Inclusive Education can and does work. It benefits all students more than it doesn't. Inclusive Education builds communities of respect, belonging, connections, and individuality. Ideally school communities will mirror the greater society in that inclusion is a 'principled approach to society'. I tend to keep my posts about the positiveness of building and supporting inclusive classrooms. However, there is another side to Inclusive Education- one that is hard to ignore...
Let me take a minute to introduce myself, my company, and what we have to offer. I am Heather Stiles. I have over 15 years working in various school systems as an elementary teacher. I am so so so close to finishing my Ed D in the area of inclusive education- though the revisions appear to go on forever! I just want to be finished- and I will, but the busyness of life always throws me curve balls. You see, I have three little monkeys, ages 7, 5, & 3, that keep me engaged, frustrated, amazed, and on my toes. As well, I work full time as an elementary student service teacher. So, I understand about prioritizing, baby steps, and just trying to stay afloat.
My Inclusive Classroom is a boutique consulting firm located in Halifax, Nova Scotia. However, we love technology and use it so we can connect with people all over the place! I only call it a boutique firm because we are small, specialized, and it sounds fun!
We opened our doors in Spring 2018, rather launched our website, our aim was to provide teachers with authentic, personalized, and effective professional development. However, we quickly learned that education requires so much more than just teachers and grew to include parents and organizations in our personalized approach to growth. We also offer a service called Video Pals which supports students and professionals in developing English Language skills.
My husband and I have been renovating our home for the last few months. Our home is filled with almost 200 years of quirks and stories- needless to say nothing is straight forward.
We started with a plan and ended with something totally different, but so much better than imagined. It was easy for us to buy our home and set out to tear down walls, open up rooms, remove the old coal burning fireplace and chimney, and fix the crookedness. However, once we moved in, prior to starting our work, everything changed.
The crookedness that was so bothersome and made it a race to clean up every spill quickly, the useless old chimney that no longer works and takes up space, the plaster walls with tiny crooked door frames, and the small rooms all landed on the reno list. Fix these and the house will awesome. Guess what, it did not take us too long to figure out that fixing those areas would not only modernize the home, but it would steal the home of its quirks and its soul.
Happy New Year!
I hope all you awesome educators had a restful break and are ready to tackle another exciting adventure with your students.
New Year resolutions are a great way to reset, develop, and push your professional awesomeness. However, I do feel that a teacher’s New Year is really September 1st. That is the (approximate) date we start fresh as a guide on a new adventure. It is the beginning of the school year we set out our annual expectations for our students and we lay out the necessary steps to achieve them. Often, we submit annual professional goals (or resolutions) for our professional development at that time time too.
However, January is a fabulous month to start implementing small changes in your practice. Really any day of the year is- but why not write about it during this first week in January! I am a huge fan of large goals to better support personal and professional growth. I love to set my mind on something and work towards getting there- and then relish in my success. BUT it is not the large goal that I truly care about- that is just a marker for me in understanding where I am and where I want to be. The journey or the steps to the destination or reaching the large goal is heart of the development.