Five Questions with Mr. Christian, Inclusion Teacher

Inclusion teacher Christian Roman is in his sixth year at Creative Minds International Public Charter School and has been working in the field of special education for more than three decades.

Mr. Christian hails from Chile, where he graduated from the special education program at the Catholic University of Valparaiso. His first job in the United States was at another public charter school, and he has also privately tutored students and worked as an education consultant.

His first goal as a special education teacher, Mr. Christian says, is to build confidence in his students, help them to feel safe and secure, and then help them to learn with their own style. “This also means that we have to create a solid team with the classroom teachers, co-teachers, and dedicated aides to all be on board with the same endeavor.”

Mr. Christian has three children, one of whom is also a teacher, and he shares his passion for inclusive education with his wife, a special education teacher, too.

Read on for Mr. Christian’s answers to our five questions.

CMI: What three words best describe you as a teacher?
Christian Roman: OPTIMISTIC. Working for students with special needs makes me feel optimistic about their potential and the progress they can make.

MEDIATOR. I do not teach—I expose students to learning experiences where they use their skills to build knowledge with my guidance or mediation.

INQUISITIVE. I am always asking for new methods, new strategies, new research, to improve my job, my life, and therefore, my students’ lives.

CMI: What were you most excited about the first time you stepped into the classroom as a teacher?
CR: The challenge I had in front of me. I was conscious of the imperative mission to build a solid bond with my students in order to start a confident journey together, with their trust, and making them feel safe: understanding that it is fine to make mistakes to learn, to improve, to accomplish our goals. I was there, thinking, What can I do to make this happen? And I decided to be just myself.

CMI: If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to yourself at the age your students are now?
CR: To play more, to pay attention more, to think more. To be kids, and to ignore the bad things. Nothing bad lasts forever.

CMI: If you could take your students anywhere in the world on a learning adventure, where would you go—and why?
CR: I will take them to my country, Chile. I would love them to experience the lives of children in Chile. The struggles they have to live every day having almost nothing, even food sometimes. To see how kids can be happy with fewer things. I would like my students to value their families, the love of their parents, and the safety they can have here in Washington, DC. And then they can realize the great opportunities in front of them.

CMI: What’s the last book you read or movie you watched?
CR: I am working on gathering information about one of the greatest psychologists in the world, Mr. Jean Piaget. I am devouring books about and researching his job, investigating and implementing constructivism in the classroom setting.

I love movies; I am a big fan of good stories. I love people telling me great stories. I watched the last episode of Star Wars last week. It was good! But I also love movies with more human-centered stories, like Marriage Story; The Irishman; Love, Actually; Mystic River; and some from Spain and Argentina.