co-teaching with sped teacher - Questions

Discussion in 'General Education' started by creativemonster, Dec 9, 2016.

  1. creativemonster

    creativemonster Comrade

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    Next semester I will have a sped teacher in my HS English class for one or two periods and am thankful but not sure how to do this - the sped teacher is new to teaching, enthusiastic, and still working on credential. I am looking for tips for how to make sure we are taking full advantage of both of us. What will help us succeed? What pitfalls should we be on the lookout for? He will be working with all my students, not just my sped kids. Thanks in advance for any tips.
     
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  3. Milsey

    Milsey Cohort

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    Watch him. I had one like that my second year. He tried to take over my class - he was an ex football player, quite intimidating but I stood my ground. The girls had crushes , the boys admired him. It was quite an ordeal trying to teach with him glaring at me at the back, waiting for me to mess up. He even told the P I was not differentiating.
     
  4. mrsf70

    mrsf70 Rookie

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    I've been blessed to co-teach with some wonderful sped teachers. Two were comfortable with math, so they were great with students, and sometimes taught a lesson. One was not strong in math, but excellent with students, and made everything go more smoothly. There are different levels of co-teaching. I would talk with the teacher to see what he is envisioning as his role. Then you both can work towards a common goal that meets both of your needs.
     
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  5. a2z

    a2z Phenom

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    It really isn't special education for the student if the special education teacher is incapable of teaching the subject matter in which the student has a deficit. Sure, it covers the procedural needs of the IEP by having the warm body in the classroom, but a warm body doesn't make it true special education.
     
  6. LouiseB

    LouiseB Cohort

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    At a high school level are you saying that special ed teachers should know the complete high school curriculum so they are capable of teaching at that level? Would that mean endorsements in English, Math, Social Studies and Science in addition to the sped qualifications?
     
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  7. creativemonster

    creativemonster Comrade

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    I know our new teacher does not have anything beyond college level in the classes he will be in - but he is working toward a sped credential. And college level is still way above the classes he will be in. Thank you mrsf70, I know that seems obvious, but I haven't yet asked him how he visions the class and I need to.
     
  8. LouiseB

    LouiseB Cohort

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    I am a sped teacher and I go into a science class and English class. My main purpose is to help the sped students in there but will help anyone. I am unfamiliar with how that teacher goes about teaching it. Neither teacher uses a textbook which I have no problem with. I don't see what is being taught until I step in the room. (My first year in HIgh School but already knew the teachers. Next year if I'm in these same classrooms, I will know how the teacher proceeds.)

    The regular ed teachers teach the class as they are certified in that area. I step in on assignments and helping with tests or maybe changing up the assignment, etc. I make suggestions about testing and help the students outside the classroom in a study hall. Many would think I was more of a para but I don't feel that way. I know I'm not the expert in either of those subjects but I am the expert when it comes to sped kids in the classroom. The teachers I work with recognize that fact and value what I have to say. Yes, I do help other students who are struggling or don't understand what is going on. There is no way we could even plan together because our schedules don't mix. I only see those teachers when I have plan or before/after school. One classroom happens to be across from my room so I do see that teacher much more often.

    I strongly suggest you talk with this teacher to see what his vision is. He may even have directives from the sped side (I do) that may play into what he is to do or wants to do.

    The advantages I see is that it is another teacher in the room. It is always helpful for that. I would make sure not to treat that teacher as an assistant even though you may be doing most of the initial teaching or whatever model of co teaching you reach. You need to treat each other with respect and understand that the sped teacher doesn't want to undermine the classroom. Because I already know these teachers, I already knew what was going to happen. I believe this is respect for others.

    Pitfalls? Treating this teacher as a para, making them make copies for them, telling them to take a certain group out to work with them even if it doesn't contain a sped student. I don't have an issue with working with other students but my main purpose is to assist the sped students not the teacher. Make sure the teacher is in the loop about sped students and you need to keep them in that loop.

    It is a learning curve and really takes time to get this to work. Please make sure that you talk about things and both of you need to speak up when things don't seem to be going as you envisioned.
     
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  9. creativemonster

    creativemonster Comrade

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    Dec 10, 2016

    This is very helpful - Thank you Louise.
     
  10. swansong1

    swansong1 Maven

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    Dec 11, 2016

    That is what is required in our public schools.
     
