Not enough can be said about teachers in the modern day. When you think about the hundreds of things that a modern teacher takes on and does, a far cry from anyone who may have started off as a teacher fifty years ago. The world has changed, and the responses to the world have changed. And not all the answers are in front of anyone even more so than perhaps any other time in history.
In an inclusive school, teachers have all sorts of extras that come with being a teacher. And ParaEducate wanted to highlight and thank them for their support.
- For being there when you didn’t have to be.
You were down the hall and the student we brought from the other side of campus screaming to have a sensory break was just not having any part of the walk, the sensory, or other options offered. You offered your room for the student to have a sensory break even though it was your down time. The student was apprehensive, and so were we, but the student enjoy the quiet space and a different room.
- For not understand a student with a disability, but were willing to try anyway.
So for a whole year, you shared a room with this group of students who you never saw before. And you observed and realized that all the students were as interesting as the students from the rest of your classes. You were so interested, you engaged and helped the students with their classwork and forged a bond that the students wouldn’t have had otherwise. You watched them be extraordinarily kind to a classmate with a more severe disability. You watched them overcome struggles that you were doubtful your child or any other student on campus would be willing to try and work through.
- For being welcoming to all students on campus.
Your room and your classes are the light in any paraeducator’s day. Even when they have to work twice as hard to keep up with the material: they still want to be in your room. You treat them professionally, you see all the students and hold them accountable for learning. You value their attempts to keep up with the things they can do even when they are working on other materials in class.
- Because you kept the department informed as a just in case, and it turns out we were drowning in IEP meetings and other events.
It wasn’t just the information pipeline to keep us informed, but it was reaching out and making sure we were a part of the campus events. Special Education isn’t that unfortunate “extra” department “over there”. Special Education is as important as the Math Department, the Language Department, the Art Department, the PLCs, and as Administration.
- For having faith in the paraeducator for understanding the class material and conveying the importance to the student.
The paraeducator just saw the assignment you wanted completed by the end of the class that day. And maybe, at best, you waved your hands over a piece of paper. And in the box, a half hour after the assignment was due, or even the next day, you can see that the student did the work and was attempting to participate in the assignment in a way that was meaningful to the student.
Teacher Appreciation Week isn’t just about the little “thank you” that can come, although it’s a really nice thing to hear about the ‘Thank you’ from the student, the parents, and most of all: each other. It is a very difficult job in difficult and challenging circumstances. And everyone matters. Not just the teacher, but the front office staff responding to a health alert for the student or the campus security who helped figure out that the student wanted to find the Library even though they typed jumbled letters into their AAC. It is a whole campus challenge to make inclusion work. To make everyone feel welcome. To be a professional vision to all the students for the model of a community that everyone truly wants.
ParaEducate’s Blog will sign off for the summer on May 28, 2015. Do you have any comments about this week’s blog? Are you interested in participating as a Guest Blogger for ParaEducate? Do you have a question for us? ParaEducate just joined Pinterst! Find ParaEducate online here, here, here and here. ParaEducate is company interested in providing materials, information, and strategies for people working in special education inclusion settings for grades K-12. ParaEducate, the blog, is published weekly during the academic school year on Thursdays, unless a holiday. ParaEducate shares their findings at conferences, through their books, and their academic adaptations.