getting out of special ed?

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by teacher girl, Oct 13, 2013.

  1. teacher girl

    teacher girl Comrade

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    Oct 13, 2013

    first year sped teacher, and now i want to teach something else. is the turn around rate high for sped teachers?
     
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  3. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Oct 13, 2013

    Yes, the turnover rate for SPED teachers is very high. I think I've read before that SPED teachers have a much higher burnout rate than any other teachers. Being a SPED teacher is hard, frustrating as hell, and you virtually never get enough support or understanding from anyone.

    EDIT: Not that any teaching job is easy, of course... but it does feel like SPED teachers have it "cranked up to 11," so to speak, especially if you are in a school where administration doesn't "get" special education.
     
  4. LouiseB

    LouiseB Cohort

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    Oct 13, 2013

    I totally agree!
     
  5. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Oct 13, 2013

    Yep. To a T.
     
  6. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Oct 13, 2013

    teacher girl, this is your first year teaching, right? Although sped can be tremendously tough, I would encourage you to give it more than one quarter of the year before considering a change in position. You may find it's still not for you at some point down the road, but all teaching positions are bound to be tough and challenging the first quarter you are in them. You may find that you "click" in your position later this year or next. You don't have to stay in sped forever, but I doubt you've had an opportunity to get familiar with it this soon into your first year.
     
  7. teacher girl

    teacher girl Comrade

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    Oct 13, 2013

    you're right...I knew getting into special education it would be tough and I was up for the challenge initially, but I had no idea how stressful it was.

    Like, I literally wake up at 3 in the morning with panic attacks, because every time I have an IEP meeting I am worried the night before. My caseload is a lot I have 19. So I've been sleeping very little.

    But really, it's the adults more than anything. I hate inclusion/ collaborating. Initially, I thought I would like it, because I worked as a para for 4 years before becoming a teacher and I normally get along well with everyone--- I figured, How hard could this be?

    However, General ed teachers never understand how stretched thin you are...I teach like 3 different grade levels and they criticize everything I do. Even when I say I'm a new teacher, no one understands. Not that I expect them to, because it's really not an excuse, but some days... I just need compassion. I find myself in tears at the end of most days, because I work with ED students and they push you past your patience level; especially in inclusion because you are in charge of managing their behavior. And a combination of an impatient gen. ed teacher makes things a thousand times worse.

    I get remarks, like, "didn't you learn anything in school? or " Aren't you suppose to be doing this etc..." from gen ed. teachers and I feel like I am always at their mercy. Because learning everything in someone else's environment is hard, because they are watching you, judging you, criticizing you, and talking about you behind your back -- Huge blows to your self esteem everyday. I'm at their mercy.

    Through this experience, I've learned that I am a type A personality, and work better in my own space. That's why I want to be a different type of teacher, teaching anything else that allows me my own space, and the ability to not be in someone else's space. I think that is the thing I hate the most. I would teach leprechauns as long as I didn't I have to share a classroom, and I could make my own rules, and have the freedom to make mistakes or be human. lol. I guess me getting out of sped, is me saying... I hate this lifestyle. lol. Even though, I love helping special needs kids, and seeing that light bulb effect when I did teach them something.... I would miss that... however, the adults are demanding... etc. lol.... They don't teach about that in text books. They only talk about special ed, the process, the IEP's--- but no real formal training in inclusion. Maybe a class, but you could never prepare for it unless you lived it. So I guess, it's me venting. I don't plan to quit in the middle of the year, but I do plan to take a couple of days off, to go talk to a college recruiter about getting another endorsement. lol.
     
  8. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Oct 13, 2013

    The only thing I want to note is that you may never be a position where you don't have a share a classroom to some extent depending on the direction you choose. If you teach general ed, you may be required to co-teach, for example. But I absolutely understand your wishes because I am the same way. I "play well with others", but I hate it the entire time. I am much more comfortable alone...and making my own decisions. :)
     
  9. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    Oct 13, 2013

    It sounds like you need to find a new school rather than a new position. My colleagues never (even in my first year) said degrading things like "didn't you learn anything in school". That is not a symptom of being a SPED teacher, that's a symptom of a poor work environment.

