Anyone ever feel left out?

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by Mellz Bellz, Mar 4, 2011.

  1. Mellz Bellz

    Mellz Bellz Comrade

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    Mar 4, 2011

    I enjoy teaching Sp ed. I really do, but does anyone else ever feel that when you are a Sp ed teacher other teachers and administrators sometimes treat you like a babysitter? In my building I am the only self-contained teacher and since I teach all different grade levels I don't have a team of teachers I really work with. A lot of times (like report cards for instance) I am told to just make it up on my own. I don't have anyone else to ask if I am doing something right or wrong. Our building is starting PLC's, but since I don't have a prep time or a specific grade level I am not part of one. I have to constantly fight to get my boys to be invited on field trips with their grade level peers since no one wants us to tag along on their trips and if we took our own it would be expensive as there are only 9 kids. I have to ask for things several times before I get them. I still have not gotten all of my Benchmark scores from last quarter and even though I know my kids did not pass and are not expected to, I would still like the data to see if there was any improvement. Finally, they just hired two tutors (and are hiring a third) to help the gen ed kids on state testing, but there is no money to hire another TA for me or at least get a 1 on 1 for a particular student.

    It's frustrating and I feel sometimes like my classroom is the island of misfit children. Any time a student gets to be too difficult they are thrown into my room. Does anyone else feel that way? Any suggestions?
     
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  3. pete2770

    pete2770 Comrade

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    Mar 4, 2011

    From a para's perspective, I know what you mean.

    My school works well with the SPED teachers so they aren't really left out.

    That aside you should hear the sighs of relief that come from gen ed teachers whenever my students are gone for the day. They will literally say, oh this is going to be a good day, so and so isn't here. Or "why'd you get my hopes up, I thought so and so'd be gone!" Obviously they don't say it in front of the kids, but it goes to show what a lot of people really think about SPED outside of having to do x and y because the government says so.

    I think it's pretty clear from you being thrown to the wind to wing up a report card. It happens every where.
     
  4. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Mar 4, 2011

    I also feel isolated but my assistant and I are used to it and we kind of enjoy doing our own thing. We are left alone by administration and most of the other teachers unless they have a problem child that they need help with. We have been told that we teach the "throw away" children (Thank you NCLB!). Because our children are not expected to pass the testing, we have tons more freedom than gen ed teachers. So, the isolation has it's benefits!
     
  5. sunni11

    sunni11 Rookie

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    Mar 4, 2011

    I have been struggling with this all year long! I am sorry to hear you have been going through this too, yet it helps to hear I am not the only one!
     
  6. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Mar 4, 2011

    I worked in one school where I was the only self-contained class. I wasn't really part of the school in the first place -- my school (a special ed. school) got permission to place my class in a different school so that my students could be integrated into general ed. classes.

    My students were not allowed to join the other students in the playground before school hours, so since the buses arrived before the bell, they had to come to class up to 20 minutes early. So, I had to work unpaid for those 20 minutes. My students were not allowed to eat in the lunchroom, so we ate in the classroom. They couldn't go outside unsupervised so I took them out in the AM and my assistant took them out for lunch recess. I was expected to attend all of the their staff meetings even though nothing pertained to me. I was expected to do recess supervision for the regular ed. students one lunch hour a week even though my students were supervised by my assistant and I was outside every morning for recess. I had to do lunch supervision when they closed down the lunch room even though the regular ed. teachers never supervised my room during lunch.

    I think I added it up and I had my students/their students for almost 3 hours a week more than the regular ed. teachers, but my principal told me to suck it up b/c they were kind enough to let my students come to their classes. Mind you my students never attended another class without my assistant and they were better behaved than the regular ed. students so my assistant spent more time with their students than my kids.
     
  7. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    Mar 4, 2011

    Proud, I have never heard of such an awful stigma. Well, maybe if I read about segregation in the 50s,60s. I don't know how a school can get away with something such as this. I am without words!!!
     
  8. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Mar 4, 2011

    I know exactly what you mean. Luckily, in my school this happens to a lesser degree. But I've definitely been in schools where it is exactly as you described.

