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Narratives of Inclusive Teaching

Stories of <i>Becoming</i> in the Field

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Srikala Naraian and Sarah L. Schlessinger

Teachers are increasingly challenged by dilemmas of practice as they negotiate their commitments to equity for students from historically marginalized communities, including students with disabilities, against the demands of their school settings. This book seeks to understand the ways in which teachers’ engagements with their schooling contexts evoke varied forms of inclusive practice. It narrates the experiences of seven novice teachers who entered the field deeply committed to inclusive practice. It documents their conflicts, joys and struggles within the collectivities in which they were embedded. In doing thus, the book discloses the many unpredictable trajectories of practice that encompass the complex work of teaching for inclusion.

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Chapter Three Recognizing Success, Deferring Competence with Peter Reitzfeld

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Chapter 3

Recognizing Success, Deferring Competence

With Peter Reitzfeld

“For me, it was important to recognize the successes, where things went well, what I accomplished either day to day or at the end of the year. Looking back on it, looking at everything, trying to look at things objectively and looking at what was successful, what worked.”

Peter stood out among his peers not just because, as he reminded his own students, his head was colder than their own (it was fully shaven), but also because he had a different set of life experiences than his peers. A father of two and married to a teacher, Peter was in his forties and had enrolled in this program after many years as a professional freelance photographer. Soon after graduation from the program, Peter took up a position as a special educator in a school where he led a self-contained “bridge” class of sixth, seventh and eighth grade students in Humanities. He also co-taught (as the special educator) in a collaboratively taught eighth grade humanities class with another general educator, as well as a collaboratively taught eighth grade math class. At the start of the year, he felt comfortable that he had made the right decision in selecting this school. He felt mostly able to enact his commitments, even though he did not always agree with the decisions taken by the administration.

By the end of that year, Peter had decided to...

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