Recently, I was sitting in a meeting listening to a teacher speak about a student who is struggling to meet their grade level curriculum. In this instance she was talking about all the things this child cannot do and how she is thinking it is 'ADHD', but 'there is definitely something not right'. She ended her presentation by saying 'I don't get it. There is some potential, I just don't see it'.
SAY WHAT??? I always squirm when I hear people diagnose students based on what they see in the classroom- a teacher's role is to teach children based on their individuality and not to fix a child based on what they perceive to be wrong with them. But I was out of skin when I head that last comment about potential. EVERY CHILD HAS POTENTIAL....lots of it!!!
All our students can succeed. They will succeed in different ways, in different areas, and at different times. A challenge with traditional schools (based on curriculum guides, standards, and norms) is that potential is not always seen for all of our students... especially the most unique or those who do not conform to the 'norms'.
As a teacher, I am right there with you about frustrations. I want to teach each and every kiddo, meet them where they are and guide them (yank them) forward. I struggle with the tensions found in inclusive systems still holding onto traditional policies and practices (AKA modern special education). I struggle with meeting the needs of seven students, let along a class of twenty-five plus. It is downright hard!
There is no easy way to teach inclusively: premade lessons, materials, and resources support the middle- the expectation of curriculum guides. These types of easy to purchase and easy to implement supports are not easily effective in inclusive settings. This is painful! Parents and guardians want to know where their kiddos stand compared to the grade level expectation- but in inclusive settings, we teach to the individual.... where they started and where they are now. How does this thinking get you into university? Better yet, prepare you for the real world?!
I have no answer about how inclusive school systems are preparing students for the real world if you reduce the emphasis on standards. BUT, what I say is that inclusive school systems are meant to mimic a wider inclusive community and society. If our students are learning that all students have potential, all students will have a meaningful role in society, and everyone is valued for who they and what they do, we will end up with a much more connected and a much nicer society. In order to
You see, if we begin to change what we value and place emphasis on in school, all students will succeed. A teacher’s role is to nurture and foster growth, independence, and confidence through school activities. Light little fires under our students and help them soar!!💕 We need to be cognizant that success is not always coming in a traditional sense- or the way we believe success to look based on our experiences. HOWEVER, they can and will succeed. Instead of saying they can’t do something or they are struggling.... say They can do this and they need some support to this....🙌🙌 Change the narrative!