I am both a parent and an educator. Like most parents, I am trying to navigate the school system as well as I can- clear as mud?!
As an educator, I am trying to teach all my students something new :) Seriously, I have a group of amazing & unique individuals. My aim for each year is to support and guide my students forward in their educational journey.
As a 'teacher' parent, I try really hard to leave my insider knowledge at the door when I am wearing my parent hat. THIS IS IMPORTANT- I have to let myself trust my children's teachers. I do check in daily with one teacher (see Inclusive Education: A Parent's Guide to Inclusion), but I leave my teacher hat at school. It is common to hear me say I know a lot about teaching until it has to do with my kiddos.
Anyway, the aim of this post is to provide a little insider knowledge on program planning for parents from a teacher. Teachers need parents: we need your help, we need your insight, we need your perspective, and we need you on the team. It does not matter who your child is, where your child is, if your child requires significant support or not, teachers & parents need to work together.
In the next section of this post, I will outline a few key terms thrown around in program planning and what they all mean. As well, I will try to give you a few areas to think about when starting to navigate the school system.
What is Inclusive Education? What is the purpose of inclusion?
Inclusion is an approach to society that allows for all its members to have opportunities to be present, participative, and to achieve. In terms of school, inclusion is a school system built on the foundation of all students being on an individual educational journey as part of a learning community. It is about individuals as part of a group.
Parents this one is for you!
If you have read some of my posts or if this is your first one, a message I need to hit home for you is the importance of parents/guardians in all student's educational journey. I truly believe as a teacher that connecting with my students' home life is key to me understanding who they are as learners. Parents and guardians you know your children better than I ever will: you have tricks, insight, and perspective that can help me to help your child.
TEACHERS NEED YOU!!!!
To help you understand my teaching perspective more, I have written this post- JUST FOR YOU! I want to share with you what you need to know about our current Inclusive Education system. Inclusion has transformed from its initial roots into something bigger and broader. It has changed from being a policy that ensures those who are excluded are included to an approach that celebrates diversity and individuality.
Intentionality is defined as the act of being deliberate or purposive. It is a mental state that directs thoughts, actions, beliefs, and hopes toward a certain 'state of affairs'. Teaching with intentionality is thoughtful, it is reflective, and it focuses on purpose.
Teaching inclusively requires you to teach with intention. In order to ensure you are targeting (or trying to target) your 7-10 students (and everyone in between), preparation is key. You need to plan, you need to think, and you need to hook your students. Just like preparation is key, so is failure. Failure in your lessons, failure in your preparation, and failure in your attempts gives you experience and knowledge from which you can draw when teaching with intention. Remember, the intentionality of teaching requires thought, reflection, and purpose
Do you ever feel bogged down at work? Overwhelmed? Do you feel alone? Instead of blaming others or letting yourself get more frustrated, why not ask yourself about your professional support system. ARE YOU A TEAM???
A team approach is key to the success of an inclusive environment- whether it be an office or a school setting. Making connections & collaborating with your colleagues, your supervisor, and those you supervise is an important aspect of your professional practice.
'People skills' are a necessary component of supporting inclusive systems- you cannot do it alone! Inclusion is an approach to community. Some of us have stronger social skills than others, some of us are shy and others are more outgoing. However, the one thing we all have in common is that we need to socialize and work with others in both our professional and personal lives. Everyone needs to work on how to be a part of a team when supporting a common goal.
Below you will see a list of 9 areas to focus on to help improve your 'people skills' and, ultimately, your professional team.
1. BIG PICTURE
2. KEEP YOUR COOL
3. POSITIVE BODY LANGUAGE
4. BE HONEST
5. USE YOUR MANNERS
7. BE FRIENDLY
9. SCRATCH OUT THE NEGATIVITY
Keep reading if you want to learn a little more about each area and how you can make a few changes to support your team approach.