Balancing "sped" responsibilities and "teaching" responsibilities

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by waterfall, Sep 13, 2013.

  1. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Sep 13, 2013

    We have a couple of students who are a little needier behavior-wise. I'll spare you the long story, but a couple of them transferred from a nearby district that gave them TONS of IEP hours that we just don't have the resources for, so they're being considered for more "moderate" programs, but for now are on my caseload. Of course, they tend to do better in my room because it's smaller/quieter/activities on their level, etc.

    Some of the teachers keep coming to tell me that so-and-so is "having a rough day" and asking if I could pull him if I have "extra time." I don't mean to be rude, but how in the heck do they think I have "extra time?" I understand that these are "my" students and I should share the responsibility. The SLP and Psych are both putting in extra time with these kids, but neither of them have full teaching schedules. They are fully aware of what my schedule looks like and how many kids I have- we've discussed how it's crazy that they don't have another sped teacher several times. I teach classes back to back all day other than planning and lunch, and my lunch is literally the shortest in the building. I am literally meeting kids at the EXACT number of minutes required on their IEP per week (there just isn't room for more) so I can't really spare a minute of groups to deal with behavior situations. I kind of feel like my planning time should be for you know, actually planning like other teachers get to do.

    As a sped teacher, do you feel obligated to "help" your students during all hours of the day, even if it's planning or lunch? Do you feel that this is just part of the job and I should just suck it up? Today I was so swamped with some unexpected paperwork that I literally worked straight through lunch and didn't even eat what I brought. When the Psych saw that I couldn't even eat she did apologize for asking me to do something extra, which is really nice, but I know this situation is going to keep coming up.
     
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  3. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Sep 13, 2013

    Do not sacrifice your planning. Do not!
     
  4. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Yes, I do feel obligated, but I've tried to stop anyway. I put a sign on my door during lunch, and it's stopped kids from being sent in due to behaviors a few times already. Although one teacher - jokingly, I hope - told me I would need to change my lunch time. I agree. We deserve lunch and plan as much as a reg teacher. I don't know what people think I do all day. I have a full teaching schedule, but I feel like I never get to teach due to all the other stuff that always comes up. And I too skip lunch a lot. Didn't eat until after 3 today.
     
  5. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Sep 14, 2013

    Since they came from another district, when will their new IEP be created. Shouldn't it be done or almost done by now?

    I am confused because you say 2 opposite things. You say that their IEPs are being implemented but you also say you don't have the resources to do so. So, are you shorting others? If you aren't shorting them and you don't have the resources to cover their entire IEPs, then that means someone isn't getting what they are supposed to get.
     
  6. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I'm speculating here, but I bet what waterfall means is that she is meeting everyone's service minutes, but she probably isn't providing them with the quality of services that she feels obligated to provide. On paper, she is probably doing everything she needs to do. But she probably feels in her heart that she isn't giving everyone what they need when they are in her room.

    Again, I'm just guessing.... but I say it because I know I've been there, done that before. :crosseyed
     
  7. LouiseB

    LouiseB Cohort

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    I'm also guessing because I'm in that situation too. I teach every period except for plan and SH. ( I'm junior high.) I also have kids in the reg classroom who could use my support in situation but I can't. What about the kids that I'm teaching? I also am in charge of a SH that my para takes care of. So far I've needed to use up about half of my plan to get that going or take care of issues.

    The regular Ed teachers understand that I would be there for them if I could.

    I think that is what waterfall was talking about.
     
  8. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    We did not accept their IEPs at the direct placement meetings. Two students had over 20 hours a week of resource time on their IEP but were listed as being in the mild-moderate category. We have 30 days to do the new IEP and provide services in the interim. We are currently providing 4 hours per week. This past week was our first week of school, so we still have several weeks until that 30 days is up. We're supposed to be collecting data about whether it would be better for them to stay in the resource program at my school or go to the school that has moderate programming where they could get hours more similar to what they were getting in their last district. When I said I was meeting my kids for the exact number of minutes on their IEP, I meant my entire caseload. The way our schedule works I have 45 minutes per grade level every day. Almost every kid has 3 hours and 45 minutes of resource time per week on their IEP, so I literally need to be with them every second of their scheduled time to meet the hours. There isn't flexibility to schedule them for more time per week in case something comes up.
     
  9. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Yes, this exactly. I know there are kids that need more help than the 45 minutes a day they are in my room for resource. I know that the gen ed teachers are really struggling with them. But I can't just leave the kids in my resource classes to go "help out." The only option to give "more time" is to give up my lunch/planning, which I desperately need to get everything else done. I ended up staying at school until 6:30 yesterday (over 3 hours past contract time) because I knew if I didn't Monday would be completely impossible.

    We met with our sped director earlier this week and she was saying that we are a resource school only and are meant to serve only "mild" needs, and that's supposedly why there is only one teacher here. We're supposed to send kids with higher needs over to one of the schools that has full programming. Of course the problem is that those schools say they're full too.
     
  10. ecteach

    ecteach Groupie

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    My students stay with me the whole day, so I don't have this exact problem. But, the problem I do have is juggling paperwork and teaching. Let's face it: If I could spend the amount of time on my lessons that I plan on this crazy paperwork, I'd be the best teacher in America.
     
  11. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    From these posts, I can conclude that all of your schools are understaffed and the students who need services are being shortchanged. Sigh. Are there any schools in America where students with special needs really get what they deserve?
     
