All Students Thrive
How do you make sure they are all accepted and progressing satisfactorily? When special education teachers or educational support professionals join your classroom, how do you determine how to work with your students and the other adults?
Those are just some of the challenges of an inclusive classroom. Here are some suggestions for working successfully with students of all abilities.
- Welcome all students. Avoid labeling students. When you refer to your students, make sure they’re all your students and not “the special ed teachers’ students” “the ELL teachers’ students,” “the Title I students,” “the gifted students,” and so on.
- Be supportive and flexible. You will need to adapt some of your assignments and strategies so students of all abilities can achieve success.
- Be an active member of the special education support team. Together you can discuss concerns and develop strategies for working with students with special needs. As a member of a student’s individual education plan team, you will have a say in the goals of the plan, which should reflect your goals for the general education classroom. If a student comes into your class with an established IEP, work closely with all the service providers and the parents to determine their top priorities.
- Enable all students to participate. Look for ways all students can share interests and ideas. Participating in an activity, classroom duty or discussion boosts self-esteem and confidence.
- Explore teaching options. After you “get your feet wet” in the classroom, consider co-teaching, collaborative partnerships or concurrent small group instruction with other staff, including special education teachers.
- Seek help from other teachers. Talk to someone with more experience. Find out how others handle specific situations. Look for ways you can support each other. If problems arise, quickly discuss them with the other staff, the building principal or the student support team. Create a collaborative planning team to address classroom issues on a regular basis and also celebrate your own learning.