Sunday, 8 September 2013

Yup! I Made It Through Week One!

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Phew!  I made it through the first week of my new work.  I met with staff, I met with a cohort group, I met with principals and I completed a ton of computer work on Google.  There is so much to learn in a new position and I always worry that I might be missing something.  But I realize that if I do miss something, I am sure someone will tell me about it.  Staff have been very kind in gently reminding me of practices they would like to continue.  

I am excited to have met with principals who are including students in their school and looking for positive ways to be more inclusive.  We have talked about possible math inservices for a junior high in order to differentiate for all students in the class as some are struggling.  We have talked about the possibility of students in a life skills class being integrated in some classes to start the year.  We have talked about how to support students on the Autism Spectrum to insure their success.  This is all very exciting to hear as folks begin to embrace inclusion as an expected practice.  But ... there are stories of teachers who are reluctant to welcome all students in their classrooms.  I expect I will hear more about these stories but for now, I am happy to hear principals are open to including all children in their schools.

One worry on the horizon was some discussion from a person who used language that was less than inclusive.  Words like "dumb" and "stupid" have no place in our vocabulary and to say "kids with IQs of 30-40 will never be able to do anything" should not be heard in our meetings.  My next step will be to have those difficult conversations with staff to insure we are respectful of all of our students we will be working with.  We still need to view students from a strength based view rather than dwelling on their challenges and to realize these people in our care are somebody's kids!  I would not want anyone talking about my children like that!

I do feel like I am madly treading water as I navigate this new journey but expect the pace to not necessarily slow down but to accustom myself to the needs and the duties of the days ( and to eat my lunch each day!)


  1. Oh, I love your vision!!

    In my experience (as the parent of a child with special needs, but also a former high school teacher), it was often the other parents who were the biggest obstacle to inclusion.

    Just last week, my best friend casually mentioned that she was afraid the special needs children in her Grade 1 son's class would "hold him back." And she knows me!

    I tried to gently educate her that the research shows that just doesn't happen, that ALL the children do better when all the children are included. She assured me that she wasn't talking about MY developmentally disabled child (whom she knows and loves), she was just afraid the teacher would have to "dumb down" the curriculum to teach "those" children.


    Thanks for being there for all the parents in your school district -- both the ones who appreciate what you're doing and the ones who haven't learned to yet.

  2. I will never understand insensitivity! I guess it is hard for some people to be compassionate if they have never walked any distance on this path. Until you experience some difficulty in life, you just don't get it. . . Then again, there are some folks I work with who really get it... but maybe I don't know their whole story?