We have often eluded to this phrase ‘a seat at the table’ in our presentations. But today, we really did experience what this means.
We had the chance to be held accountable with other general education teachers in a meeting about potential piloting new curriculum. And the paraeducators who attended apprehensively were probably not as thrilled, but they were invited to join the group and their ideas were respected as the institutional memory of the last pilot was not within the bulk of the group looking at the new curriculum.
Then the group realized that their paraeducators would benefit from the training on a new curriculum to spot check students, as a whole student population will be learning how to face the challenges posed by the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The teachers also listed other ways implementing curriculum in tandem with paraeducators would be useful for their next adoption, to be that leading edge, to take away the down time students could have in their education time getting them access earlier along their peers.
But beyond this, having a seat at the table with general educators reflectively means that the weight of special education’s role in every aspect of the education process was respected. And the paraeducators there walked away feeling highly valued and their contributions were something that could be heard, right, wrong, or just what was needed to make a coworker smile.
But this was one district. We know that this is not the norm. We know that many districts are challenged in this perception and may not get here as soon as many families will like.
The seats at the table will continue to add on. The communities are growing from listening to each other. But don’t say anything because it is to fill the space. Speak always to be meaningful. Pose questions that wonder. Make comments that notice. But never be afraid to not say something. Listening and processing is as important as being that voice at the table.
For all who celebrate the curves in life
Happy Pi Day (3/14)!
May there be pi and pie in your life in some variation.
ParaEducate will be off for Spring Break March 28th and April 4, 2019. Do you have any comments about this week’s blog? Do you have a question for us? Would you like to be a guest blogger? Would you like to have an opportunity to pilot some materials at your campus? Find ParaEducate online here, here, here, here,and on our website. Paraeducate is a 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.