Any tips for making an elementary level inclusion program successful for the upcoming school year?

Question:I am going to be a first year special ed teacher and I was wondering if anyone could give me some suggestions about what worked best for them. This would be a collaboration type setting.

Get your teachers on board early. I had two teachers last year who would not use my adaptations for my children and they were failing their classes miserably. The only concession I got from administration is that neither of them were given any children this year. Some teachers may want to team teach some subjects, some will not. When you meet for weekly collaboration meetings they need to bring you all lesson plans and worksheets for the next week so that you will have time to modify them if necessary. I would ask the teacher about his/her expectations of you. And then you reciprocate with yours. You need to let the classroom teacher know that you want to team teach or just take a guided reading group, or that you would like to be a center. That is my favorite thing because then I get to work with all the children in a specific center that I design. Be sure that if you say you will be in a classroom at a specific time that you are there, or you let them know why you are tied up somewhere else. Make up a schedule according to what subjects you will try to be in for specific students. If you are lucky enough to be in only one classroom - you need to ask the teacher where she wants help, such as she hates teaching writing - so you could take that over. Team teaching can be fun but only if the teacher doesn't get jealous of you and your relationship to her students. Always let your classroom teacher take the lead. Also learn her discipline policy and follow it. Good luck. I can't wait to get back.
I have been a spec. ed. teacher for 10 years think its best not to single out the children who are receiving special education services. I have found that every student just wants to be "normal" and drawing attention to the fact that they get extra help causes them some anxiety. Try to make connections with the "regular" students so they all will enjoy having you in the classroom. Also, find some responsible students that can be your "helpers"... ask if they can help the students who are struggling. This will be a great help in the long run.
My daughter (3rd grade) is hearing impaired and receives some special education services as well. She HATES when her itinerant teacher focuses all the attention on her. In fact, she will inform the itinerant to go help the others in her class.
Lastly, you might find that your biggest difficulties will be with the classroom teacher. Don't be discouraged because many times you will work with a great collaborator; however, some teachers are extremely protective of their classroom and have a hard time with another adult in the room. Try to form a bond with the teacher and offer to co-teach or to take turns teaching so you'll be perceived as another teacher. You will earn the respect of not only the teacher, but also the students.
Good luck! You will find that this will be a wonderful career!
I am an inclusion teacher and every classroom I work in is different. The beginning of the year can be difficult because you are getting to know each other. As an inclusion teacher, you must offer your services to the regular classroom teacher, even if it is just to make something or grade papers. Let them know you are there to make their job easier. Some teachers will be willing to co teach which is really an awesome experience while others will want you to work with groups of students. Make sure your teaching partner knows you are there to work with anyone, not just the kids with an IEP. As an inclusion teacher, you are able to work with a variety of groups and a variety of students. Last year, my teaching partner would sometimes pull the highest students to expand on a lesson and I'd teach the regular lesson to the rest of the class. I guess the most important thing is to communicate with each other. Being an inclusion teacher is like a marriage, the more you work at it, the better it will be!

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