One our favorite family movies is Sky High (starring Lynda Powers, a.k.a. Wonder Woman, as Principal Powers.)
In this movie, each student possesses some sort of super power (and of course will have to work together to save the world.)
The scene below is on the first day of school when the students are gathered together to demonstrate their skills and be placed in the appropriate track….either “Hero” or “Sidekick.”
Principal Powers: In a few moments, you will go through Power Placement and your own heroic journey will begin.
Will Stronghold: Power Placement?
Layla: Sounds fascist.
Ethan: Power Placement. It’s how they decide where you go.
Magenta: The hero track or the loser track.
Will Stronghold: There – there’s a loser track?
Ethan: I believe the preferred term is “Hero Support.”
In the inclusion setting, intervention teachers are often the “sidekick”. However, if you watch the whole movie, you will see that the sidekicks are a vital part of the plot.
I am lucky to be a sidekick to Captain Algebra (her identity must remain secret to protect the citizens). She presents content in a heroic fashion while I provide support.
If you are an inclusion teacher, here are some tips for being the best hero support you can be:
Provide alternative views, tricks, and tips during lesson – Don’t be afraid to interject during the lesson. It’s something that takes time to develop. After you work with the same teachers for a few years, it will become more natural to add your two cents during a lesson. I often share mnemonic devices or crazy things that we make up in our intervention study hall that will be helpful to everyone in the inclusion class.
Be a role model – Ask questions and encourage discussion. When there is a lull in the discussion or you know students must surely be wondering (but not asking questions) throw out your own questions for the teacher. Kids will usually start talking when they think they know more than you.
Read minds – Think like the students….What doesn’t seem clear? What misconceptions do they have? As you walk around the room and look at student work you can see common mistakes and verbalize this to the teacher by “thinking out loud.” “Oh…..So you mean that I have to multiply by the reciprocal instead of dividing?”
Help citizens in need – Sit down with a student who is struggling and offer some one-on-one time while the teacher goes on ahead with the rest of the class. Sometimes if a student has missed a day or two they really need the instruction of the missed lessons before they can proceed with the current lesson.
Are you a hero or a sidekick in the classroom?
What are your responsibilities as an inclusion teacher?
If you are a regular classroom teacher, how do you utilize your inclusion teacher?