  12. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Sep 14, 2013

    Thanks for clearing that up.
     
  13. bros

    bros Phenom

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    There's a school that's run by a county up near my college that services students on the autism spectrum. They have 8 students per class and 1 teacher and a few paras in every class. ABA therapists on staff, all services are done in the classroom.
     
  14. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    A-MEN. :clap:
     
  15. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    In my school, we do put the number of minutes that the students truly need in the IEP, and the students get those minutes of service. We never say we're "full" or "don't have any more time". The problem is that we stick the kids in sped according to the IEP, but the services we're providing them aren't what they always truly need. Just because a kid spends half his day in my resource room doesn't mean that I'm able to give him and the other 14 kids on my caseload everything they each need.
     
  16. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    So... what if a student needs services in reading, writing, and math? How do you do all of that in 45 minutes per day? We usually give an hour a day in reading alone, and all of the kids on our resource caseloads are considered mild. Are you able to have more than one grade-level at a time? I sometimes have kids from first through third grade in my room learning together. I do understand the logistical problems you must be having, but I'm surprised your administrators would be so open with their willingness to base students' services on the schedule rather than the students' needs. I guess your hands are kinda tied either way.

    I feel ya on the workload. Stayed til 8 p.m. last Friday night and until 6 p.m. yesterday. Everyone on the boards always says to just leave the work at school and come home, but it's not that easy when you have legal deadlines to meet and kids with high-needs to teach. It's not like I can get any work done while kids are in the room, and someone always needs something when I have a moment to myself during plan time.
     
  17. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Most of the kids do have reading, writing, and math. We just do the best that we can. Admin made the schedule and gave me a slot for each grade level. I actually kind of liked that, because now no one can whine to me about their time. Pulling kids out of gen ed for large amounts of time is really frowned upon around here anyway. Even if we had another teacher, I think the time would be around the same (maybe up to an hour a day) and the groups would just be smaller. In my first district I pulled kids for around 40 minutes-1 hour a day and the gen ed teachers always balked about even that time. They were ALWAYS complaining about how much the kids were missing in gen ed.

    I've only been seeing kids for a few days, but once we get settled I'm going to have my para work with some of the needier grade levels for a second time per day while I work with grade levels that don't have many students. She'll have to work with them in class, but I'm hoping to send her up there with a small group plan rather than just having her "help" the teacher.
     
  18. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    I don't think so:mad:
     
  19. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Well, in OH (where I'm from) resource teachers legally can't have more than 16 students on their caseload and a part time resource teacher can't have more than 8. By those standards, my school would have 2.5 resource teachers...meaning I'm doing the same work of 2.5 people in OH! Unfortunately there are no legal requirements for caseloads here. In my first district I was told that 25 students was the "ideal caseload" and here I've been told that 25-35 is "average." I do have an almost full-time para (6.5 hours a day), which is really nice but it's not the same as having two teachers, because I still have to plan everything for her too and do all of the paperwork.
     
  20. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    And NO ONE understands how much work that truly is until they've experienced it firsthand. You always get the, "Well, at least you have so and so to help you." Yeah, one extra adult can sometimes be like having four extra kids. And, I have to write what amounts to almost-sub plans on a daily basis.
     
  21. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    My building used to have that issue - complaining about kids missing regular instruction. It seems like that dissipated around the time that I started working there, thankfully. Now, most teachers just want the kids to get what they need, and most are flexible and willing to work with the sped teachers on scheduling.


    That's a great idea. :)
     
  22. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I'm in OH. We have three sped teachers for 7-12. We're currently under that mark of 16/teacher but our kids get help from multiple sped teachers. For example, teacher a helps kids in biology while teacher b is responsible for English 10. Is that a possibility at all?
     
  23. LouiseB

    LouiseB Cohort

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    It really comes down to money. Right now my caseload is 14 which is manageable. But I help out the guidance counselor in needs in classes and SH. She works really hard for kids and I want to support her and those kids too. By the way, I am helping my sped kids.

    We also do not have a limit for caseloads in my state. At my prior school I had 33 students with 2 paras. Kids were not getting what they needed. The year after I left they hired another sped teacher.
     
  24. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    Sep 14, 2013

    Sorry, but what is SH?
     
  25. LouiseB

    LouiseB Cohort

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    Sorry. It's study hall.
     
  26. mrsnoble116

    mrsnoble116 Companion

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    Sep 14, 2013

    I also feel bad if my paras don't get a break. The only break I get in the middle of the day is 20 min. lunch with back to back 20 min. recess but I'm always walking around eating lunch, meeting with my teachers or checking on my kids.

    If I get a planning, it's the last 30 minutes of the day...what's the point?

    And I'm not sure everyone understands that we teach like the rest PLUS all the sped paperwork. They don't comprehend sped paperwork because they don't know what it entails.
     
  27. ecteach

    ecteach Groupie

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    Sep 15, 2013

    In my state, the assistants are REQUIRED to get a 30 min break, because they are hourly employees. The only way we can make this happen is at lunch time, because I am also not allowed to be in the room alone with 10 very low functioning EC kids, most who have behavior issues. There are other people in the lunch room when we eat, including an administrator. So, this means I can't leave the room except to use the restroom. It's tough sometimes. Sometimes I'd kill for a 3 minute break.
     

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