Teachers are entrusted with our most precious commodities, and expected to be able to rise to any and all challenges. Many teachers face a daunting task every day, attempting to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of all students. Special needs inclusive classrooms, from time to time, can create new and difficult challenges for teachers to face.
Many of the top challenges faced by teachers in special needs inclusive classrooms are personal. A good teacher must know how to maintain integrity, respect, patience, enthusiasm, and a sense of community within the confines of their classroom.
The classroom atmosphere must always be safe and inviting, free of bias for students from all walks of life, either based on gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status, race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, and intellectual ability. All students must be treated with the same fairness and respect that is due all students.
The student body should believe what you are selling as educational philosophy, and you should always come across as the consummate professional. Students need to trust in you, and should always value your opinions, and vice-versa. A good teacher speaks so that the students will listen, and listens so that the students will speak.
Teaching in special needs inclusive classrooms can be rather taxing in and of itself, but when there are other challenges tossed into the fray, teachers must find a way to persevere. Many challenges are known prior to the start of class, but some challenges are hidden, coming to light at the most inopportune moments.
Remaining an effective teacher no matter which students are in front of you is something all teachers should strive toward.
The top challenge that teachers face in special needs inclusive classrooms is devoting as much of your time and energy to every student as possible. Teachers must be fair with their expertise and knowledge, and spread the wealth as much as possible. Every student has the right to a quality education, and the delivery of curriculum should be constant throughout the duration of the course.
Special needs inclusive classrooms are the norm in today’s education. Emphasis is being placed now on Differentiated Instruction, and making certain that every student has the same opportunities to learn.
An effective teacher faces challenges on a daily basis in terms of how to deliver their curriculum, but at times this can be augmented with a special needs inclusive classroom. Reaching every student is of paramount importance, and the sage teacher finds the best ways to reach all students.
Some of the biggest concerns deal with student safety, class participation, mutual respect, and learning styles. Taking anything for granted can no longer be done, and you must teach from square one. A special needs inclusive classroom is wonderful, and full of potential teaching moments that arise without warning. A teacher can have no trepidation in terms of teaching a special needs inclusive class, rather the opportunity must be embraced.
A teacher faces many challenges when teaching in a special needs inclusive classroom. There are many different factors to consider, and the teacher must be ready, willing, and able to deal with any number of situations. Depending on the severity of the special needs, safety must be considered.
The classroom has to be a safe learning environment for all students. If every student does not feel safe, their learning may be compromised. The safety issue could be for the protection of other students (if the special needs student has violent outbursts), safety from an emergency standpoint (access to exits, ambulatory abilities), and safety from internal and external facets of the classroom (toxic materials).
Special needs inclusive classrooms are a wonderful way to teach all students about differences, humility, patience, compassion, and acceptance. Every child is entitled to the exact same education, and students with special needs should be included in every aspect of the learning environment.
Teachers, however, do face several challenges while trying to deliver their curriculum. Some of these challenges may be self-imposed. Teachers must be confident in their teaching abilities, and they must be willing to adapt to a different environment.
In the special needs inclusive classrooms, the teacher must implement all of the curriculum that has been mandated by the Ministry of Education. The teacher is taxed with the job of instructing every student, and trying to reach every student, most of whom have extremely diverse learning styles.
Figuring out a way to reach every student is tough enough, but when some specific needs come into the classroom, the teacher faces certain challenges.
The classroom landscape has been altered radically over the past several decades. The classroom is now home to not just students, but now there are also teaching assistants, personal support workers, peer tutors, and students that are auditing the class for reasons more social than academic.
The extra adults in the room are a great boon to the classroom, adding an extra authority figure, but sometimes they can be resented. A teacher must recognize them as additional resources, and welcome their input and expertise.
As a teacher, the top challenges to teaching a class that is special needs inclusive are;
*Respect for all persons in the classroom. Every student should feel equal, and that their opinion is respected and highly sought after.
*Extra adults in the room. The teacher feels as though they are being watched, and they may be tentative, altering their natural style of teaching, which is detrimental to the students. They have to work together, and respect each other’s role and importance in the classroom.
*Teachers must not ignore students that have extra help in the room. They need to be actively involved with all students. Sometimes, a teacher may feel as though the Educational Assistant has the responsibility of their assigned students, but the teacher needs to engage those students equally.
*Learning styles, from visual, auditory and kinesthetic, force the teacher to incorporate a wide variety of multi-sensory and multi-media approaches to teaching, which may not be to their strength. Teachers are trying to teach students, and when there are students that do not get the material, the teacher must spend more time explaining it to a certain group of students. This causes the teacher to ignore stronger students, and students that are shy.
The squeaky wheel gets the grease, and through no fault no their own, the teacher may be doing a great disservice to the students that are bright or quiet. Every student is entitled to a fair share of the teacher’s time and expertise.
*Interruptions. Depending on the special needs of each student in the classroom, there may be a disruption from time to time that can cause the class to be distracted, losing their focus. A big challenge that the teacher faces is making sure that the environment in the classroom is not the impetus for a student to become agitated or lose their cool. The teacher must wrangle back the classroom’s attention once it has been compromised.
*Seating arrangements and group work. The teacher of a special needs inclusive classroom may have a tough time figuring out how to best arrange the students so that they can thrive. Every student learns differently, and some people need to have more room to themselves. The rooms are only so big, and the teacher may have to constantly juggle seating arrangements.
*Flexibility. The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry, so do not think that you will be able to follow a lesson plan each and every day. Sometimes, spontaneous teaching moments arise, and you just have to go with the flow. These are often some of the greatest lessons taught, because they originate from a love of teaching and knowledge.
*Sensitivity. The teacher must be sensitive to the needs of every student that enters his or her classroom, regardless of ability. Every student must feel appreciated and valued. A special needs student needs to be called upon for answers just as often as other students, which gives them a sense of ownership over their learning.
*Provide a challenge. Try and get the most out of the special needs students, rather than letting them get away with too much. Give them homework if need be, and make sure that the classroom rules apply to them as well. It would be unfair to let them get away with certain offences that others are punished for. This consistency will go a long way for all of the classroom.
*Make sure every student feels valued. Even if a student makes a comment that is absurd, way off topic, or otherwise incorrect, continue to delve into their psyche to figure out where they are going with the comment, and allow them their moment in the sun. Give them as much time as needed to gather their thoughts and the teacher should keep interested.
*Full inclusion. The teacher must make sure that every student in his or her class is subjected to the exact same material. Sometimes this may seem to be a difficult task, but the teacher must be sure to adhere to their vocation.
*Field trips. The teacher must make certain to include buses that have wheelchair access, and make sure that the places they are visiting are accessible for wheelchairs, if there are any students in the class that use wheelchairs.
*Mutual respect. The teacher must foster a community of mutual respect in the classroom. All students must be respectful of other students at all times. A classroom that is special needs inclusive should involve all students being actively compassionate and humble. An effective teacher will be able to teach in any situation.
A special needs inclusive classroom offers forth the opportunity to learn just as much from the students as they will learn from you, the teacher.
A special needs inclusive classroom offers many great challenges and rewards. A teacher must be well-versed in all of the special needs terms and procedures, and be ready for anything. The special needs students have an uncanny ability to brighten your day, and your reward for a job well done is the smile on their face.