If you are not from Australia or are unfamiliar with the story erupting; here is the shortened down version. Pauline Hanson when arguing about education said kids with special needs, and in particularly those with Autism should not be in mainstream schools. The logic is that it takes attention away from the rest of the kids because the special need child takes the teachers attentions.
I agree in part with Pauline Hanson, that having special needs kids in your class does at times take away attention from the rest of the class. When I was in primary school there was a boy with physical disabilities and was not at the same educational level as the rest of the class.
There were many times when the teacher spent more time with him than the others in the class. This could have been explaining something further or in a physical capacity. Here Pauline Hanson is correct, at times there was an attention deficit but it was not one that affected our class a great deal. That being said do you know what took more time from the class as a whole? In far more than any special needs child would?
Shitty little kids and parents who see them as angels. The greatest time sink is a kid who is destructive, doesn’t listen and thinks that they are somehow above listening to the teacher. I had these throughout my schooling, from primary through to high school and university. They actually affected my education.
The teacher could not spend time with me or the other kids who were smart enough to pass but wanted to learn more. That’s because they were tending to that little shit who thought it was funny to push over the little kid. Who didn’t pay attention and then needed one on one time because the teachers cared about their education. The teachers didn’t want them to fall behind.
I don’t remember once thinking ‘that special needs kid really made it hard to learn today.’ I do remember thinking that about the spoilt little shit who thought the world revolved around him. I do remember being frustrated when saying to a teacher, ‘why do you spend so much time with them and the students who want to learn get minimal?’ The answer was always that we were smart enough to get through. They needed help.
As I got older I saw where the problem stemmed from. Going to teacher interviews, particularly with my little brother, the number of parents who would not hear anything bad about their child. Jimmy doesn’t listen in class met with you need to engage him. Or he is smart you just don’t know how to teach him.
Seeing him misbehave and they look away or worse make excuses. The parents of these little pains in the ass are the reason the education system struggles. If Pauline Hanson wants to change the system look at these moronic parents who think their kid is an “individual”. Little tip, he’s not. He is a bully and probably an idiot. He doesn’t need to be taught his way he needs to learn to behave. In my career I have met many teachers who left the profession and the most common reason ‘I couldn’t deal with the parents’.
Terrible parents are the reason we have the issues with bullies and dumb kids. You know who I never heard making excuses for their kids? The parents of special needs kids, they expected them to do the best they could. They wouldn’t allow them to say their disability stopped them, they expected them to learn how to over come it.
That addresses the fist part; they idea that special needs children are a time sync. Now the part I think parents out there really need to listen to. The part that Pauline Hanson didn’t take into account and her small mindedness missed. The benefits.
There are two and the first is the lessons you learn from being in class with a person who has special needs. That they aren’t different they have challenges. It changed the way that I thought about people with special needs and indeed myself.
I have always been incredibly quiet and had challenges making friends. The boy I went to school with was friends with everyone, even the shitty kid. He was friends with me and he was a good friend. I was bullied and he was always there with a kind word. He didn’t care that the other kids didn’t like me that day because we were friends.
I don’t think this was a function of his disability, I think he was just a good person. The struggles he had I’m sure informed this view though and the fact that he had good parents helped. We find friends and lessons in all types of people and cutting off a whole segment of the population is terrible. We need more difference to combat the bigotry of the Pauline Hanson’s of the world.
The second reason that you should hope your child has a special needs child in the same class as them is the additional help. It is true that at times the teacher will spend more time with them but the teachers aides are an invaluable resource.
They help the child but also the kids in his class. That’s because these people do this job to help, they will help anyone because it’s what they do. Their pay is much less than they deserve but they keep helping.
The teachers aid would help the boy in our class and while he was working away would help the rest of the kids. She made up for the time the teacher was dealing with the spoilt kid, and I felt that I got more teacher time because of it.
Pauline Hanson looked narrowly at this issue. Ignoring the lack of respect for teachers that exists in parents, and those same parents who are unable to control their kids. The impact this has far exceeds any extra attention a special needs child required.
Most sadly she missed the lessons of acceptance. That I am a better person today because I got to see that difference isn’t to be hidden away, it is to be embraced. That the positives far outweighed any negatives.
I learnt to be accepting of difference, be it disability, race, sexuality or whatever difference you have. Because when I see someone who is different and feel that discomfort we have in our base brain. I just remember the day that I was being bullied, the kids didn’t want to be friends with me. I remember the boy with special needs smiling and being my friend. He didn’t care what difference the kids saw in me because I was his friend.
I happily give up every spare minute lost to his special needs because of his friendship and acceptance. Those lessons were fundamental. Pauline Hanson is a much more closed-minded person because of her view. She is much more unhappy for not embracing difference. Lead a better life and welcome difference, it truly makes our world a better place. It made me a better person.
P.S. For the regular readers you may be wondering where I have been. I am working on my new novel: Episode 34: The Death of Truth and Rise of Delusion. I’m intensively focussing on this to finish it. It requires some focussed attention. My posts may be a little less regular but I’m still here.