How many hours a day do special education teachers work?

Discussion in 'Special Interests' started by Maggie1999, Jul 30, 2017.

  1. Maggie1999

    Maggie1999 Rookie

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    Jul 30, 2017

    Hi there,

    I've been posting a lot on here the past couple days. I am studying for my cset exams here in CA...hoping to get into a program this spring. I have been reading lots of peoples threads and experiences and hope to a lot more. I always had a vision of teachers working overtime....(not something to look forward to)....but it has struck me in all the threads I've read I've not heard complaints about this. Is this because everyone is just used to it, or because hope against hope - it doesn't happen and your actually able to go home at 5:00?
     
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  3. vickilyn

    vickilyn Maven

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    Jul 30, 2017

    Well, if you go home at 5:00 when you should have been able to leave at 3:30, you only work 7.5 hours without any additional pay per week. Everyone has their own way of dealing with the time required vs the time you are paid for. I think newer teachers spend longer hours at school than experienced teachers, just because they don't have the benefit of organization that builds year to year. I would not go so far as to say SPED teachers spend more hours at school per day, but I do think that some of them are higher stress. I would guess that you have missed a few of the threads where teachers discuss trying to get out when their contract says they are free to leave, without taking home a ton of work to do there. If you haven't caught the current thread on going back before the contract requires you to, I suggest you catch that one.
     
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  4. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Jul 30, 2017

    The amount of work depends more on the specific teacher, the specific responsibilities/expectations set forth by the school, and the amount of plan time given. Every teacher is different and every school is different. I am a SPED teacher and work close to contract hours. I've also taught gen ed and worked similar hours. I always have to put in a lot more hours when starting any new position, but once I've figured things out I'm very efficient. On the other hand, the other SPED teacher at my school works 70-80 hours per week, even though I have more students than her. I have an "online friend" from another teacher board that used to be a SPED teacher and moved to teaching Kindergarten and she feels that position is a lot less work. The K teachers at my school would balk at that because they all work until 7-8 PM every night.

    I'm not sure if this is your intention or not, but I definitely don't recommend going into a position specifically because you think it may be less work. Regardless of volume of work, SPED Is a very high stress position where teachers burn out at much faster rate than their gen ed teacher peers.
     
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  5. vickilyn

    vickilyn Maven

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    Jul 30, 2017

    There have been a number of posts over the last year or so from SPED teachers who want to lose that endorsement so they can have a better chance of getting a gen ed job. That is a theme that has come up on multiple occasions. I am SPED at an alternative school that is all SPED. Although my days sometimes feel long, the truth is that I come really close to leaving right on time a vast majority of the time. The stress, in my situation, is working with ED/BD, a somewhat volatile population at the HS age. Fortunately, because it is all SPED, all of my colleagues are SPED, so lots of people to bounce things off of, and lots of closeness of staff. Everyone has everyone else's back, because some days are functioning on a hair trigger. One outburst becomes a cascading series of events that impacts everyone. SPED is not less work, but it is high demand, if you can live with the pressure.
     
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  6. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Phenom

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    Jul 30, 2017

    That's going to vary a lot. We have teachers who arrive and leave as soon as they can while others come in early and leave late.

    For me, I arrive slightly early because I'm not a morning person. I just arrive enough to miss traffic. I'll usually stay until around 4:00. That's 30 minutes past contract time, but I get ready for the day, and I very, very rarely do work at home during the school year.
     
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  7. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Jul 31, 2017

    I work my contracted hours and this year we are being given additional planning periods, so I don't expect to have to bring any work home.
     
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  8. bella84

    bella84 Fanatic

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    I've worked in both sped and gen ed, and I've found sped to require more hours overall. There are a few conditions though... I've found that when a sped teacher is required to do case manager and evaluation responsibilities, in addition to teaching full time, the hours required are outrageous. The time required for a sped teacher goes down significantly when the only responsibility is teaching and writing IEPs while someone else handles the case manager and evaluation aspects of the job.

    In all positions I've held - both sped and gen ed, I've found that the number of hours I put in significantly decreases once I get into second semester. In gen ed, I'm finally into a flow. In sped, the number of IEPs and referrals (if you have case managing duties) go down towards the end of the year. Also, a brand new teacher is going to work a lot of nights and weekends regardless of what role they are in. This is similar with an experienced teacher beginning a new position at a new school.
     
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  9. vickilyn

    vickilyn Maven

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    I wish they gave us more planning periods, that would be a true luxury, better than a spa day. In truth, the planning periods we get are often times used up by requests to go to IEP meetings. You don't have kids? Tag, you're it!
     
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  10. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Aficionado

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    I work in the same type of school except I have the younger students (school is ages 5-21). Some days I have to stay late to mentor another teacher or prepare lessons but I can usually leave on time. I actually would rather get to school earlier, usually 30-40 minutes earlier, and then leave around 3:30. I hardly ever bring work home but it does happen on occasion.
     
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  11. Maggie1999

    Maggie1999 Rookie

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    Aug 12, 2017

    Hi, thanks for your response....what exactly IS case manager and evaluation responsibilities?
     
  12. bella84

    bella84 Fanatic

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    Aug 13, 2017

    Case managers schedule meetings, send home meeting notices, find coverage for teachers who need to be at the meetings, send home notices of action after the meeting, set up testing when evaluations need to take place, finalize evaluation reports and IEPs, and file paperwork. They are usually the person who serves as the liaison between the parents, general education teachers, sped teachers, speech language pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and evaluators. Often times, the sped teacher takes on the dual role of the case manager and sped teacher. When one person takes on both roles, it can become very overwhelming and time-consuming. Often, the teacher role has to take a backseat to the case manager role.

    At some schools, sped teacher/case managers also take on evaluation responsibilities. This means that, when a student is going through either an initial or triennial evaluation, that person has to conduct observations and assessments, as well as score those assessments and write reports that will be considered at the upcoming eligibility meeting. The assessments could include intelligence testing, academic achievement testing, behavior scales, etc. Sometimes a teacher with case manager responsibilities is responsible for only some of these components, like completing a classroom observation and writing a report, while a trained psychological examiner will conduct the other assessments. Generally, SLPs and OTs will conduct their own assessments.

    Each school has their own method to this madness, so it's a good idea to ask about these responsibilities when interviewing for or accepting a new job as a sped teacher. You might think that you're simply teaching a special education class only to find out that you have double the workload, because you have to find time to fit in case manager and evaluation responsibilities on top of your full-time teaching load.

    Hope this helps to clarify!
     
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  13. Maggie1999

    Maggie1999 Rookie

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    Aug 13, 2017

    Thank you,
    This is extremely helpful information to have. I volunteered in a special ed classroom....she's taught over 30 years and a very good, highly educated and behaved school...so her little classes were well organized, no behavior problems, etc....cream of the crop job probably. At her school there was school psychologist....another ? I've been wondering about....when a psychologist on board...I would suspect that they would conduct assessments of the students?

    Although at her school I am not aware of OT's or SLT's either.

    And now I am wondering if this classroom I was in (only one school day), if that teacher was responsible for coordinating all communications around the IEP's...I suspect she was as she talked a bit about how much work to coordinate everything. But if she didn't coordinate it, who would? I guess now thats the hundred dollar question. All I know is she said she was sad that she had little time with her students...that her teaching assistant usually worked with the students (under her supervision...very tiny classroom), and she spent more of her time coordinating....she showed me her computer screen a couple of times...it was very complex. That would almost be like why not just study project management and go into that, except I do want to work...preferable one-on-one sometimes, or small groups with children.

    So this is all very good information....to clarify in the hiring process who does what.
     

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