Classroom teacher to lit specialist?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by DrivingPigeon, Jan 22, 2014.

  1. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Jan 22, 2014

    I am starting my master's degree in reading next month. I've never really wanted to be a literacy specialist. I've always just wanted their knowledge and expertise. However, I've recently wondered what it would be like to be in that position.

    The literacy specialist at my old school said that it was a very lonely job, because you do not have a "team" in the sense that a classroom teacher does. She really wanted to get back into the classroom, and had to leave our district to do so. I'm afraid that if I made the switch, I would miss being a classroom teacher.

    Has anyone gone from being a classroom teacher to a literacy specialist? If so, were you satisfied with your move?
     
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  3. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Jan 22, 2014

    I'm getting that degree right now, also for the reasons you listed.

    However, that position in my school is a CAKE job. I'd love it in a few years when I'm going to be tired of full time classroom teaching. It's mostly small group/one on one interventions and test prep. (Rumored, anyway....90% of the time I see our RS texting on her cell phone.)
     
  4. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Jan 22, 2014

    I'm sorry if this is off topic, but are literacy specialists very common in other states? They've been mostly phased out here. I've always thought I might like to do that eventually much later in my career, but that job doesn't exist much anymore in CA.
     
  5. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Jan 22, 2014

    They no longer exist in the Central Valley, either. All districts in my area used to have 'em, though!
     
  6. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Jan 22, 2014

    We have reading teachers and lit coaches. Reading teachers work with students. Lit coaches work with teachers (and sometimes students, as an extension).

    Both seem like much easier jobs (as far as day-to-day responsibilities go) than any other teaching position in the school. Not to say that they don't work hard, because I'm sure they do.... But they have a much more flexible schedule, extra plan time, and they don't have to deal with all the extra responsibilities that classroom, specials, and special ed teachers must deal with.

    I've honestly caught one of our lit coaches walking down the hallway, swinging an empty coffee pot (presumably going to brew another batch) and listening to an iPod. During the day while students were present and instruction was to be taking place.

    Personally, I'd love the lighter take-less-work-home workload that appears to come with it, but I would miss having a class to call my own. It's one of the things I miss being in sped, but, even in sped, I have more of a classroom community than reading teachers do.
     
  7. bison

    bison Habitué

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    Jan 23, 2014

    I've been in tons of schools in the last several years, and have only seen one. Happens to be in a low income, Title I school with a high EL population. I think that might be why they have the funding. She's AWESOME and does great small group work with kids who are struggling, 1:1 interventions, targeted whole group lessons in different classrooms, etc. Just a great resource and really makes a difference at the school, wish they were more common. I'm not 100% on this and I'm not at that school anymore, but I think she splits her time between two or more campuses. She's definitely very busy, no texting or coffee swinging that I've seen.
     
  8. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Jan 23, 2014

    Not too many lit specialists here anymore either, though they used to be in almost every school. My 4th grade teacher went from being a classroom teacher to a lit specialist and she loves it! She's been doing it for several years now and is close to retirement. She works with small groups of children who struggle and then a group of ESL students.
     
  9. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Jan 23, 2014

    In my district only 1 of the 5 elementary school is a Title school. When we were Title, our lit specialist was more of a coach who worked with teachers in the classroom. Now that our Title teacher is gone, she meets with students who qualify for intervention. So, the position varies in my district, depending on the needs of the building and whether or not they also have a Title teacher.

    She uses LLI with the students that she sees, and those plans are all laid out for her. She works her 8 hours every day, and usually not much longer, so it doesn't seem as hectic and crazy as my job. She also helps teachers out if they need advice on anything literacy.
     
  10. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Jan 23, 2014

    Our P would use the lit coach to introduce an unpopular and ineffective testing program (DRAII). It wasn't her fault, but she got lots of gripes about having to use it.

    She also had to do all the training. Once the district office found out we were using the DRA, they pulled all the kits and thankfully told us we didn't need to use it.
     
  11. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Jan 23, 2014

    haha... I wish we could go BACK to the DRA2. We switched from that to the Fountas and Pinnell BAS... ICK
     
  12. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Jan 25, 2014

    I'm getting the degree. I have no plans to move out of the classroom anytime soon and I too am not 100% sure it's something I want. But I want to have the degree so someday when I have a family and I feel like I can't meet the demands of being a classroom teacher this is something that might be more realistic for me. For now I'm happy where I am.
     
