Interventionist job interview/weird position

Discussion in 'General Education' started by waterfall, May 29, 2018.

  1. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I have been wanting to get out of sped and into reading intervention for awhile now. The problem is, apparently everyone else has the same idea. There are few jobs to begin with, and they are often filled internally. Last time my school had an opening, 5 of our classroom teachers applied for it. I looked all spring/summer last year and there literally wasn't a single opening to apply for, in 100+ schools.

    This year I've seen exactly 2 positions posted and finally got an interview for next week in what seems to be considered the "best" district in the city. That alone would be a big change for me as I currently work at a very low SES school and have only worked in this type of school for my entire career. If I got the job, it would offer better pay and presumably a much "easier" student population.

    Anyway, when the P called to offer me the interview, she said that the position would actually be intervention 4 days per week and that I would essentially be filling in for a specials teacher 1 day per week. Apparently the art teacher went down to .8 and I would be that "special" on Mondays. She said she didn't want this to be a big source of stress for me and that she wanted me to think of something I might be interested in doing that would be easy to plan and just modify slightly for the different grade levels, perhaps focused on literacy. She was very clear that I will NOT be teaching art.

    On the one hand, I really don't feel great about that part. I am worried about behaviors because I would be spending so little time with these classes (theoretically, I might see each class maybe 1-2x per month). I also can't think of anything that would really not be a huge extra burden, as it would involve planning and teaching 6 lessons/grade levels for that one day per week and would be unrelated to my job the rest of the week. The first thing I thought of was maybe a Spanish class (I'm not fluent, but I'm good enough to teach the basics), but that seems like a lot of work for K-5.

    On the other hand, an opportunity to both get into a "more stable" district and get into an intervention position will probably not present itself again. I really, really, want out of sped, especially with the way things are going in my district/state. Without writing a novel here, I believe that some time in the near future my current position will change to mostly or at least some push-in, which I absolutely hate and would be completely miserable doing. Given the choice between this weird "special" thing and pushing in, no contest I'll take the weird special thing any day.

    What would you think about this job? Any ideas for something easy and engaging that I could do for the Monday classes? They've already contacted my references, which tells me that they're serious about doing the interviews (and I'm not just a "filler" with the intention of hiring an internal candidate) and that they'll likely be making an offer soon after the interviews.
     
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  3. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I would go for it, too. I see the same thing here - really hard to get a reading specialist or intervention position that isn't paid like a para or filled internally.

    It does sound like a lot of planning for just one day per week, but depending on how many classes they have and how often the rotation goes around, you may be able to do the same lessons for a few weeks at a time, just with different classes. That could lessen the burden.

    Do they already have a librarian who does a read aloud as part of library class? I'm guessing they probably don't if they don't value full-time art. How long does the specials class last? I wonder if you could do a read aloud appropriate for a grade-band (like K/1, 2/3, 4/5, so that you reduce the number of lessons you plan) and then have a brief follow-up activity tied to the read-aloud. Think of it like a Story-Hour at a public library or guest read aloud. I would think that would be on the lighter side of planning and could easily be tied to both your intervention programming and the gen ed curriculum.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2018
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  4. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Habitué

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    It sounds like a really good opportunity, especially if it is challenging to find a reading specialist position! In the districts I am familiar with, there is almost no more sped pull-outs. :( I think it is such a disservice to the students. I would jump at this opportunity. I have a few questions:

    -How do you feel about teaching in a high SES school?

    -What flexibility do you have in terms of deciding what to teach for the "specialty"? I like the idea of having the specialty be a read-aloud and an activity. This seems aligned to what you are comfortable teaching as well. If I were you, I would not commit to teaching something that I felt would be too much planning.

    -Does it seem like there is long-term job security for this position?

    I personally wouldn't worry much about classroom management for your "specials" classes. It might be a new challenge but you seem like an experienced teacher. I subbed in a relatively high SES public school and I barely had any classroom management issues except for one middle school class.
     
  5. Tulipteacher

    Tulipteacher Rookie

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    How about read a book aloud and then do an art project related to it or related to the style of the illustrations? It seems like I've seen a lot on Pinterest like that.

    That way it wouldn't be like teaching a lesson, more like a book and an activity. And it would connect with the Language Arts position a little.
     
