First year teacher.....feeling like I have no clue what I'm doing!

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by tiffbabey, Aug 25, 2012.

  1. tiffbabey

    tiffbabey Rookie

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    Aug 25, 2012

    I am a first year third grade special education teacher, I just finished new teacher orientation and have had time to set up my classroom and review my students IEPs. I am feeling very overwhelmed and like I really don't belong there, because it feels like I have no idea what I am doing! I am just not sure where to start!

    It is supposed to be a co-teaching model but looking at the IEPs it seems like all of the services are supposed to be provided in another setting outside of the classroom. And I have no idea what programs each student uses either. I really haven't had time to meet with my team and schedules weren't out as of Friday.

    School doesn't start until Tuesday and I know I have at least a week to figure things out but it's very overwhelming.

    So, just wandering if this feeling is normal? Did you feel prepared for your first position?

    TIA
     
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  3. Rebel1

    Rebel1 Connoisseur

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    Aug 25, 2012

    Relax and say a prayer for yourself.
    It will all come to pass. It is a normal feeling and once you get into the swing of things, IT will all come together, and you'll remember what you were trained to do.:angel:
    Prayers coming your way.
    Rebel1
     
  4. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    Aug 25, 2012

    Have you been assigned a mentor? If not, I would suggest asking the principal to pair you with a colleague who would be willing to guide you during your first year (someone involved in SPED would be ideal). My mentor was a great resource in helping me set up my classroom, procedures and classroom management. Throughout the year, she helped me with issues that popped up and offered emotional support during tough times.
     
  5. tiffbabey

    tiffbabey Rookie

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    Aug 26, 2012

    I will have a mentor but I do not know who it is yet.
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Aug 26, 2012

    I'm not sure you can assume that your mentor will be someone who can help you as much as BumbleB's did. Ideally, of course, that will be the case. But let's play devil's advocate, and pretend you get ME for a mentor.

    I can help a lot with how to teach, but my knowledge of special ed is very limited. And of scheduling, zilch.

    So here's what I suggest you do:
    - Take a look at those IEPs. Pick up one, maybe for one of the older kids, and read it cover to cover. See what strikes you. See what services he received last year, and who provided them. Find out whatever you can about how things worked last year. keep notes on all this stuff.

    Then do the same thing with another older kid. See what's the same and what's different.

    I bet that patterns will start to emerge, enough that you can at least ask some good questions.
     
  7. dream2bateach

    dream2bateach Rookie

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    Aug 30, 2012

    It's normal to feel this way and as someone who is new to the teaching profession, but has worked in other industries before, this is normal in any new job. I just started a job as a SPED Instructional Aide last week working with students with behavioral and emotional disorders. It has been overwhelming, to say the least. When I was in college going for my SPED teaching certification, I took many classes dealing with emotional and behavioral issues, but college can only teach you so much. Until you get out in the real world, you have no idea what it's truly like.
     
  8. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Aug 30, 2012

    I legitimately don't know what I'm doing, haha. I tested for a sped certification and did not actually get a degree in it. I am now thinking you shouldn't be allowed to do that. We'll figure it out though! PM me if you are struggling. I always get good support here. :)
     
  9. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Aug 30, 2012

    It's normal because you don't know what you're doing. Learn from your mistakes every day, don't fret over them. That's how you become a great (and prepared) teacher. Do the best you can to prepare, and that's all you can do!:)

    Best wishes!
     
  10. DriveFly44

    DriveFly44 Rookie

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    Sep 8, 2012

    Enthusiasm and passion for helping kids can make up for what you don't know yet. I was there three years ago......overwhelming but you will get through it.
     
  11. TeacherTori

    TeacherTori Rookie

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    Sep 11, 2012

    Yes overwhelming is normal. I have always found the start of the year to be overwhelming, but starting in a new school their is so much to figure out! Look for people who may have been involved with your kids last year. Third grade teachers may be able to tell you a little about when the kids where in reg ed and when in sped. Was there an assistant in the room who is still around? Do you have a sped. coordinator that you can ask questions. A coordinator would be a good one to ask about curriculum and such.
     
  12. treefrogs

    treefrogs Rookie

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    Sep 11, 2012

    I cried a lot the first week of school; I was more than a little intimidated by the immensity of everything. It got a lot better as time went by. :)
     
  13. countryteacher

    countryteacher Rookie

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    Sep 16, 2012

    I'm right there with you! I have been out of the classroom for four years, and went back in as Special Ed teacher. I have four kids in 4-5th who are with me over half the day, then others who access the resource room periodically throughout the day. I came up with an idea over the weekend that I hope will help.

    I have purchased 99 cent three ring binders and I have a general idea of the independent level of most of my kids, around mid first grade. I am going to fill them with independent activities so that when one finishes or if one comes in the door and I can't get to them right away, they will know to go to the "purple notebooks" I'll probably give them a cute name of some sort. This hopefully will cut down on kids coming in waiting on me which has been my biggest problem.

    There are many ideas on pinterest for activities in the 1st and 2nd grade level that can be adapted for the level such as dice and domino games. They can be done for early finishers.

    I also got cheap folders in blue for reading/language arts and red for math, to put each child's independent work in for the day.

    I couldn't address needs all at once, so I set the most severe kids to work early on tasks and trained them to stay on task for at least 45 minutes first thing in the morning and then worked on to the less needy. It took two weeks to train my hyperactive 5th grader to stay busy learning on his own but it is very necessary for my sanity and for him to transition to 6th grade. I am going to expand this each week to 2 45 minute sessions where he is busy on a task that doesn't need my attention.

    I feel where you are coming from, I've taught third grade for 8 years but special ed is a different animal completely!

    I also have a basket for each child and when I am sorting through old worksheets I can toss some in for the child it would be best for, and after there are three or four in there, the child can go choose something just for him/her that I have selected when they are finished.

    Good luck to you!!!!
     

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