What She Wore: Dark, turquoise tee with a scoop neck; white fish-tale skirt with turquoise embroidery all over it; turquoise slides with a kitten heel. The girls liked my skirt.
It’s been a while since I talked about my job, and it occurs to me that I’ve never really fully explained it. I am what is called an inclusion teacher. I spent three years teaching disabled readers before this job, and had no idea what to expect when I first accepted.
I realize that most people don’t know what an inclusion teacher is, so here’s the best explanation I can muster. A large portion of the children served by Special Education aren’t totally disabled. Some have normal I.Q.’s and learning disabilities, some have ADHD, some have low I.Q.’s, but are fairly capable, and some have emotional disturbances. These are the kids that have largely been failed by the special education system. They languish in resource classes learning little or nothing, and never being challenged.
At some point, it became apparent that students in these situations weren’t learning anything. The solution was clear—the children should be left in regular classes as much as possible.
You can’t imagine the controversy that this has caused.
Everybody has a passionate opinion on inclusion–but, so far, the data has supported the move. I think the real issue is two people have to compromise on how to work with kids–teachers are not good with compromise, but we figure out a way to work it out.
Now, rather than pulling kids out of the regular classes, the special education comes to them. I work in math two periods and science two periods. I have lists of kids who need special services and I keep an eye on them. There are also kids in the class who are no special ed. It’s a mix. I’m not in charge of lessons plans or very much instruction. My job involves adapting the curriculum so my kids can be successful, modifying tests, sometimes reading selections out loud, and re-teaching when necessary.
Whew, so that’s what the inclusion teacher does. Some days it’s really rewarding, and sometimes it’s boring. My greatest responsibility is to be an advocate for these kids. I take it very seriously.
Right now my big challenge is getting to know the kids and figuring out what kind of help they need. Luckily, the classes are pretty small, and I think its’ going to be a good year. These kids are SO smart! And did I mention cute? Jeez. You’d think I’d given birth to them myself.