Early Childhood Special Education Teacher

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by Bengie03, Aug 26, 2011.

  1. Bengie03

    Bengie03 Rookie

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    Aug 26, 2011

    Currently, I am a para educator in a special needs preschool with children 3-5 with developmental disabilities that range from Down Syndrome, to autism. I love my job! I am currently in school full time, and will be transferring to a state university next fall. I was just wondering if there is any teachers in this field who can answer some questions for me:
    What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
    Do you see yourself doing this until you retire?
    What brings you the most joy?

    I guess the things that worries me the most about going into the field-is IEP's and making sure that I am meeting every child's needs.

    Also can you share some info how you run your class- routine and mainstreaming.

    Thanks in advance.
     
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  3. LovetoteachPREK

    LovetoteachPREK Companion

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    Aug 26, 2011

    I teach an inclusion class of 4-5 year olds in a public school. The most challenging part of my job is behavior issues and ensuring that the general education students aren't neglected because of the many challenges of the special education students.

    I do REALLY LOVE my job...but I don't know if I could keep the pace up forever. I teach full days and I come home absolutely exhausted. You are "on" every minute of the day, anticipating disasters and keeping kids engaged and on task. I'm sure the day will come when I don't have the energy for it anymore.

    Many parts of my day bring me joy! When the student with autism and major behavior disorders says something clever, or even tells me he loves me (only because he's parroting something else someone said - still heartwarming.) Seeing the gains children make over the year, watching them grow, listening to them sing, watching how they treat each other kindly...I could go on and on.

    IEPs are tough. So many rules and regulations. The progress monitoring can get tedious. I keep my rubrics on clipboards along with any materials I might need for teaching or assessing. I enter data on the same day ever two weeks during rest time - no procrastinating or I will fall too far behind.

    Routine is EVERYTHING. Visuals are huge. I love social stories and modeling expectations. I'm trying work boxes this year (TEACHH - autism training strategy,) we'll have to see how it goes!

    Hope that helps. Around here, preschool special ed is a pretty good field to go into. It's the only reason I got a job when we moved. Other teachers around here search for years for their jobs. Good luck to you!
     
  4. Bengie03

    Bengie03 Rookie

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    Aug 27, 2011

    Thank You, LovetoteachPREK! I really do love the kids, but I worry about the IEP's, but people always comment on how great I am with these kids, and I truly believe this is the right career path for me. Thank you for your wonderful advice- it really helped.
     
  5. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Aug 29, 2011

    I teach 2 half-day classes. I have an early childhood special ed class in the mornings specifically for 3-yr-olds who are coming out of Early intervention. My afternoon class is a blended class (EC and at-risk).

    Things I love:
    *When you can't tell who the EC kids are and who the non-sped kids are because everyone's interacting so well and acting so appropriately
    *When you see progress... particularly like today, when one of my little guys came back with SO many more words than he left me with in May!
    *That everything is exciting and new (this is true for preschool in general, though, not just special ed)

    Things that are frustrating:
    *Monitoring IEP goals, at times... sometimes I feel like all I do all day is data. The trick is organizing it in a way that makes it doable... something I'm still working on. It helps when you have TAs that you can trust to help with it.
    *Having to explain to parents that a different placement really IS the most appropriate thing for their child... particularly when that means attending a program for kids with more severe needs. It breaks their heart sometimes, and I hate to do it even though I know it's what's best for the child.

    I run my class pretty much like I would run a "Typical" class, with more supports when necessary (visual schedules, PECS, etc). My kids don't go somewhere else for mainstreaming... my PM kids are included in the regular class with supports as needed; my AM kids don't have anyone else their age in the building... but we go to assemblies and things with "the big kids." They come midyear, and attend the blended class the following year.
     
  6. Bengie03

    Bengie03 Rookie

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    Sep 2, 2011

    Thank You, Clarnet for your response. It really helped. In my heart I know special ed is where I belong. That would be hard to tell a parent that your child belongs in a class with more severe needs:(.
     

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