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  6. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I think it sounds like a fabulous opportunity. Go for it!

    I third the read aloud idea. Find a good book, or a few good books, and then pick a few good reading activities (write a letter to the author, write an alternate ending, draw a picture of your favorite part, etc.). If you only have each class 1-2 times per month, you should be able to mix and match title and activity idea fairly easily. It sounds like a fun position to me, actually!
     
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  7. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Thanks everyone! The read aloud idea sounds good for me, but I guess I am just feeling like it has to be more "fun"/engaging since it's a specials class. The school doesn't have a librarian- those are a thing of the past everywhere around here. I was poking around on the school's website and they have a technology special where the kids build robots, all this super fancy art stuff, and a rock wall in the gym. I'm feeling like the kids will be super disappointed about going to my special in comparison! It sounds like I have complete flexibility, but I would bet they're looking for a solid idea in the interview. Another thought I had was possibly doing some academic games- things like word or math fact relays, etc. That may be hard to fill up 50 minutes with though. Maybe some combination of the read aloud and that? Bella, you are right- I hadn't thought about the fact that I can most likely use the same lesson plan for a few weeks in a row while the classes rotate around.

    I am worried about the long term stability of the position. Just at my school, we've gone from having anywhere from 1-3 reading interventionists (number changes every year) in the five years I've worked there. This is a HUGE district and this is the only full time position I've seen posted for intervention in the past two years, so if my position was eliminated or cut to less than full time, it's highly unlikely that I could just transfer to another school. I don't know that the district has any title 1 schools, so no extra funding for reading positions.

    I definitely plan to ask about this in the interview, but I would guess they don't really know these things in advance. From their website, they currently only have one intervention teacher listed for a school of almost 700 kids. I don't know if this position is being added or the new person will be replacing her. I don't like the idea of not having a team. They don't appear to have an instructional coach or EL teacher either...I guess I could hope the specials team would adopt me! I guess I'm used to being title 1 schools that have a lot of specialist positions. Besides our sped team, my current school has a FT counselor, 2 FT intervention teachers, 2 FT EL teachers, and 1 FT instructional coach.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2018
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  8. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Yep. Here's another area where they cry there's a "teaching shortage'' and it angers me because it's not true. Similar to your story, I've applied for reading gigs and they've been filled by internal teachers who want OUT of the classroom; that's already happened a handful of times just this school year alone. There was an "anticipated'' reading teacher gig to be taken by an internal teacher at the last minute... here I am working on my Master's degree as a Literacy Specialist and it might be for nothing! :mad: It's annoying because I need to teach it as part of my TEACH grant otherwise they become loans! It doesn't help when the jobs get scooped up by teachers who are burned out from the classroom. Anyway...
    Yeah if you can get this job, TAKE IT! Even if you have some "weird'' art thing on the side. Worse case scenario, meet with the art teacher and co -plan; you can cover some literacy thing while she does art. I know a lot of art teachers -- at least at the elementary level -- teach art from literature; you could help plan with that and take on the literature / literacy focus, while the art teacher tackles the art. Everywhere wants literacy covered in the content areas... well no better person to handle that than a literacy / reading specialist.
    Also, worse comes to worse, ASK the kids what they want to do? You can start by giving them interest surveys to get a feel for what they'd like to do in the class. You can explain the flexibility of the class and get some ideas going that way.
    :):thumbs:
     
  9. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Habitué

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    How would you feel about doing some sort of an engineering special? I know they have books that give engineering activities for different grade levels.
     
  10. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Personally, I would find that to be too much work. I would definitely do something related to literacy, given that the position is for a reading specialist. I would tie reading into the special in some way.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2018
  11. MissScrimmage

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    It sounds like a really neat position and a great way to work towards what you want. I also agree with the read aloud idea, but I am a literacy coach, so that would definitely be my 'go to'! Is there a library? If there is, without a librarian it's probably an underused space in the school. Could you set up a library class on Mondays? Students can browse, read, answer an inquiry question, etc.
     
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  12. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Well, after doing the interview I pretty much immediately decided that I won't take the position even if it's offered. My state does an anonymous "teaching and learning conditions" survey and for some reason it just occurred to me to look up their results last night (should have probably done that prior to applying). This school's results were really poor, indicating big problems with leadership and less than half the staff said that overall it is a good place to work.

