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Teaching Inclusion Classes

 


My passion is teaching student with disabilities.  This is often met with questions of REALLY? or you really want the inclusion class?  Yes, I do want the inclusion class, yes I want those classes with those students.  This leads to the question of why.   A big reason I love teaching inclusion classes is because of my coteachers.  A big reason my students are successful is because we are a team.  Coteaching takes work, communication, and respect.

I see on social media, blogs, and other places that teachers want to be respected and yet many times our special education teachers are disrespected by their coteachers or teachers in the building.  The special education who has a degree just like we have a degree.  

I've had the privilege to teach alongside many amazing coteachers who worked just as hard, if not harder than me.  I'm going to share what has lead our students to success in the various schools, grades, and subjects that I have cotaught.

First, it starts with respect.  The classroom may be my classroom and I may be the official name on their course list but it's our room.   Each year, we discuss where we want our teacher desks.  I don't put them in the corner or give them no desk at all.  When we meet the student and parents, we both introduce ourselves. 

Second, we discuss our expectations.  The big one here is do they want to teach and what are they comfortable with doing.  Most of my coteachers wanted to teach so we planned who was teaching what lesson.   Our classes are often full of student needing help, why not take advantage of having 2 teachers in the room.  

Third, communication is key.  The communication includes both verbal and nonverbal ques.  During the lesson, we would check with the other one to see how it was going.  At times this meant, whoever wasn't teaching grabbed a marker and jumped in.  This meant at times handing the lesson over them to try to explain it a different way because the students needed a different approach.  

Having a coteacher is so beneficial not only for all of the students but also for you as a teacher.  You can learn and grow.  It all starts with respect. 

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