    As a SPED teacher, do I get the EXACT same treatment as general ed teachers? No. Some students will occasionally express confusion over my job title (am I a "helper"? or a "real" teacher?) When I taught resource, my students were sometimes overlooked when it came to grade-level activities. However, I have never been made to feel like I'm stupid, ill-equipped, or worthless. I really think you need to investigate a new workplace, because your current one sounds like the perfect environment for burnout.

    And JustMe is right, you will NEVER escape collaborating. I am currently going back to school for my gen ed license, and I've come to terms with the fact that, if I do get a gen ed position in the future, I may have to co-teach (and that likelihood is high considering my SPED background). My reasoning for getting the gen ed license is so that I am open to more job opportunities in the future.
     
  10. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Oct 13, 2013

    I get it. Really, I do. The adults can be the absolute worst and hardest part of the job. For me, it's more paras than gen. ed. teachers, but I do "feel" ya in your problem.

    I think you might be happier in a resource or self-contained position rather than inclusion. Before spending the time and money on another endorsement, see if you can find a different sped position. From my experience and talking with others, it seems that no two sped positions are the same. Even one resource teacher compared to another resource teacher can be two totally different ballgames. Every school sets up the responsibilities of their sped teachers differently. You may find that you're completely happy in sped if you find a different position that does not require inclusion classes as part of your caseload.

    With that said, I'll admit that the lack of support and understanding you get from others and the requirement to collaborate with others will probably always be part of any sped job.

    Go get another endorsement to make yourself more marketable or to reach a personal goal you've set for yourself, but don't leave sped simply because of one bad experience. You may find another sped classroom at another school is just the right fit for you. You might not. But you won't know until you've given it a shot.
     
  11. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Oct 14, 2013

    GO TO SELF-CONTAINED SPED.

    It is 30,000 times better.

    Teaching is hard no matter what, but inclusion is just the worst. I hate people entirely too much to do that job. :lol:
     
  12. pete2770

    pete2770 Comrade

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    Oct 15, 2013

    I feel your pain.

    You're not alone in stress, at all.
     
  13. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    Oct 15, 2013

    I would try another school before you decide. SpEd teachers WILL be stressed anywhere, but at my school they are supported, treated as equals, and respected.:2cents:
     
  14. Nate

    Nate Companion

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    Oct 16, 2013

    That sounds awful. And it's not the way it should be. SpEd is difficult, but 90% of what you're saying is NOT the stuff you should have to be dealing with. You're definitely in the middle of a school culture problem, and since it's your first teaching experience, you assume it's "the norm". The long term solution isn't getting out of SpEd--you'll still be surrounded by unsupportive, unprofessional teachers. I'd start looking at other schools in the area. In this area, there are a few districts with terrible reputations, and when we get apps from teachers in those districts, there's no question about why they're leaving after one year. In fact, they often run into a few other "refugees" from the same district.

    In the short term, I'd try to connect with a mentor teacher. You should have been assigned one in the first place, but it sounds like your P isn't doing his/her job in a lot of ways. I'd also recommend (as I have in other threads) looking into anti-anxiety meds. I'm on a sliver of a dose, I don't notice a difference at all, but it just dampens the stress hormones enough to keep me from waking up in the middle of the night, getting a knotty stomach, etc. If there are any side effects, they're less severe than the side effects of the handfuls of Tums I'd chew every day to settle my anxious stomach before I started with them.
     
  15. Leatherette

    Leatherette Comrade

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    Oct 17, 2013

    I taught special ed ( self-contained and pull-out) for ten years, and I thought about leaving every year. But there was too much to love. I can't imagine co-teaching, unless it was with a colleague I really clicked with. In ten years, I have only gotten a rude comment once from another teacher. I would try a different kind of setting in another school. Most of the time, gen ed teachers have been so grateful to have me to collaborate with, even when I wasn't as experienced.
     

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