Balancing Needs of Special Education kids with Regular Ed

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by Pemi, Dec 3, 2020.

  1. Pemi

    Pemi Rookie

    Aug 14, 2020
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    Dec 3, 2020

    Brand new elementary teacher with a master's degree teaching under Emergency Covid Certs.

    I LOVE it. What fun, every day is a new challenge and the kids are so great. I'm a biologist by training, so we do lots of nature and my students can already identify 13 songbirds by sight and sound (pretty awesome).

    But, the problem is, I have very little support as a new teacher and no one to ask "tough" questions as I work things out. I have 4 IEP kids in my room of 12 (8 of my students are remote and I teach in-person full time and teach remote concurrently).

    In Math, we've been working out word problems. My students with IEPs just can't do them. I have tried many approaches. It is just me in the room no special ed aide (IEP says a student should have one but there is no staff available- and nobody applying for the job, so we're stuck). The special ed teacher tells me to just give these students the addition and subtraction bits of the word problems, and have them work them out. However, these students can't copy from the board, and they can't write numbers down or focus unless I am sitting there with them for at least several minutes monitoring. Also, numbers bigger than 2 or 3 digits, and carrying are a huge challenge for them. They need assistance to work it out.

    I have 8 regular ed kids who also need attention, some are behind due to Covid release last year in March- and I can't spend all my time with my kids with IEPs because I won't have any time to help the regular ed kids... I've recruited some of my more advanced regular ed kids to help once they are done with their work, but that's really fair - I have them help regular ed peers, not special ed.

    I'm frustrated. I feel sad these kids with IEPs aren't getting anything out of my instruction and are rightly frustrated as well. I could just give them simple addition and subtraction worksheets instead of the modules we work on as a class, but I don't see that teaching them anything, really... just busy work. And even then, the focus would be difficult unless I closely monitored.

    I don't know if there's more I can do to help... I know Covid has resulted in staffing shortages but I have very high standards for myself and I want to help all my students succeed.

    Please realize I'm a brand new teacher, and I think I am doing very well in general and truly enjoy it- I am very stymied on this concern/issue (it's not just math but that's where it's really hard for me to differentiate).

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