 250). I watched the general PE class support and

praise each other repeatedly during the classes I observed. I saw individuals try their hardest to

not just achieve for themselves, but for their peers as well. I experienced a class where students

with mild to severe disabilities were included, and there were no changes in the behavior of

general students, just acceptance and admiration. The respect shared by teachers and students of

varying abilities and needs supports learning growth and Maslow’s theory.


As I reflect on my field study assignment I think about and appreciate the words I shared

with Bryan. Bryan never once complained about his role as a PE teacher. We discussed how

general education has the benefit of special services, aids, and separate classrooms for students

with mild to severe disabilities and PE does not. He never complained, but only mentioned that

it’s challenging and he’s still learning how to become a more effective teacher. Having forty-six

general education students and eight mild to severe disability students can be overwhelming.

Bryan didn’t even see it as a challenge; he believed it was an opportunity. I understand his

position, as teachers we are the lucky ones. Having the opportunity to learn from students with

different personalities, cultural backgrounds, needs, and abilities helps us grow to become better

teachers, and better people. I learned the value of respect and how it manifests into a positive

classroom environment. Even on a rainy day when the class routine has been disrupted, having

established a positive classroom environment results in a positive management experience.

As a future teacher I will take this information and apply it to my practice. I see the value

in learning and understanding your students. Providing a safe environment is essential, but

safety is not just having students abide by the rules. Safety means supporting students with the

freedom to be themselves, unafraid of mistakes, and a willingness to achieve beyond their

expectations. I see how Bryan motivates his students, as it’s reflected in how they are inspired to

achieve and assist others in achieving as well. I will treat each student with respect and

understand that modalities of instruction may need to change to help students with varying

abilities and needs. I appreciate the advice Bryan offered. He explained that I will not have the

answers right away, and to take things in stride, to be fair, and to be consistent. His honesty with

me is reflected in his honesty with his students. He doesn’t win students over with fun games

and rewards, the relationships are built on trust, fairness, compassion, and loyalty. By satisfying

the students’ deficiency needs, Bryan’s students have the opportunity to reach the top of

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid. Self-actualization and student growth are evident in the

acceptance of self and others, this is a classroom environment that I will strive to achieve.

Observation Notes Important To Me

2 new games learned: stinger tag – like freeze tag but students use noodle to tag others.
Unfrozen if 3 kids touch frozen kids. Lot of running and chasing, without aggressive tagging by

Gaga Ball – must underhand hit a ball off others to get them out. Ball stays low and mainly rolls,
all students can participate, including APE kids in 3rd period. Will modify game in 3rd period to
play from knees or stronger kids use ‘off hand’. Teacher monitors as official. During game a
number of students were sitting waiting their turn. Could have an exercise station instead, keeps
kids sitting out more active and occupied

Rainy day: teachers would meet before class to discuss what rooms they would use.
Communication improved coordination of activities, once class started plan was already in place
and no confusion.

Soccer was intended lesson for day: teachers will meet to decide if they will add an extra week
to make up lesson for rainy week lost, or to just to push on and cut lesson down by a week

Options: one class played dodge ball – modified by having a ball rest on a cone. If ball gets hit
down game immediately over. Strategy is to not just hit people but to hit the ball off the cone,
GREAT IDEA! If students didn’t want to play they could go into another room with individual

exercise equipment. Not everyone likes aggressive competitive dodgeball, having options on
certain activities is a GREAT IDEA!

One teacher does lecture on rainy days with pen and paper. Reviews rules, skills, and techniques
of activity being covered (soccer). Tests them on knowledge for evaluation.

APE: had 15 students and 8 go with Bryan. APE has a teacher, she stays with other 7. She has
a number of aids/volunteers and 1 part time employee to help. APE teacher does travel from
school to school in district helping other students. APE students clearly model the actions of the
general PE students. Inclusion very positive during Gaga Ball and the energy was extremely
positive. There was a lot of teacher/student support for APE students. Could see APE students
learning and gaining comfort in game. Much more active in 2nd game once they observed and
participated in 1st game. One APE student did have to leave the room because it was too loud.
Seemed pretty normal like it has happened before.


Slavin, R. E. (2018). Educational psychology: Theory and practice. NY, NY: Pearson.