Any Learning Support Teachers out there? Mainstream question...

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by rookieABC123, Sep 20, 2014.

  1. rookieABC123

    rookieABC123 Comrade

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    Messages:
    279
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 20, 2014

    I work as a learning support teacher in a middle school. We have 3 learning support teachers in a building with 400 students. Approx. 60 of them have a learning disability IEP. We have 1 LS teacher that is a resource teacher meaning they pretty much never leave their room they stay there and help LS students with tests, etc...Myself and the other LS teacher teach pull out reading and math or we are in a co-taught reading and math class so our schedules are full. I have no time to figure out what is happening in other classrooms esp. with science and social studies. Things seem to be falling apart and I feel our LS kids are falling through the cracks of the system. The material is way over their heads and they learn nothing but get passed on. We have asked admin. to let us create a basic science and basic social studies but no one seems to care. Some of the modified tests the teachers are using have answers narrowed to 2, which I think is ridiculous.

    This is our current solution to the problem which we are going to try starting this week: each special ed. teacher will become a "go to" person for each different dept. Meaning I will be the go to for the reading and lang. arts teachers, etc...That way we can each focus on one group of teachers and handle the issues and provide support to those teachers. Also making sure that the material going home such as study guides are simpler and contain less information than what is given to the reg. ed. students. Our teachers send home huge science and social studies packets that our LS kids are supposed to study from. We would like to make that into a 1-2 page study guide for them to study then give them the modified test based on the study guide.

    Our LS kids are all mainstreamed into the regular science and social studies. Please share advice on how you handle modifications to tests/assignments (whose responsible), how you make sure students have a place to go and test (resource room). Do you have a system in place to organize all of this. How do you stay on top of all that is going on and going home. Any advice is greatly appreciated.
    On a side note-- maybe we are just under-staffed and things will never get better. Another problem we have is each teacher teaches different lessons at different times. It would make life so much easier if each Science 7 teacher follows the same written curriculum and teaches it approx. at the same time. UGH!!!! Feeling overwhelmed:help:
     
  2.  
  3. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2014
    Messages:
    9,645
    Likes Received:
    2,403

    Sep 20, 2014

    Well, be careful what you wish for. NJ is not the only state heading towards the curriculum where it is simply scripted and administrators are essentially banning individuality within the classroom. Some classes even have to be decorated exactly the same. Now that I have that off my chest, I believe you are understaffed, but surprised that there is not better communication between the in-class support and the gen-ed teacher. Done correctly, the co-teaching is seamless, and the differentiation that helps the students with learning disabilities also benefits the students who are struggling to learn the curriculum for varied reasons. UBD - understanding by design methods can be employed by all teachers to make the lesson more accessible and understandable for every student - special ed., ELLs, struggling gen. ed., and the list goes on. It is less about the different lessons at different times, and more about the actual co-teaching and communication with each teacher. If each teacher has lessons to share with you, and you start creating the differentiated lessons that will accompany those lessons, then you should be able to either keep that teacher's lessons with the modifications in a folder, either on the computer, or a file cabinet that all LS teachers can access and use. As a science teacher, I can tell you that each teacher has a preference and reason for the way lessons are presented, including such things as wanting to watch a caterpillar change, which is dependent on the food source. Many units in life science are easy to move around, thankfully. I think that maybe your department would benefit from more sharing of resources to make everyone's life easier. Yes, I am science, I also work with ELLs, and I teach in a private school where every student has a classification.

    I wish you much luck.
     
