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Integration Class: Facts and Myths 

For the last two years, I have worked in a primary school as a support teacher. I had the opportunity to learn from older friends with many years of experience. I heard many tips and stories – those from the time when integration classes were formed in our educational system and those that happened to them on a regular basis. In our conversations, there were often duplicate ‘myths’ that still revolve around our profession and the specifics of the integration class. I distinguished three facts that refute the most harmful myths.

Supporting Teacher is NOT the help of the Leading Teacher

I start with this myth because I am reminded of the story of my namesake, who was called ‘an additional lady’ several years ago from the teacher’s room. Well, in fact, the support teacher is in a way an additional teacher, because most parents are accustomed to one teacher in the class, be it early school education or a subject teacher. Suddenly, there is another teacher in the integration class who is to support the education of students with special educational needs. The very name of the job suggests that the support teacher is a qualified teacher who, like any other teacher, has completed higher education in his own specialization (most often special education), has specialized knowledge in the field of special education, teaching methodology for students with special educational needs (SPE) and related fields related to education and rehabilitation people with disabilities. Very often they are teachers who, in addition to vast knowledge, also have extensive experience in working with students with various developmental difficulties.

Unfortunately, I often encounter accounts of disrespectful treatment of a supportive teacher by parents, but even worse by the subject teacher or the so-called leading teachers. For education in this class to work properly, teachers must be a team. Both of them must participate in the didactic process equally, and above all, they must feel confident in their workplace.

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The tasks of the supporting teacher oscillate around supporting the educational process of students with SEN, i.e. diagnosis of the student’s possibilities and needs, adjusting the scope of subject material, forms of checking student skills and methods of working with the student. Therefore, they are participants in the whole process, and not the help of the leading teacher. An assisting teacher is there to help children.

Supporting Teacher also Participates in the Educational Process in the Classroom

According to the current law, the support teacher is not a class teacher and does not receive the so-called childcare allowance. I think that this is an extremely harmful situation for supporting teachers. I have not met an assisting teacher who does not participate in the educational aspects of class life or has refused any help to the student – regardless of whether it is a disabled or non-disabled student. Imagine that in grade four, the tutor is an English teacher who has two English lessons and one teaching hour per week with students. Performing the role of an educator is difficult in such a situation, he is often needed on a regular basis. If it is an integration class, the support teacher spends 20 hours a week with the class. It is not difficult to conclude that the support teacher spends much more time with students, so in such a situation it is necessary for these two teachers to cooperate. However, I think that an assisting teacher should also officially be a class teacher and receive appropriate remuneration for this.

In early school education, the assisting teacher and the leading teacher spend a similar number of hours with the class, and here the cooperation can actually be evenly distributed and this should also be the role of an educator. Apart from the salary issue, you probably imagine how sorry it is for a support teacher who puts a lot of effort into his work, cares for all students and tries to support them in all aspects of their ‘being in school’ when he cannot sign his students’ testimony, because only the educator has the right to do so.

In Integration Classes there is NO Lower Level of Education

Integrative classes teach able-bodied children who follow the core curriculum as peers in generally accessible classes. Integration classes are also attended by children with special educational needs, whose material and teaching methods must be tailored to their needs and abilities. This does not mean that other students in the class also follow a different curriculum or the quality of education is lower. I think the opposite is the case because in most subjects there is a support teacher with them who actually helps all children. As is the case with the educational sphere, the supporting teacher very often supports the education of the entire class in the educational sphere. I believe that the best division of roles is the exchange of knowledge and experience between teachers and close cooperation, where these roles are blurred. A lot of energy and ideas flow from the harmonious duo, after all, two heads are better than one. Therefore, in the integration class, the level of education depends on the teachers who work in it and does not result from the specificity of the integration class. What is worth emphasizing again, in a team of two, you can do more fantastic things and support each other – which will definitely increase the level of teaching

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Integration Class: Facts and Myths 
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For the last two years, I have worked in a primary school as a support teacher. I had the opportunity to learn from older friends with many years of experience. I heard many tips and stories - those from the time when integration classes were formed in our educational system and those that happened to them on a regular basis. In our conversations, there were often duplicate 'myths' that still revolve around our profession and the specifics of the integration class. I distinguished three facts th
2021-11-12 04:57:35
Integration Class: Facts and Myths 
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