Are special ed teachers at your school required to cover classes of absent teachers?

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by schoolteacher, Nov 16, 2011.

  1. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    Nov 16, 2011

    We frequently have difficulty getting subs at our school. Rather than have other teachers covering the classes during their prep time, special ed teachers are pulled and used to cover.

    Is this legal? It saves the school money, since they don't have to pay for those lost preps. But it denies the students services that they so desperately need.

    What is your experience?
     
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  3. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Nov 16, 2011

    My school used to be really bad about this. Collectively, we complained, and the occurrences have dropped drastically. It has to be a true emergency for a sped teacher to be pulled. One thing that has helped is we now have a para who is a certified teacher. If anyone gets pulled, it's her.
     
  4. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Nov 16, 2011

    It happens occasionally, but not as much as it did a few years ago. If a class is without a sub, they are usually covered by several people during the day--teacher-librarian, ELL teacher, Special Ed teacher, teacher(s) on prep, etc. They never pull one person from their responsibilities for the entire day.
     
  5. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Nov 16, 2011

    When I worked as a math resource teacher, I was pulled quite a bit to sub for a class and had to cancel all of my math groups for the day (or if it was half day sub then some of my math groups). This only happened if a sub cancelled at the last minute or if a teacher needed a sub suddenly and there were no more subs to call.

    It was still a bit annoying, threw, as it through my plans off.

    But, I looked at it in that we did what was best in that situation.
     
  6. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Nov 16, 2011

    Thankfully, my school is really great about not doing this. They know I legally need to meet the service hours for my kids. We have a hard time getting subs as well, and in a pinch they'll combine classes rather than pull someone else. We have really small classes (about 15-18 students per class), so really putting two of them together isn't as big of a deal for one teacher as it sounds. This is my 2nd year at this school and I've never been asked to sub even though at the end of last year we were literally at points where someone was out and there was no sub once every week or two. My dad is also a special ed teacher, in another school obviously- and he gets pulled a lot to sub. It's a huge building with 5 special ed teachers, so they usually have them all do an hour or so in the classroom that needs the sub.

    Our district sped department has actually been really harping about us getting subs for ourselves when we're out, which is not something we've done before. My building admin says they've tried it in the past and the sub ends up in the office all day asking what to do. Honestly, that makes sense to me. I sometimes see up to 15 groups a day, and I go pull the kids from multiple classrooms myself (it's not the same time every day, so I can't expect the kids to remember when to come- I can hardly keep track without my schedule). I'm just trying to imagine even trying to explain to a sub in written plans how to get the kids- I feel like by the time she rounded them all up it'd be time for them to leave again. I honestly don't mind that they don't get me a sub, but I am thankful I'm not asked to sub for others.
     
  7. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Nov 16, 2011

    Our sped teachers have their own classes to cover. We do have a few paras who are sub qualified who are occasionally pulled in an emergency.
     
  8. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Nov 16, 2011

    We each have an on call period; today mine was 1st period.

    If someone is out, we rotate coverages.

    Every once in a while we get "beyond on call." (It happened several times last year for funerals.) At that point, administators get coverages.
     
  9. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Nov 16, 2011

    Our special education teachers are only asked to cover a class if they co-teach a class with a teacher who is out and there is no sub.
     
  10. PCdiva

    PCdiva Connoisseur

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    Nov 16, 2011

    If students are not receiving services mandated by their IEP, then the school is breaking the law.

    For example if the IEP states the student will receive 90 minutes of pull out services in a group of 3 and the sped teacher was pulled today so the student missed their 30 minutes, it would have to be made up at another time in the week.
     
  11. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Nov 16, 2011

    Our aides can sub in a pinch and if there are two classes for that grade level, we've been known to combine. Our teachers have never had to cover for another outside of combined classes. In a pinch I might invite another grade level in my classroom for a short period of time if someone is late or the sub is on their way but I think that only happened once.
     
  12. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Nov 16, 2011

    Gen ed and sped teachers at my school get compensated for covering classes.
     
  13. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    Nov 17, 2011

    It doesn't sound as though this law is being enforced, from what others on this board are saying. People are sharing that this situation is a common experience. They sure don't make up the time lost at my school.

    There is really no one to oversee this, except the administration. Administration is not going to say anything about it, because it is a way for them to save money - just pull the special ed teacher, because then you don't have to pay back prep time to the regular ed teachers.
     
  14. PCdiva

    PCdiva Connoisseur

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    Nov 17, 2011

    You're right unfortunately. The only way the school would get in trouble is if a student told their parent that they missed it here and there and the parent questioned it an IEP meeting...with a lawyer.
    Some schools could provide more minutes than said on the IEP to get around this as well, then it wouldn't be a problem if the student missed it.

    And if it happens once in a blue moon of course it is not the same as if they miss it once a week, etc.
     
  15. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Nov 17, 2011

    We write our IEPs with monthly service hours, rather than weekly, so it is easy to make up if necessary. I also do "overschedule" all of the students by a little bit so I really don't need to make it up if I miss a day or two that month. We just tell the parents at the meeting that their child is getting "at least ___ hours a month" of pull out time. If my building decided to pull me every time we didn't have a sub though, that would be at least once a week sometimes, which I wouldn't have time to make up. It's also not best for the kids regardless of the legality of the minutes. If I miss a whole day with them, that's a full day of lessons they missed. It's not like the extra 5 minutes I normally tack on to their group time to keep things legal really makes up for that whole separate lesson they would have gotten. So I'm glad my school doesn't try to use me as a sub. For me to get a sub though, I don't think they'd really accomplish much trying to follow my crazy schedule and get the kids, so I feel like sub or not it would still pretty much be a wasted day.
     
  16. Leatherette

    Leatherette Comrade

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    Nov 20, 2011

    I was once asked to cover for the first 15 minutes of school until a sub arrived. I didn't even have students yet, so it was no big deal. But I do see how it could become a problem.
     
  17. karebear76

    karebear76 Habitué

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    Nov 21, 2011

    I occasionally get pulled but it's either for the first 15 minutes or so waiting for a sub or the last half hour or so. It's not typically during my instructional time so it's no big deal.

    I almost always have a sub for my own room if I'm absent.

    As for the legality and minutes discussion, I've been told that if the student misses (absent) then the minutes do not have to be made up. If the sp ed teacher is absent, then the minutes must be made up (unless the sub would be highly qualified in sp ed to implement the services). If school is not in session (snow day) then the minutes do not have to be made up. At least that's how I understand it. And, no we do not do this :) yet anyway.
     
  18. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    Nov 26, 2011

    I have never been asked to cover for a teacher who is out, but if I did, I would get paid the regular hourly rate state in our contract.
     

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