The job of an inclusive educator is often quite thankless. The parents are most grateful because our job supports the progress and independence of their beloved children and sometimes depending on individual circumstances, we might be more ecstatic than the parent because we’ve worked really to ensure that the child or young person is given every opportunity to suceed . If you think about it, we celebrate the smallest steps of progress.
One of the things that I enjoy most about this line of work is shifting attitudes and perspectives on inclusive education and special educational needs.
Not everyone will be grateful for the work that we do but I don’t know about you, sometimes that spurs me on. I find joy in the fact that I want to give someone a fighting chance when not everyone does.
Research shows that the attitude of teachers are essential to the success of inclusive education programs for children with special needs (Avramidis & Norwich, 2002). This is also dependent on the country and type of special educational need and/or disability.
Generally speaking, most educators (in my experience) do have positive attitudes about special needs but if it gets tough, it becomes less about the educator’s ability and more about the child’s needs, which I think should always be challenged. The role of the inclusive educator is to find a way include the child. I am no expert but I imagine that is not an easy thing to do however it is where the inclusive educator finds their greatest success stories and children/young people are most grateful. This applies to all fields and disciplines, not just the class teachers and teaching assistants. How has your work helped to include a child despite their differences?
It is not easy for the child or young person to always be different but I bet they are grateful every time someone gives them an opportunity to suceed.
What is your motivation? I’m grateful to all inclusive educators out there who are invested in levelling the playing field for some of our most vulnerable members of the world.