I recently attended a training on Special Education Mainstreaming and Inclusion and as a teacher, I realized that there are characteristics we need to possess in order for us to effectively handle children with special needs either in a Mainstreaming or inclusion program. During one of the talks in the training, the speaker presented these characteristics which came out from a survey he did with teachers all over the world.
Whether you are a SPED teacher or a regular education teacher, we can benefit from developing these characteristics to improve how we facilitate teaching-learning process in our classrooms.
Teachers are expected to create a well-managed classroom because it is only then that teachers can create an environment conducive for learning. Therefore, teachers need to able to set rules, create routines, establish roles and arrange the physical environment of the classroom in a way that can foster learning. In the aspect of Special Education, this is a crucial task since the environment greatly affects how these children learn and behave in class. Example, a color yellow wall paper might not be the best to use in a class of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders since these children are very sensitive to bright colors.
The students of West City Central School (Cagayan de Oro City) SpED Program
Teachers, especially those who are in the Philippines, are expected to be resourceful because of the lack of materials and funding provided. Good for those who are in the private schools where teachers are provided most of the materials and equipment they need in class. In the public schools however, most teachers fund the things they need from their own pockets. With this reality, there is a need for teachers to be resourceful, esp. on where to get help for funding and be creative enough to make learning materials from recycled objects and things that can be seen in the environment.
3. Team Player.
Both in Regular and Special Education, teachers are expected to work together for the benefit of the students. If there is one thing that we don’t want to happen in our school, it is chaos especially the type that comes from the teachers. A good team player looks at what can help the students to learn, emotions and biases aside. When conflict arises, the goals for learning must evade.
The Special Education advocates, teachers, and receiving teachers of Cagayan de Oro.
Imagine doing something that we are not happy about. It will not do us any good, right? It will only stress us out. And when we are stressed, we become groggy. We easily get mad and we become anxious. But when we are happy, we are able to finish tasks productively. We can think clearly and we deal with persons with an open mind. This is the same thing when we teach. If we are happy, we try understand our students and their behavior. We are able to make our lessons creatively. We are able to make our classrooms a happy place. In return, students are excited to attend class and learn from us. We should always remember that students are not able to learn from a teacher they don’t like and usually, these are the teachers who are not happy in the classroom.
It takes a barrel of patience if one wants to become a teacher. In the public schools in the Philippines, there are about 40-60 students per class, therefore, a teacher deals 40-60 different personalities, with different behaviors, backgrounds, and perceptions at a same time. This is why to become a teacher, he/she must bring along with him/her the passion for teaching the children. Special Educators need a double dose of patience since children with disabilities take a much longer time to learn and master even a very basic skill such as writing their own name.