Help! Experienced teacher has inherited MESS!

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by nikkisped, Feb 11, 2007.

  1. nikkisped

    nikkisped Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2007
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 11, 2007

    Hi, everyone! This is my first time here. I can't wait to hear from you all. I have been in Special Ed for 10 years. The last 4 were as an admin,so I 've been sitting on my tail for 4 years. Missed the kids, so went back to public school system. (I am in an urban area)
    I've done several kinds of self-contained, including multi-disabled, autistic, and all kinds of MR.
    Well, I am in a BIG MESS. I am in a high-profile school. I have CDC "mild." 10 kids and one temp assistant who is sweet but moves very slowly and ONLY does what I ask her to do-otherwise sits in a chair.
    3 of the kids have autism and several have severe MR. ONLY 3 are w/out severe aggressive behaviors. One has CP and is non-verbal. # are not potty trained. I am crying every day after school! because my class is labeld "mild," I can't have another assistant, although even my sped supervisor knows I need one.
    2 of my autistic kids are so disruptive and destructive that I've had to padlock all cabinets becasue materials were being destoyed daily.
    I have biters and kids throwing chairs. I have been hit, spit on, bitten, and kicked. Even IF I wanted to physically restrain a child, I couldn't bc I am small and that would leave the rest unattended.
    My kids have not attended supports (art, PE, etc) even though their IEPs say so. NONE of the admin will help me arrange that to happen.
    Even lunch is chaos. I have ONLY left my room to go to the restroom. I have to go in early and stay late to do any planning, and we are not allowed to make copies, and my copy requests are denied bc the former teacher used up the allottment. Did I mention my class watched TV all day before I came?!
    I am falling apart! Please help!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Thanks.
     
  2.  
  3. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2002
    Messages:
    18,935
    Likes Received:
    676

    Feb 11, 2007

    So.... this is not what you missed?

    What a mess. Are you trained in restraint?
     
  4. nikkisped

    nikkisped Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2007
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 11, 2007

    I know-I think boredom got the best of me, lol!
    I was trained in CPI years ago but I don't feel comfortable just doing it, especially since that would basically leave my other kids on their own. If my class was labeled what it actually IS, I'd have several aides w/ CPI training, etc. Any advice on the support class situation?
     
  5. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2002
    Messages:
    18,935
    Likes Received:
    676

    Feb 11, 2007

    Can you appeal the designation as 'mild'? It seems that everyone's safety is endangered. Who is the aide's supervisor? You certainly need one better trained and equipped to be of some value to you and the kids.
     
  6. nikkisped

    nikkisped Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2007
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 11, 2007

    The aide is from a temporary agency. I think I could request someone else, but in this particular school district, I could get someone worse. You never know. Even when the "behavior team" (2 teachers/ w/ M.Eds in SPED like me) comes in, they leave my class sweaty, disheveled, and relieved to not be me, lol!
    The supervisor for the autistic program is coming next week to observe the child I feel like most needs to go to an autistic class, so maybe there is hope. If they'd move him OR call my class what it really is and give me the supports that go with that, I could actually handle this.
    My asst principal is nice, but his advice was to "just put in a movie."
    Can u believe that?!?!
    I am trying to communicate via e-mail w/ my SPED supervisor about supports so that I have something to show that I tried when a parent decides to sue!
    I am a single mom w/ 2 jobs, so I really want to get this under control so I can focus and be a good mom.
    Thanks......
     
  7. lisap

    lisap Companion

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Messages:
    166
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 11, 2007

    Nikki, this is a good place to turn. Not all the answers, but a lot of nice support :) I am a High School LD/ED teacher so I don't have experience in the CD and autism. BUT, I would suggest to work closely with the EBD teacher who may give you some suggetions on the behavior control. I would recommend making one small change per week in their schedule/routine/expectations. Once they've mastered that, add in one more change. You also need to make sure there are consequences for their actions. Not sure what your room looks like, but if you are able to be somewhat proactive in arrangeing your room to fit the needs in some way it might be helpful.

    You sound very highly trained and knowledgeable - but it's not a one-man-show and you need the help. As far as your aid not being helpful, give her a task list or regular daily duties then she will know what to do without direction.

