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Becoming a Great Inclusive Educator


Edited By Scot Danforth

Inclusive education continues to grow in popularity and acceptance in the United States. However, most teachers – general and special educators – are poorly prepared to be successful in inclusive classrooms and schools. Undoubtedly, the challenge to professionals involves the acquisition of new knowledge and skills. But inclusion requires far more. It calls upon educators to trouble everything they think they know about disability, to question their deepest ethical commitments, to take up the work of the Disability Rights Movement in the public schools, and to leap headlong into the deepest waters of the rich craft tradition of inclusive teaching. This book offers educators the guidance and resources to become great inclusive educators by engaging in a powerful process of personal and professional transformation.
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Chapter 14: “It’s always about the kids, not us”: Successful Elementary Co-teaching


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“It’s always about the kids, not us”: Successful Elementary Co-teaching


I first met Crosby while supervising a special education student teacher in an inclusive kindergarten class at a nearby public elementary school. I was excited to meet him as I had heard from both the student teacher and the in-service special education teacher about the remarkable improvements he had made during just a few months. The year before had not been successful. Crosby was placed in an inclusive class, but the teachers were not experienced teaching students with autism, were not supported to do so, and, in their words, did not know what to do with him. He did not speak while in this class, and most days ended with an early call home as Crosby cried in the fetal position under his desk. Reaching crisis, Crosby’s mother removed him from public school and placed him in a private preschool classroom with fewer students. He made progress in this class, and his mother quickly returned him to the public school kindergarten class.

When I arrived to the classroom on the day of our first meeting, Crosby sat at his desk with his head in his hands. His classmates assembled in their spots on the rug of colored squares for morning meeting with the student teacher, Ms. Banelli. I should have known not to approach him as he seemed to be “cooling...

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