    I would say the main time I feel left out is staff meetings/PD (my district is huge on pd- we have a mandatory pd/work session 90 minutes a week after school). Most of the time, they will say, K-2 at this table, 3-5 at this table, and specials teachers at this table. They then work on some project that will help them get something done for the classroom. Ineveitably, I will have to ask what I'm supposed to do, and they say "Oh...ummm...just listen in somewhere." Yeah that makes me feel really important. I know what you mean about having to ask for things too. We have parent teacher conferences coming up, and I'm supposed to attend the conferences for my students. I've asked the teachers 3-4 times to give me a copy of their lists or at least tell me when my kids are so that I can schedule them (there are always conflicts so I have to prioritize, and I simply have too many students to work around scheduling in 11 different classrooms so that no one conflicts). Only two teachers have given me their conference times. Conferences start next Tuesday. It's like- how many times do I have to ask?

    Those are the main concrete things I can think of. I sometimes feel like I'm less of a "teacher" than the classroom teachers, or that there is that perception, but I can't really definite it in a concrete way. Honestly, people do treat me well. I'm always included in anything social with the staff as well, so I can't really complain. I think what you're describing is fairly common though.
     
  9. lucylucy

    lucylucy Rookie

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    Mar 5, 2011

    I know what you mean. I'm included and treated well but my classroom is on the complete other end of the building than the other first and second grade classrooms witch makes inclusion difficult. PD never applies to me but I'm expected to attend like everyone else. My kids come 15 minutes before school begins so my day starts 15 minutes before everyone else's. I really like my school but the thing that is hardest is just not having anyone there to really collaborate with.
     
  10. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Mar 5, 2011

    I know what you mean about collaboration. I'm the only sped teacher in my building. I "collaborate" all the time with classroom teachers as part of my job, but on the other hand I don't have another sped teacher to relate to or ask questions (which as a first year teacher-I've had plenty!) We have a speech pathologist in our building 2 days a week, and we talk a lot and help each other with IEP paperwork, questions, RtI, etc. I also talk to our psych a lot but he's in the building twice a month at most. My day also starts before everyone else's, and then people seem to think I have "extra time". I know they're completely not trying to be rude or anything, but the implication aggrivates me, especially since if anything I feel like I have MORE work. People will come ask me to do extra things and say "I know you have some extra time." I did a dual certification, so I taught 6 months in a gen. ed room and taught in 9 other schools for gen. ed. as part of field experiences before that, so I know both sides. I love my school also- I think these are things that just kind of happen in every building!
     
  11. Mellz Bellz

    Mellz Bellz Comrade

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    Mar 5, 2011

    I am glad that I am not the only one who feels that way. It does help a bit. And as someone else brought up there are certain advantages, mainly that I really do not have a curriculum to follow, so I have a lot of freedom to teach what I want. The downside is sometimes having too much freedom can make me scattered.

    I do have an inclusion/ resource room teacher in my building, but he is not a lot of help. There is some nepotism involved there and if I think if he was anyone else he would not have the job he has, but that's another story.

    I guess I am just used to how it was back North where I was fortunate to work in a district that had a very large and well organized Special Ed dept. Typically there would be quite a few Sp ed classes per building and were grouped on disability and grade level. Plus inclusion classrooms were lucky enough to have both a gen ed and sp ed teacher team teaching full time. I wish they had that here but it'll never happen.
     
  12. Mellz Bellz

    Mellz Bellz Comrade

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    Mar 5, 2011

    I am glad that I am not the only one who feels that way. It does help a bit. And as someone else brought up there are certain advantages, mainly that I really do not have a curriculum to follow, so I have a lot of freedom to teach what I want. The downside is sometimes having too much freedom can make me scattered.

    I do have an inclusion/ resource room teacher in my building, but he is not a lot of help. There is some nepotism involved there and if I think if he was anyone else he would not have the job he has, but that's another story.

