The Importance of Strong Communication and Relationships in a School Setting
As a special educator or someone who works with students with disabilities, it is important to have a strong relationship and communication with the general education teacher you will be working directly with. The general education teacher can not only assist you with information about your student in the general education class but can also help with implementing behavior strategies and give good feedback on your students’ progress in class. A strong relationship with your general education teacher can lead to a smoother year for you and your students.
How to Build Communication and Relationships
You may want to start by meeting with the teacher after school briefly or having lunch with each other during the school day. Here you can share strengths with each other, teaching styles, expectations of the classroom and potential needs you may have. You also can discuss student accommodations to ensure the general education teacher is applying them while the student is in the general education classroom. Simply going by the general education teacher’s classroom throughout the day and checking in, can be reinforcing to the general education teacher. Asking the general education teacher to join you in afterschool activities -whether it’s coffee or even going to a happy hour- can allow you to build a stronger relationship and feel more comfortable around each other. It is also important for both the special education teacher and the general education teacher to have a strong relationship with the students’ parents. This will make sure that the general education teacher, special education teacher, parents and hopefully the student, are all on the same page.
Maintaining the Communication and Relationship
Throughout the year the general education teacher may find it difficult to handle a student with an IEP in their classroom that is on your caseload. Providing the teacher with behavior strategies, interests of the child and techniques used in the special education classroom can be beneficial to the general education teacher. It also shows you are willing to continue to support and be flexible. Also, constantly bouncing ideas off of each other and thinking of new strategies is crucial when working with general education teachers. As your year continues and you both start to understand your students more, hopefully, your own relationship will grow while continuing to learn from each other.
Author: Ian Candelaria, SDC Teacher