Luckily I only have 3 students because I couldn’t get my laptop hooked up with the big screen in the classroom and still have the camera and the microphone reach to the students. So I couldn’t set it up that way. Instead I put my laptop on a desk where all three of them could see the screen and put the camera on the three of them with me in the background. That seemed to work.
The call lasted about 30 minutes and my class seemed to be really impressed. They didn’t seem to have any questions about it at the time but maybe after they had time to process the information, we will discuss it this morning. Of course, I was impressed but I always am impressed when I talk to them and I love to hear about their class. I think the reason I’m impressed is because I never really believed that inclusion could work. I know I read about it in textbooks and articles but they always seemed like words on paper. I could not get my mind around any real life situation where it actually worked…until now. This, for me, is almost like finding out that Santa is real and that the Tooth Fairy lives close by!
Of course, I rush home to share this wonderful event with my husband and he is always good about keeping me grounded. Our conversation had me thinking and asking questions. Is this situation a one-of-a-kind situation or can it happen elsewhere? I have not heard of any situation elsewhere where inclusion is successful like this. Sure, I hear some teachers say, “I teach inclusion and it is…okay but….” This is the first time I have heard “We teach inclusion and it works!” Period. End of statement. My husband asked if these were just two exceptionally great teachers who happened to find out that they can work together well? I don’t know.
I think this is possible to do elsewhere if other classrooms use the same kind of set up. Of course, I see the main reason for success is that these teachers leave their egos at the door and work together to do what is in the best interest of their students. They continually work on communication with each other and collaborate on the lessons. Neither teacher says this is “my” classroom and instead they say it is “our” classroom. They even figured out a name for their class that incorporates both of their names (South Paris Collaborative) so the rest of the school gets the same message too. Christine mentioned that this was like a marriage of sorts and they sometimes disagreed with each other but that was okay. The main key seemed to be communication. Too many teachers let their egos get in the way and either clam up or go into “control” mode. That won’t work in an inclusion classroom.
If you know of another inclusion class is actually a success (without the “but”) please let me know. I am really interested.