Hello friends! I am currently enjoying my term 3 holidays and busily preparing for my wedding day in just 2 days!! Did I just hear you all squeal with excitement!! My hubby to be and I are beyond excited and we cannot wait for our big special day!
Amoungst all of the craziness here I thought I'd share my top tips for success in your Special Education classroom! Sooooo here goes..
1. Self Care- It is number one for a reason friends.. YOU NEED to look after yourselves! If you're not 100% neither will your cherubs be. Find a favourite calming thing to do, colouring in, playing music, going for a walk, etc etc. Find whatever works for you! Be the best YOU that you can be!
2. Unconditional Love- We've all had those bad days right? of course we have! The biggest part of our day to day business is to show children that no matter what, we unconditionally love and care for them because some days, lets face it, they will test the boundaries of our love in the most unloving ways, but the only solution to this is MORE LOVE!!! The tougher the day, the MORE LOVE that is needed... you all think I'm crazy right.... try it, then all me crazy ;)
3. Relationships... Relationships... Relationships- I cannot stress the importance of this one! Is there that one teacher at your school who just seems to 'get' the kids? when they ask any of the kids to do something, they just do it without question, but when you or any other teacher asks you brace for world war 3? Do you want to know their secret? RELATIONSHIPS!! Don't tell anyone (or tell everyone) because this is seriously a magic key to success! If you take the time to get to know the kids, find out what their interests are, find out who their family is etc you will develop a magically heart felt positive relationship. Not only will it help you in your classroom but it will create a positive role model of how to treat others in their lives! Cool Huh!
4. Work as a team- In most Special Education settings we are lucky to have the support of Teacher's Aides, or at my school SLSO. It is super important to value this person in your classroom! They are a big part of your classrooms day to day running. Once you approach the daily tasks as a team everyone will be happy, the kids see a solid, united front of support for them, and your teacher's aide feels valued and supported!! Win..Win!!
5. Build on each strength- "Together we have it all" Each child and adult will bring some different strengths to your classroom. CELEBRATE these!!! In our classroom we know that so and so is really good at maths, but thats great because I am really great at spelling! We can't all be the best at everything and it is so good to know each others strengths so the children know that they can ask so and so for help with maths etc. It builds on excellent collegial classroom and works wonders!!
6. Appreciate all of the positives- Sometimes you will have a bad day... Its bound to happen but take time to appreciate all of the positives, share them during your circle time with your kids! Share them at staff meetings and around the lunch table, this will help build a positive perspective lens for others looking into your classroom. Thank the children for all of their hard work and everything they put in to each day for you, and appreciate them! :)
7. Daily debrief- This is so important in our line of work. It is so important to remember to debrief at the end of each day so you don't take 'school stuff' home. Even if it is a excellent day, it is great to share the success and positives from the day. If you're not lucky enough to have a scheduled daily debrief as a team, find a teaching buddy and check in with each other every day. It will make a big difference!
8. Celebrate your successes- Were all so busy we sometimes forget to celebrate your success! The cherubs I get in my support class have often been disengaged with school for quite some time, I always remember the journey an the celebration of success for each child, that keeps me fresh and its why I love my job so much! Although the children are often the ones making the change, teachers need to take some credit and celebrate this success!
9. Build on your professional repertoire- Everything is always changing so it is super important to stay up to date with the current research. Your daily teaching and learning should be based on best practice, which always changes. It is so important to always read new information, about how the brain works, what courses these behaviours, why is this happening.. There are so many starting points for professional reading that will not only benefit you, but also your entire classroom! If you would like some recommendation, let me know in the comments :)
10. Enjoy! It truely is the best job in the universe! This should of been number one... Enjoy every moment, because learning knows no boundaries!