  4. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Messages:
    5,860
    Likes Received:
    734

    Sep 20, 2014

    I teach in elementary, but at our high school they have a special ed teacher designated for each subject, including Science and Social Studies. The sped teacher must also be certified in whatever gen ed subject they work in, so they have the knowledge necessary for co-teaching. This is honestly the first place I've ever heard of having Science and SS sped teachers and I would imagine it's pretty rare. They offer "basic" levels of Science and Social Studies classes for the lower students, and they co-teach in gen ed sections of Science and Social Studies for students who can handle those classes with support. In my state, we don't modify tests or curriculum for mild/moderate students as this will put them on a non-diploma track. In the "basic" classes, the sped teacher is the only teacher, so of course he or she is in charge of providing all modified instruction and tests. In the co-taught classes, if the sped teacher wanted a different study guide sent home, he or she would be responsible for modifying the study guide. However, the students would still be responsible for taking the regular test, so I'm not sure that would be a wise choice in our case. If the students have an accommodation for a smaller testing environment or oral test presentation, the sped teacher would take them to his or her room during any classroom tests. This works for them at the high school level because they have a sped teacher in those co-taught classes every day. Here in elementary school, we aren't even close to that ratio, so classroom teacher have to provide read aloud accommodations to kids in class if they are giving a test. If I stopped what I was doing to go read a test to kids every time a class was giving one, that's all I would accomplish for the entire day!
     
  5. rookieABC123

    rookieABC123 Comrade

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    Messages:
    279
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 20, 2014

    Thank you both. Your insight really helps. I think this could only work if all of our classes were co-taught. I believe we are under staffed and can only do so much. Yes we need to be sharing resources a lot more. Thanks again!
     
  6. rookieABC123

    rookieABC123 Comrade

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    Messages:
    279
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 20, 2014

    The problem is we don't have a spec. Ed teacher in some of our science and social studies classes so I'm left with trying to figure out what is needed along with the other six classes I teach and co-teach. Very frustrating.
     
  7. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2014
    Messages:
    9,645
    Likes Received:
    2,403

    Sep 20, 2014

    Reach out to your science teachers and let them know you are wanting to create a repository of varied lessons, allowing you to create differentiated instruction that will benefit every student in the class. The more buy in you get, the better the result. Many will want to share with you what they have already been doing, and that can be your starting point of mutual understanding. Trust me - if you can get better results with a different approach, especially one that requires less of them, more of you, you will have true partners. In NJ, at the HS level, we have just what the other poster was talking about. To teach the TOSD classes, you must have a subject matter K-12 certification, be in English, science, math, or history. The working relationship is truly co-teaching. However, at the MS level, you need less of the courses in the subject to be certified in those subjects. Many teachers kind of gravitate to certain subjects, which becomes their area of expertise over time. I subbed many times for the teacher who was in class support for science, and another teacher preferred ELA. Not overly staffed, but over time, the gen ed teachers formed a rapport with these SPED teachers, and it did work.

    Good luck!
     
  8. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2008
    Messages:
    2,019
    Likes Received:
    19

    Sep 24, 2014

    We have 3 aped teachers and 3 aides and we cover all the core math, science, english and social studies classes in grades 9-12 for about 35 students. We each specialize in particular subjects and so do our aides.

    We give our aides a lot of autonomy to work with teachers. We sped teachers share a classroom where we keep large whiteboard charts with different subject boxes to record homework and due dates. Our aides help us keep the charts updated.

    By specializing in the same subjects every year, we get a really good feel for the subject and the style and curriculum of the gen ed teachers. That makes it a lot easier to step in and adjust homework and tests. If I had a teacher that gave regular packet work would grab the packets from my students and cross out erroneous problems or edit down the number of problems.

    One crucial factor is that we sit with the scheduling administrator every summer and make sure our students are cohorted into the same classes as much as possible. Otherwise our jobs would be impossible. We do have to sometimes check on 2 classes per period.

    We also have access to our teacher's online gradebooks so we can keep up with student's missing assignments.
     
  9. rookieABC123

    rookieABC123 Comrade

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    Messages:
    279
    Likes Received:
    0

    Oct 6, 2014

    I like the whiteboard idea. Thanks for your response that was helpful.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. nklauste,
  2. SpecialPreskoo,
  3. Backroads,
  4. Sarah91,
  5. TeacherNY
Total: 396 (members: 7, guests: 369, robots: 20)
test