    I am a mom of 3 small boys and work 2 jobs. I do have a very wonderful husband who has (just) begun to realize how difficult my days/weeks are. I'm hoping you have someone near by (mother, sister, friend) who can be there for you.
     
  8. nikkisped

    nikkisped Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2007
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 11, 2007

    Thank you! I did get some bike locks for cabinets, and put tons of stuff in my locked closet. It's a mess, but I can worry about that this summer!
    Some of the behavior people's suggestions will be hard to carry out: they think I need all new furniture in my room. I agree, but I have to go thru channels, so I won't see that happening soon.
    I love your idea of one small change at a time. Actually, that may explain why our mornings are pretty good. They know the routine I have implemented. After lunch, I just can't rein them back in, so I made up indiv work boxes that will be ready when they finish and scrape their trays. Down time= disaster w/ this group! problem, though, is one of the autistic kids: unless phys restrained, which I won't do bc of legalities AND his size/ strength, he will dump and destroyalmost anything left in his reach. I can see that my dealings w/ him (he really needs discrete trial method) cause the others to have down time. That's when it all unravels.
    Most of my kids are low enough that they need immediate positives. Charts, etc, are too abstract for them. Maybe I should get the aide to distribute the positives (stickers, stamps, and tiny edibles) since that's hard to mess up.
    I do have lots of SPED teacher friends and contacts, and I am using them all! My sweet little boy has been very patient and has even helped me make things for the room. Thank you for responding-only another SPED teacher can understand what it can be like....
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Feb 11, 2007

    Hi Nikki.

    I have absolutely no advice to offer. I'm secondary math and teach in a Catholic HS-- we make no accomodatons for kids with special needs. So I can't think of a single thing to do beyond what you already have-- turn to the people here.

    But I did want to welcome you and offer your my best wishes. You've taken on a lot, and will find a way to make a difference to these kids.
     
  10. AspieTeacher

    AspieTeacher Comrade

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2005
    Messages:
    406
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 11, 2007

    Nikki,

    1. Organize your classroom. Put all of the materials, teaching supplies in their own (assigned locations) and label these areas with large lettering. Next, get rid of all the "junk" that you will not be able to use, implement, or adapt. You need to get rid of all that clutter. Since you are working with more moderate-severe level students, you need to take away any extra "visual stimulation" (posters, charts, you name it). Make sure that your desk is clear of clutter or where the principal does not see it. I would first get an INVENTORY of what you have first. Your class is a life-skills oriented, functional skills class. I have worked with this type when I first started teaching and it burned me out in 2 years without extra support. Please make sure that the 1st priority this time is to clean that classroom up and down, get rid of the clutter/junk. If you can provide me with visual representation of what your room looks like, I may be able to assist you with the structuring.

    Troy in Downey, CA
    AspieTeacerh
     
  11. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    9,154
    Likes Received:
    1

    Feb 11, 2007

    Maybe some stuff is a basic part of your job description. Forgive me, I’m clueless. :p

    Zap in some creativity and quiet time. Create, on paper, visual and easy to use strategic plans.

    ;) (PM, you can contact me for ex. if wanted.)

    Individually:
    *Chart an analysis plan, for modifications, for daily/weekly routines.
    *Analyze current behavior issues, trends, and triggers.
    *Look at individual personalities and motivations.
    *List activities and activity types that are highly motivating.

    Collectively:
    *Analyze classroom management issues, triggers, and trends.
    *List activities and activity types that are highly motivating.
    *Work on rewards, systematic approaches/consequences, and transitions plans.
    *Analyze the classroom procedures and environment.
    *Chart problems/solutions based on your students.
    *Are things organized and for your own maximum productive ease?

    *Create a behavior tracking document. PM

    I'm an Aide. I don't know how long your aide will be there.
    *List of all the jobs she could be doing on a routine basis. Ask her to circle what she is comfortable with or wants to do (some non-negotiable). PM

    *Using a blank weekly basic calendar template, create a planner. Label M-F and a blank box for additional comments. Create bulleted (use check boxes) lists in each day. List duties chronologically based on projected best times to complete that duty. PM

    *The calendar is a flexible tool. The goal is getting the jobs get done throughout the week as needed. Emphasize team work and stress communication if time is running short. Be realistic. Don’t pack the schedule, but do use this to demonstrate visually that there are always things to do without your prompting.

