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  #1  
Old 04-14-2013, 01:06 PM
Bengie03 Bengie03 is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2009
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Ca
Preschool Teacher
ECSE

I have been a instructional assistant in a special education preschool for the past 6 years, and I have really enjoyed my work with the children. I have one more semester until I graduate with my bachelors degree in child development, and I am unsure if I can handle the stress that comes with special education. I know that I can be as successful teacher, but I am concerned with the IEPS and all the other forms and legal aspects of being a special education teacher. How stressful is working in special education, especially ECSE?
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  #2  
Old 04-14-2013, 01:52 PM
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bella84 bella84 is offline
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Midwest
Second Grade
Special ed is stressful. Very stressful. But, then again, teaching of any grade-level, content, or specialty area is very stressful. Special ed is just stressful in its own unique way.

I don't teach early childhood, but I did visit one of the ECSE buildings in our district on Friday, and I must say that they didn't seem any more or any less stressed than those of us at the other levels can be. Again, it's different, but the level of stress is similar.
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  #3  
Old 04-15-2013, 06:39 PM
Preschool0929 Preschool0929 is offline
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Slightly Stressful

I teach ECSE and I stay extremely stressed. The meetings, data monitoring, progress reports, modifications, are all very time consuming and stressful. The big difference I see between ECSE and other special Ed rooms (in my school at least) are that early childhood is the intro to not only school for very young students, but also starting at square one to figure out what modifications or adaptations are needed, teaching parents how to best help their student and sending tons of individualized activities home , and getting a child used to structure and routine. The hardest thing for me really is just the difference in students I have. I have 19 3-5 year olds. Some are DD who have slight cognitive or adaptive delays. Some are students with disabilities who are just starting to walk and talk.

I think just the fact that you have been working in a classroom is great and will definitely help you succeed. My advice is to try to have an organization and data monitoring plan from day 1. You'll always change how you do it, but it helps me to have a binder system with IEPs, goals, medical needs, etc.. so that I feel better

Good lunch!
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  #4  
Old 04-23-2013, 06:13 PM
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stepka stepka is offline
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Posts: 374
St. Louis, MO
Special Education Teacher
Glad i read your post b/c I have somewhat of the same question, though at the other end. I just got hired to teach in a high school resource room with 17 IEPs and I'm worried about how to handle the paperwork--pw is not my forte.

I've tried googling sites that will tell how to set it up but haven't found much. Anyone know of any good websites about that? Also, I'll be picking my coworkers' brains but I want to start looking into it now. So, Preschool0929--tell us about this binder system.
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  #5  
Old 04-23-2013, 07:24 PM
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bella84 bella84 is offline
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Midwest
Second Grade
Here is are some good resources for creating sped teacher binders:

- http://www.teachhub.com/organized-teacher-binders
- http://www.teachhub.com/more-organized-teacher-binders

I used these websites to set up my binder and organization system. Although, the only thing that I constantly carry with me is a clipboard that has my schedule, lesson plans, a to-do list, and a frequently referenced cheat sheet I use when explaining the WJ-III at eligibility determination meetings. I reference the binder when needed, but I don't carry it with me everywhere I go the same way I do with the clipboard.
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  #6  
Old 04-24-2013, 05:56 PM
Preschool0929 Preschool0929 is offline
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What I do...

Well....I'm no expert at all, but what i do seems to work so far, at least in an early childhood sped room. I have 1 binder with every IEP inside, organized in abc order and with tabs for quick reference. For every IEP, I make my own data sheets with goals and objectives listed and keep these on clipboards that I carry around all day. I split them up and give my paraeducator a clipboard too. Since our classroom is center/play based, I have index cards on a ring at every center that lists activities and ways to use that center to work on various objectives. This is more for my paras, subs, volunteers, etc... I also have baskets that are labelled with students names and filled with materials needed to work on goals. For example, many of my students have fine motor goals, so in a basket might be a pair of adaptive scissors, different pencil adaptations, tweezers to work on pincer grasp, visual cues, and some pre-made tracing cards. I really just do this because our class gets a little crazy so it's helpful to just be able to grab it and go work.

Hmmm....what else....at the end of each data period, i file the old data in the IEP binder to keep everything together. I also have a binder that is divided up by area (cognitive, speech, motor, etc...) and blank pages behind each section. When a therapist (or pinterest!) tells me about some super fun activity, I write it down so that when i lesson plan, I can just flip through to the areas I need to target. Like I said, I don't do anything fabulous, but its working so far
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  #7  
Old 04-29-2013, 03:39 PM
Beverly Beverly is offline
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Midwest
Early Childhood Teacher
I've worked ECSE in two different districts. One thing to consider is that districts deal with things very differently. For instance, 1:1 aides are far less common in some districts than others, and some will not even hire a program/classroom aide until you have a certain number of students. That becomes much more stressful when you do not have a bathroom in your classroom and the students are all runners, and several are in diapers. Many districts schedule subs for teachers to attend IEP meetings or have meetings on a non-student attendance day, but some districts schedule these meetings during your regular day in between A.M. & P.M. sessions- basically during your lunch. The level of support also varies in terms of equipment that you're given (cube chairs, etc). Even having experienced all that, I love teaching ECSE. Everyday there is a small miracle to behold. The parents are wonderful. The children are making progress, and their joy is contagious! I guess my suggestion to you is to really inquire about the program and find out what kind of support is available. That knowledge can help you cope with the stress better.
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  #8  
Old 04-29-2013, 03:55 PM
Preschool0929 Preschool0929 is offline
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Exactly!

That is such good advice from the previous poster and so true. Thankfully, my district is very good about adding 1:1 paras when necessary. However, I do know teacher friends in ECSE that have a horrible time with this and have multiple students with very severe disabilities that only have 1 para. We are also able to have our IEP meetings after 2 when the kiddos leave.
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