    In the interview, it became very clear that the school has no systems or structures in place and frankly no one seemed to know much about struggling readers. I would have no team, and no curriculum or other materials/resources. They also said the position was some push-in and some pull-out, which exactly what I was trying to get away from in the first place. I've never been in a school where interventionists pushed in. I assume the position won't even be offered because I was honest and said I'm not interested in pushing in.

    The principal also was not at all encouraging about the long term stability of the position- she said it was "year to year" and depended totally on what the district decided to give them, and noted that many schools didn't have interventionists. I am "non-probationary" at my current school. It's definitely not worth it to me to risk giving up my security to take a very unstable position considering I'm no longer really excited about the position.

    Thanks anyway for the advice, everyone!
     
  13. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    I'm sorry that didn't pan out, but I wanted to throw in my support for getting out of SPED. I'm desperately trying to get out, myself. My pull-out classes have dwindled down to nothing and I'm doing more and more horrendous co-teaching. My job is entirely too dependent on other people doing theirs and it's awful.
     
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  14. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    What are you trying to get into instead? Intervention was the only clear way out that I could see (related enough to my current job that I could get hired), but besides the complete lack of open positions, I think I'd run into the same issues everywhere with them being very unstable. I can't even hope to transfer within my own district, because the other elementary schools in my district have combined their EL and intervention positions, and I'm not EL certified. The two intervention teachers at my own school seem like they'll stay in those positions forever, and I highly doubt my own school would let me out of sped.

    The principal called me this evening, said many complimentary things and said they really liked me but the one "sticking point" was me not wanting to do the push in services. She said that apparently their district makes them write IEPs 50/50 pull out/push in the younger grades, and they don't want to provide more pull out services in intervention than sped. She said she totally understood why I didn't want to do the push in services, but that just doesn't work for their district policies. So that tells me there is no point in applying anywhere else in this district, which is one of the largest in the area and has 60+ elementary schools.
     
  15. Ms.Holyoke

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    Waterfall, are you interested in getting a gen ed teaching job instead?

    It's frustrating to me that so many sped positions are moving to co-teaching. I student taught in the largest district in my state and the sped services were a disaster. They do no pull out but they also hire no special ed teachers! We had an inclusion specialist for the whole K-8 school who pulled out our students once every other week for 30 minutes. The district is looking to hire dual certified teachers to teach inclusion classes alone. At job fairs, that's what it seemed like multiple districts were looking for. That's why I am working on my sped cert this summer but it is really frustrating.
     
  16. FourSquare

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    I have gen ed certifications for both ELA and SS. I also have the reading specialist cert, but as you've discovered, it's pretty hard to use and unstable. I kind of want to be a regular old English teacher where I'm left alone to teach and generally know what I'm doing each year. Too much volatility in SPED.
     
  17. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I have one year of experience teaching gen ed, but at this point it was five years ago. I guess I just don't think I'd have any chance at being hired for that, except for maybe the small possibility of being hired at a school that has so many issues that most of the class has severe academic/behavior deficits and they see having a sped teacher as the gen ed teacher as a positive (that's the type of school I worked in before). I'm not really interested in going back to that either. Otherwise, I find that the unfortunate perception is that sped is actually an "easier" job :eek: and that sped teachers won't be able to handle having a full class. The job market for gen ed elementary teachers is still pretty saturated in my area.
     
  18. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    This is unfortunate, considering we deal almost entirely with reluctant learners and/or behavior issues. I'd think this would make for a classroom management asset.

    My P officially offered me a weird position for next year. Half gen ed and half push in. But then he was all, "There's no room in the schedule to give you a SPED co-teacher in the section with IEP students." Apparently the assumption is that I can do both the SPED and Gen Ed role, which is insulting to both, I think. :rolleyes:
     
  19. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I’m not sped certified. Schools that offer gen ed teachers a sped teacher to work with are few and far between around me. There is a sped teacher on campus but she never set foot in my room. My students were served by an aide for thirty minutes three times a week. I’d probably faint if we ever went to co-teaching and actually served these kids the way they need!
     

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