“Teachers are to watch over their students, as the shepherd watches over the flock entrusted to his charge. They should care for souls as they that must give account” (Special Testimonies on Education, 48. 4). Children with special needs need unique care rather than be sent to a separate school. The ultimate focus of Adventist education seeks “to restore the image of Christ in those placed under their care.”
As an Adventist teacher, one needs to be inclusive to accommodate the challenges of different children. Some of the prominent qualities required of a Christian inclusive teacher are as follows.
Integrity and Intuitiveness: A teacher needs to live as a role model (being Christ like) to the students. Further, a teacher must use his or her intuitive skills to uncover the underlying reasons behind the different behavior of students with special needs (Purdue, 2018). They should be impressed with the thought that they are formed in the image of their Creator and that Christ is the pattern after which they are to be fashioned (White, 1896).
Normalization—doing every thing as common: As teachers, “we are under solemn, sacred covenant to God to bring up our children for Him and not for the world; to teach them not to put their hands into the hand of the world, but to love and fear God, and to keep His commandments” (Special Testimony on Education, 48. 6). Hence, the teacher should be able to accept children’s disabilities solemnly.
Comradeship: Teachers need to be hospitable to students with special needs for students to feel comfortable during the learning process. The practice of hospitality begins in the biblical times (Genesis 18, 19; I Kings 17; II Kings 4, etc.) by providing help to the needy.
Learning to be patient, accommodating: Children with disabilities are special, and they need special attention. As James 1:19 reminds us, it is good to be quick only in listening, and slow to speak and to become angry.
Uniformity: Being consistent in schedule and responsibility as a teacher helps children with special needs to be understood. Since these children are sometimes slow to adapt to changes, it is recommended that the teachers remain uniform in action.
Special value for every individual being recognized: Teachers need to embody the personality of God by elevating the humans that are created in God’s image.
Individual Rights—justice, protection, equality, and provision: Students with special needs are entitled to equality and protection rather than skepticism or resistance.
Visualize learning: As a teacher, visualize your plan to attend to any differentiated needs in the class due to the presence of students with special needs. Further, assist the learners to see a clearer path to achieve their learning objective.
Experts in growth and development: As a teacher, arm yourself with expertise in learning growth and development. Every child comes with a different ratio of development factors that must have been influenced by parents, peers, and/or other experiences.
The qualities are challenging in practicality, yet it is possible. As the scripture says in Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” and Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”