“As adults we worry about a lot of things. Is it fair to have different expectations for this student? What will the other kids think? Are we sending the message that this student is different? Would a smaller environment be better because it wouldn't so outwardly show the difference between the student and her peers? What about the other kids? Are they learning? Are their needs being met? All of these questions become a part of the ongoing conversation about how we are meeting every student’s needs in an inclusive setting.”
I believe that being fair and meeting the needs of our students are two different things and shouldn’t be confused.
I try to remember that all of my students are individuals and have different needs. I can’t teach them as if one size fits all. If I teach that way, I will definitely not help all of my students be successful. I think it is important for all students to understand this concept. One analogy that I use is that we all go to the grocery store but we all buy different things. Even though we all need food to survive, we all prefer different combinations of food. Yes, we could be forced to eat the same foods but we all wouldn’t end up in the same shape or ability because we all have different nutritional needs.
Students have different learning styles and I need to teach according to their learning styles. They don’t just have one learning style all of the time. Depending on the task, their learning styles may change. It is up to me as the professional to be aware of their learning styles and help the students learn new skills the best way that they can.
As for being fair, I think that my expectations of students should be the same. In order to be fair, I shouldn’t underestimate my student’s abilities and help them believe in their capabilities. I need to believe in them and what I am asking them to do. I also need to let them know that I am there for support if they need it as long as they are giving their best effort. I should expect that all students work to the best of their abilities. I should expect that students complete the tasks that I assign for them. I expect that students not judge others according to the tasks that others are expected to do.