Friday, August 08, 2008

Collaborative Teaching in Inclusion Settings

This was my classroom last year, Room 100.
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I am going to miss my classroom last year; my students enjoyed the privacy and there were no distractions due to hallway traffic because we were at the end of the corridor. The classroom was spacious enough for the eight computers that my students used. We had so much fun and good times in this classroom last year.
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I have spoken with my new principal yesterday about my room and class assignment. I was transferred from Room 100 to Room 118. I am excited with all the changes that is happening now. This will be the first time that we will be implementing inclusion in my school. I will be collaborating with the 6th grade regular education teachers to help my students become successful academically. Although the inclusion philosophy is not new to me, I have never tried this. I have always been a resource class teacher and once a self-contained class teacher. The custodian told me that he will be putting 30 chairs in my classroom. Honestly, I still do not know yet what inclusion model are we going to adapt in my school, but I trust my instructional supervisor (principal) on this. We have always failed our students in the past, and I believe my principal will help us move to the right direction. Every school year is an exciting new beginning. There's always something new to learn every day with my students in the classroom. That's why I have always enjoyed this profession.
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I was searching the internet on something about "middle school special ed inclusion" and I stumbled across the blog of "A Cohort 14 NYC Teaching Fellow". He related in one of his posts:
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This week I had a revelation. In order for me to be a successful teacher (and to feel good about my work), I have to be more involved in the design of the courses that I am co-teaching.Easier said than done.
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What it means, is that I must be a much more active participant in the construction of lesson plans and in the delivery of instruction. It is not enough to simply assist the teacher, or to work individually with the special ed students to make lessons more accessible. I must assert myself as a ‘strategy specialist’ (whatever that means) for the course, not just a disciplinarian in the class.
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The problem is time. Planning time. How is it at all possible to successfully plan three different course with three different teachers with limited co-planning time? I am trying to reach for the ideal, but the reality is hitting me in the face. I’m also dealing with working with teachers who are insensitive to the needs of Special Ed students. It’s not like they (the gen ed teachers) chose this field- so on many levels, I cannot blame them. However, I cannot bear witness, or co-sign on inappropriate teaching to students with special needs.
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So it appears like I need to somehow slip in some sensitivity training into my fellow colleagues.
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So yea, this is my revelation, but also my dilemma.
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And it will be mine too very soon. But I believe that we will get the proper training, support and resources on inclusion best practices in my school.

2 comments:

jmannii said...

Hi, I am a new DC Teaching Fellow, but I have been a social worker in DCPS for years. This year I will be teaching 6th graders in an inclusion setting at Janney ES.
Janney has been successfully using the inclusion model for years. It works so well that some students do not realize they are in special education because they are learning alongside their same-grade peers, who also do not often notice the differences in how students are treated. I have had a blast seeing inclusion in action at Janney and now I get to TEACH there!

I am excited for you! If you have problems or questions, stay in touch with me. Jmannii@hotmail.com

ms.angala said...

Great!

Yes, I will email you. I would like to hear more from you about what works and does not work for our students with pecial needs in a middle school inclusion setting. Thanks for your offer of support. This is the true meaning of special education indeed...collaboration, right?

Promethean Planet

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