  13. sevenplus

    sevenplus Connoisseur

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    Jan 25, 2014

    I'm a literacy specialist. It's not a "cake" job. Yes, my schedule has more flexibility than a classroom teacher and there are certain things I don't have to do - such as progress reports - but I still do just as much work at home as I did when I was in the classroom and I'm at school for the same hours, working through lunch, etc.

    I'm expected to be an expert in language arts for all grade levels, attend weekly team meetings for each grade level, do lots of professional development sessions for teachers, do reading interventions for 4 ish hours each day, support all testing in the building, host literacy events for parents, and have tons of additional paperwork.

    This is my 2nd year in this position. I enjoy many of the challenges, enjoy flexibility in my schedule, and am looking forward to returning to the classroom.
     
  14. LMichele

    LMichele Cohort

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    Jan 26, 2014

    This is so ironic...I JUST came on to post about making the switch from a lit specialist to classroom teacher.

    Quite honestly, I find some of the replies here to be a little bit offensive, although if know they are not meant to be.

    As the poster above me said, I do not consider it to be a "cake job". I currently have 8 groups that I see each day. So that's 8 lessons to plan and prep for. Teachers in my building are responsible only for ELA, Math, and S.S. Everything else is taught by push-in teachers, so they have 3 periods to plan for. They often have blocks of prep time, while I am running around dropping off one group and picking up my next. Yes, I have lessons students in my groups but when you add them up, I have as many students in a day as my colleagues in the classroom.

    I have plenty of paperwork to complete and meetings to attend as well. I am present at all IEP meetings and complete teacher referrals for all students referred that I see. If I don't see a student who is being referred, I am pulled to assess them for purposes of the referral. I am also present for any parent meetings that classroom teachers have with my students.

    And in many ways, there is more pressure from admin on my position to move the lower students along in reading. There are countless e-mails, meetings, and data reports to complete on student progress. I assess one student a day from each of my groups, and then those 8 assessments need to be analyzed that day.

    On top of my own position, I have push-in periods each day during a few teacher's literacy period where I a responsible for whole class lessons and small group lessons, and often conferring with that teacher at some point about what I saw and what we can work on.

    I use LLI as well, and even though those lessons are "laid out", one size does not fit all students. The lessons are good, the books are great, but not every student gets it from the lessons. I often need to supplement with my own lessons, graphic organizers, etc. for them to really understand and comprehend the text. I take home work most days, which includes lessons for the week and the books we are reading each day so I know what to anticipate might be difficult for my students and what to supplement with. In fact, I have a pile of lessons on my table right now waiting to be done today.

    I am also the only teacher in my school to hold after school tutoring twice a week and a full week summer program. So far this year I have written, and won, 4 grants and have held 3 family reading nights and 2 school wide reading events.

    Yet, somehow, my colleague compared my job and work to the cafeteria aides' position.
     
  15. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Jan 26, 2014

    I hope you didn't find any of my replies offensive. I did mention that the LLI plans are laid out, which would be nice, even if you do have to supplement. I start from scratch for every guided reading lesson, so I feel like having a guide to work with would be nice.

    I definitely don't think the job looks easy, but my lit specialist makes it look much less stressful. She works her required hours, and manages to get everything done in that time. Maybe she had good time management skills!
     
  16. LMichele

    LMichele Cohort

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    Jan 26, 2014

    There is a lot of prep work with the LLI materials. I thought when we started it was going to be straight from the book, but there'sa,ways things that need to be prepared. I do most of it at school since it get there early enough in the morning. I' typically able to plan things out 10 lessons, so 2 weeks, at a time. That gives me a little more down time during those two weeks.
     
  17. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Jan 26, 2014

    This is my 1st year as a reading specialist, it's also a new position in our building. So far, I'm loving it. Some days I push into classrooms and other days I pull small groups of students. I'm always busy.

    I also love the fact that I don't have to worry about the day to day running of the classroom. I was burning out in the classroom.

    It's a different kind of stress.
     
  18. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Jan 27, 2014

    Notice I said "in my school."

    Much love to all the RS's actually working their butts off! I know you're out there. :) No job in education is easy if you're doing it right.
     
  19. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    Feb 14, 2014

    I am a Literacy Specialist/Reading Recovery teacher as well, 1st year in this position. I was in the classroom for over 13 years.....needed a change! LOVE IT! I'm not at the best school, but I plan to never go back into the classroom. I work my BUTT off!!!!! But it's more rewarding kind of work. When you spend your whole day doing something you are passionate about and love (literacy), you look forward to going to work. It is not an easy job and I agree that you have to do just as much planning as if you were in the classroom. And you are expected to be a literacy guru, so constant research and PD is a necessity!!!! I agree with everything you mentioned LMichele.
     

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