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  11. a2z

    a2z Phenom

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    Yes. There would need to be a special education teacher for each endorsement area if one isn't endorsed in multiple areas. Special education teachers are not supposed to be "classwork help". They are supposed to have expanded knowledge and ideas of how to break down content and have expanded strategies of how to help those with disabilities access the curriculum in ways that work for the student so that the student can progress. They are not just supposed to be an extra adult in the room, "classwork help", or general behavioral control. They are supposed to be providing a specially designed education for the special education students. That implies they must know the content and how to implement it for those who don't learn in the same manner as the average student. Which means, they must know the content at least as well as the general education teachers, if not better.
     
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  12. mrsf70

    mrsf70 Rookie

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    The "warm body" I worked with was very skilled with special education students. Many of my students were emotionally disabled, not math disabled. This year, my integrated class has several autistic students, two of whom rock out at math. Special education is not always about a specific subject area.
     
  13. a2z

    a2z Phenom

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    No. It is not just about specific subject areas, but unless you are ensuring that the special education teacher in the room is only working with students for behavior problems or emotional problems that interfere with academics, then it may be an appropriate special education teacher for those students because in the few cases the problem is a misunderstanding of the content the general education can be utilized. However, the services must fit the need of each student. That means that the student whose disability involves academic content needs a special education teacher who has extensive knowledge in that academic content and is capable of knowing the content backward, forward, and inside out and how to reach the student with the deficit in the academic area.

    I see you are offended by "warm body", but in many cases that is what it is. Schools must use a certified special education teacher and they make the choices by who is available rather than by the needs of the students. If there is even one special education student in that class that is there because there deficit is primarily in the realm of academic, not behavioral or emotional, then that special education teacher who does not know the content is a warm body for that student. That person may be there because of their expertise for the students with disabilities that are behavioral and emotional, but for the student whose needs is purely academic in nature, that teacher doesn't provide the service required.
     
  14. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    That would never happen. You don't teach in a high school, do you? A sped teacher knowing chemistry content better than the gen ed teacher? Seriously? Any subject? Come on now... do you really believe what you just said?
     
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  15. a2z

    a2z Phenom

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    You are right that it rarely happens that a special education teacher is at the level that students really need.

    Yes, I do believe that that is what special education is supposed to be. I have seen a few special education teachers who were once general education teachers in a specific subject who became credentialed in special education and were fabulous in their content area. I've know special education teachers teaching content they had no business teaching because they weren't really qualified to do so but because they had the special education credential they were slotted to be the special education teacher for that content. That really helps those students. ;)

    Yes, seriously. If we were to really want to improve the outcomes of special education students we would really need experts in both the subject matter and special education strategies and methods.
     
  16. LouiseB

    LouiseB Cohort

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    In our state if each sped teacher were needed to be certified in the area they were to help students, there would not be anyone in special education. In my job I need to be in several areas. There is NO WAY I would pay to be certified in each area and I doubt if anyone else would have several encrosements. I agree that knowledge is important but there is no way to be certified in all that. In my state we can't just take a test to be certified. We need college hours to be certified in an area so it would take years to be certified in content areas. I totally agree with 2nd Time Around.
     
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  17. LouiseB

    LouiseB Cohort

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    I don't appreciate the put downs that have been implied. I totally understand I am not perfect but I don't need to come here for put downs from people who obviously feel that they know all the answers. This site is no longer a place for a discussion but just to put people down. No wonder no one comes here anymore...and I'm not looking for "feel good" answers. I also think before making comments, you need to know the certification laws of ALL states.
     
  18. LouiseB

    LouiseB Cohort

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    How are they certified in all subjects in their high schools? I am in a small school and must be in all subjects. Also in our state we must take college hours to be certified, not just take a test. Thanks for that information.
     
  19. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    In any class or school where I have worked with a SpEd teacher, I am responsible for the content and my counterpart is responsible for the skills required to learn the content. While I can do a ton of differentiation and intervention, my counterpart has an even greater arsenal. Likewise, I'm the one who is supposed to be the expert on the lessons and standards, not my counterpart.
     
  20. LouiseB

    LouiseB Cohort

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    Thank you, catnfiddle!
     
  21. a2z

    a2z Phenom

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    It is harder for small schools or small school districts. That may mean that some teachers who are also certified in special education teach a general education class or two in the area in which they are certified. Or it could mean that two districts work together to address the needs of special education students.
     

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