    I guess I am just used to how it was back North where I was fortunate to work in a district that had a very large and well organized Special Ed dept. Typically there would be quite a few Sp ed classes per building and were grouped on disability and grade level. Plus inclusion classrooms were lucky enough to have both a gen ed and sp ed teacher team teaching full time. I wish they had that here but it'll never happen.
     
  13. Leatherette

    Leatherette Comrade

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    Mar 11, 2011

    Yup. I have been a special ed teacher for over 10 years, and have just learned to go to "my happy place" when I am sitting in yet another training or meeting that is totally focused on the needs of gen. ed. classroom teachers. It is kind of frustrating, knowing that I have been in student intervention meetings and IEP meetings when they have been coming in an hour later. If I could just be excused to do paperwork or planning, that would be a much better use of my time. But it is easier to just have me go along and do what everyone else is doing. I feel for the PE and music teachers as well. The standard issue answer is that we all "support what is happening in the gen ed classrooms". Well, we do, but we can do that without knowing all of the details. And I am the only special ed teacher in the building. I feel like I belong socially, but not so much professionally.
     
  14. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    That's a good way to put it- I feel very much like I belong socially, but not always professionally. I think the specials teachers are in a similiar boat. My school also operates on the "everything supports the gen. ed. classroom" mentality.
     
  15. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Mar 13, 2011

    We are a fully inclusive school, but we do have 4 sped teachers. (Actually we have 5, one is our PreK teacher.) Three of the sped teachers are inclusion teachers and work with specific grade levels. One is a resource teacher. When we have prof. develpopment normally our PE and music teachers (who also teaches PE and health) are released to plan, work on the health initiative, etc. Our sped teachers stay with us because they are expected to use the same strategies. Right now we are concentrating on student engagement. That helps all of us. We have had training that didn't apply as much to the them. When that happens, they are released and work on sped issues. Our principal is really good about not making you sit there if it won't work for you. Also, our sped teachers never get to sit and meet (their planning times are all at different time.) So, once a month the principal has reg ed teachers cover their duty stations and she meets with them.
    Our resource teacher has about 2 1/2 times the planning as everyone else. Our inclusion teachers, though, barely have any. In fact the one that works with me (who is AWESOME) changed her schedule because a reg ed teacher (another 4th grade teacher) changed hers. That means the sped teacher has no planning and gets 15 minutes for lunch.
     
  16. Mellz Bellz

    Mellz Bellz Comrade

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    Mar 13, 2011

    I agree with the belonging socially but not professionally idea too. I really do work with some extremely nice people who welcomed me with open arms this year. It is not at all like schools in NY where you have your cliques and drama between grade levels. I feel pretty comfortable and respected by my coworkers. It's just professionally they don't always get it. A lot of them have no knowledge of Special Ed and still think that sending them to my room is a miracle cure. The sad thing is that once they are in my room, the chances of them going back to gen ed are pretty slim :( I wish I really had someone to collaborate with. Our inclusion teacher is not much help because his attitude is "We just do what we can."

    I do definitely have to keep reminding myself (especially with state testing coming up) that 95% of what my P says doesn't necessarily apply to me and my boys. Right now we are hearing things like, "Every instructional minute needs to be utilized to the full extent. We can't waste any time. Students need to be constantly engaged..." It's easy to get swept up in all that and forget that in my room if I expected my boys to work straight through the day like that I'd have a mutiny on my hands! My boys need the consistent breaks between academics. Even with state testing I have to remind myself that they aren't expected to pass and unfortunately all the focus is on getting the students who have a chance the help versus the ones that are deemed "hopeless." If their scores even go up a point from last year I've done my job. I can see that they have made progress, so I am happy.
     
  17. MATgrad

    MATgrad Groupie

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    Mar 23, 2011

    I'm at a large school where we have multiple resource rooms. We've kind of formed our own little group which is nice. I think people at my school go WAY out of their way to include me socially sometimes but I'm not sure sometimes if that's due to the fact that I'm the department chair this year. There can be quite a bit of sucking up at times. Am I still eating lunch alone everyday? Yup. My one admin found that one out and decided that she should eat lunch with me. Just what I need. Another way to make me stick out.
     

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