This may come off as kind of venting, but I'm just really frustrated right now. I guess I'm one of those teachers who just cares too much which is both a blessing and a curse. I transferred from elementary self-contained to middle school inclusion last year. Although I enjoyed having my own classroom, I did not enjoy having 9 students from K-5 in one classroom with completely different disabilities and one TA who was not very competent. It was a situation that was doomed to fail regardless if the most experienced teacher in the world were to step into that position. When I moved to middle school last year it was actually a sigh of relief to only have one grade level to worry about, to have a team to collaborate with, and a more specific group of disabilities to have to focus on. Last year was a very positive year. In fact so positive that when the county office wanted to move me yet again to either another middle school or high school, I put my foot down. Three moved in three years I felt was ridiculous especially when I was a good fit with the current 6th grade team as well as the Sp Ed team and there were less competant people in the department. This year is a completely different story! Same grade, same school, pretty much same grade level team with two new additions which I feel are positive. New P., new curriculum, a MUCH tougher group of students (both academically and behaviorally), and less and less support services available for them. At my school in the middle school level there are pretty much two placement options: self-contained (for students with severe deficits) and inclusion (everyone else). Out of 19 students on my caseload right now, seven of them are operating on a level somewhere around the mid 1st- 2nd grade area. Several have IQ's between 62-72. I have two students that have trouble decoding CVC words. And they're expected to be reading and analyzing grade level text! It's to the point that the students in self-contained are actually performing higher than some of my kids because they are getting that consistent, daily, direct instruction at their own pace. My kids get me in the general Ed classroom every other day. Most of the time I'm utilized more like a para and wind up sitting with my lowest kids just helping them keep up with writing down notes. I can only modify so much because they are still expected to be held at the same standards as everyone else. I spend so much time just trying to help them keep up that I wind up not getting around to my higher students who could be successful with a little support. The only one on one time I get with my students to work on remedial skills is once a week for 30 minutes during their lunch time. ( I pull kids in small groups on certain days for small group instruction. This is completely independent of their service time and I do this voluntarily.) Of course once a week is not enough time and a lot of the kids are not thrilled about coming during their social time. I'm not allowed to pull them out of class at all even though sometimes the instruction is just going right over their heads. Things are even harder with the Common Core because majority of even the general Ed students simply don't have the background knowledge to complete what we are asking of them. With no time to go back and fill in the blanks I feel like the attitude is "Well, if you don't know it by now, you're SOL." I see my poor students falling through the cracks and I feel powerless to help them which is a horrible feeling. As these students are falling further behind I see them giving up which makes behavior worse. They are increasingly negative about school and refuse to even pick up a pencil. Getting anything out of them is a battle. When they take a test, I see them just circling answers. It's very disheartening. To top it all off one of my collegues who is just as sick of the system as I am is trying to apply for an open gen Ed position (which she's qualified for) and was told by our P. that she's "not sure if an inclusion teacher can actually handle teaching a class of 30 students and all that goes with it." Way to make us feel like valued individuals... I'm just very burnt out and fed up with this entire system. With only 3 years in the field I'm WAY too young to be so cynical already. I became a Special Ed teacher to help students improve in weak areas. It's really sad how everything boils down to money or the current educational trend. Our kids are the ones who suffer. Instead of increasing academic acheivement, I fear that we are doing the opposite.