As special education teachers, we have students with LOTS of struggles. They struggle with multiple domains and skills. Our students can easily become “that student” if we aren’t careful.
Have you ever been in school talking to another teacher and they ask you if you know so and so? The name sounds familiar but you can’t place it. Then they label the student by a struggle… you know the runner, biter, etc. and you suddenly know exactly who they are talking about. Yup… that student has been identified by their struggle.
No one should be identified by their struggle. There are so many AMAZING qualities about our students and we need to be highlighting them. Here are some things to keep in mind….
- Confidentiality…. Don’t vent, complain or share a negative story with people outside of your classroom. We all need to be able to talk through things, but do this with the staff that already knows and loves your student. Be respectful of your student’s rights to privacy.
- When staff ask how it is going, highlight something positive. Our students deserve a positive reputation.
- When talking about a student, watch your phrasing. Instead of, “Timmy bites, be on guard.” say, “Timmy needs concepts broken down with visual supports in order to regulate his behavior.”
If we tweak OUR behavior, we can help prevent our students from being identified by their struggles. This is just another way we can make a difference in their lives!