collaboration confusion???

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by sunni11, Feb 24, 2011.

  1. sunni11

    sunni11 Rookie

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    Feb 24, 2011

    Hello again!

    Although I have taught special ed for several years, I am new to the world of teaching students with severe needs. In many ways, I feel like a new teacher, which is hard for me! In the past, I have worked with teaching teams that were close knit; we collaborated, brainstormed, bounced ideas off each other, and had a great rapport. In my new environment, where I feel overwhelmed with a new grade level and students with a new type of disabilities, I am working with teachers that seem irritated with my requests for help or clarification. When I was working on my master's, I got the impression that collaboration was a valuable part of being a special ed teacher. Now I feel stupid, incompetent, needy, and annoying because I have questions and miss having a team to collaborate and share ideas with. Thoughts?
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Feb 24, 2011

    Is there a time when you could meet as a team to talk?

    Are you in a situation where the teachers teach all subjects or where they specialize in one subject?

    Maybe you could make a planning time weekly with each teacher you work with? Or every other week?

    When I was in special education and couldn't meet with teachers often, I asked them for a copy of their plan book and all copies that they were giving out on Thursday so that I could use Friday to modify or make accommodations.
     
  4. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Feb 25, 2011

    Just some validation from someone with an outside perspective here :) - it probably has nothing to do with it being a SPED environment, and likely nothing to do with you - just the group of people you happen to be working with. There are good and bad people, and people with varying levels of interpersonal skills, in every field - education being one of them. You're totally right - there should be a team dynamic, and people should be more than willing to help out, answer questions, provide resources, etc. Of course, it is a valid point that people are often very busy, and there are some people that are too needy and have so little confidence that it can become interpersonally annoying, but it sounds like you've gotten along with people well in the past and that that isn't you. Just like with kids with bad behavior, first and foremost I'd depersonalize it (assuming there isn't a reason why it would be personal), and realize that they are probably stressed, overworked, and possibly just not great team players.

    I definitely think making an effort to meet with them, talk through issues, build relationships, clarify everyone's role on the team, etc. are important things to do, but keep in mind that while you want to do as much as you can, you can only do so much. There may come a time when you need to either accept that those will be the working conditions and stay, or find another position with a better team (ideally knowing the specific position you'd have, the specific team you'd work on, and find out about that team - of course, not always possible).
     
  5. Socalteacher1

    Socalteacher1 Rookie

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    Feb 28, 2011

    I work in a collaboration model and I love it. Many people have difficulty with this and it is normally the general education teacher. I agree with EdEd, stating it needs to be a team effort. I have minimum days once a week and each week I meet with one of the departments (ELA, Math, SS, Science) to discuss any and all topics related to my students. I meet with the math teacher weekly because we teach the class together. I know that if I did not have the buy in from the gen ed teachers it would not be going very smoothly. I might suggest to the Administrator to see if anyone would like to work with you next year, when you put it in their hands (the gen ed teacher) and they get to choose something, they are more willing.
     
  6. sunni11

    sunni11 Rookie

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    Mar 2, 2011

    Thank you all! I appreciate your feedback!
     

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