    *Hang a clipboard (with calendar). Keep out of reach of Tasmania devils.:eek: The additional comment box can be a communication log for misc. duties as needed.
     
  12. AspieTeacher

    AspieTeacher Comrade

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2005
    Messages:
    406
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 11, 2007

    Nikki,

    What grade level are you teaching? Are you teaching elementary, junior high, or high school. Also, you need INDIVIDUAL behavior plans for all of your students. Be aware that students with autism respond very well to a highly structured classroom the most. Have you been taught in TEACCH at all? Do you have visual supports in your classroom at all? Students with autism only go beserk when there is confusion, too many unexpected changes, no consitency, ect. Down time for students with autism needs structure too. I would document anything you have communicated with your supervisor and what he/she has suggested and keep this in a safe and private place. Also, make a log of what changes that you have implemented in the classroom. Make a documentation of why you have been denied the support staff that you desperately need. If one of the students becomes injured or injures another, the school will be liable if you have your documentation to protect yourself. If they try to put the blame on you, go to your union immediately. You may be able to sue them for damages (which isn't a bad thing since they are trying to cut corners). This will make them open their eyes. Invite the parents to visit your classroom, show them what you've been given and what support staff you were provided. You're just trying your best. If you have any other questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to write to me.

    Troy in Downey, CA
    AspieTeacher
     
  13. nikkisped

    nikkisped Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2007
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 12, 2007

    I teach elem. I am working on a visual schedule, but I am out of copies at school, I have a broken printer in the room, etc. Every possible obstacle u can think of is there!
    I have saved e-mails btw me and my supervisor, but her answers are always VERY short and don't ever seem to answer the questions. Now I am being told all iEPs need to be done by April. That adds so much more stress-how can I leave my assistant alone to have 2 and 3 hour meetings?!?
     
  14. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    9,154
    Likes Received:
    1

    Feb 12, 2007

    I'm amazed that you can't insist on having your OWN copier account (new) instead of inheriting a depleted one.
     
  15. Sterlingrio

    Sterlingrio Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2007
    Messages:
    37
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 4, 2007

    Wow in TN


    Okay I'm amazed, supposedly TN was only 1 of 8 states in compliance with IDEA-- so how did you go low under the radar? Hmm... anway sorry this response is late to you-- hope next year brightens up for you-- all change even the slightest- (like not wathching tv everyday) in your situation is progress.
     
  16. nikkisped

    nikkisped Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2007
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 4, 2007

    Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!! MUCH better as time went on-yes!!!
     
  17. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,468
    Likes Received:
    2,485

    Jul 4, 2007

    Are you a member of the union? If so, I would have a chitchat with your building rep about unsafe working conditions and your school's violation of IEP goals. And tell him or her that you need to know how to change the 'mild' designation to something more appropriate.
     
  18. SittinInATree

    SittinInATree Companion

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2007
    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 4, 2007

    Wow that is awful. But I can totally relate! This summer I am teaching in an autistic summer school program. I, too, have gotten hit, kicked, spit on, threatened, etc- you name it! The administration sucks, but not as bad as yours.

    What really bugs me is that these issues have been going on for ages but they told us (there are 2 teachers in the room) NOTHING of this. We even sat down to have an orientation where they described the kids, but they never mentioned the violence. I think that is totally unforgiveable! Tell me what I am walking into!!!

    They did teach us self defense and restraint training. It doesn't matter if you are small (unless you are tiny and trying to restraint teenagers, etc), if you know how to do a proper restraint then you would be fine. The problem is that they haven't trainied you!

    It is ridiculous that they expect learning to actually go on in your classroom. You need aides to help with restraints, removing kids, etc.

    In our class, we have a padded room that we can move kids to when it gets out of hand. The funny thing is, when we started they had filled it up with storage and told us not to use it. They used it a lot during the year but suddenly us lowly summer school teachers don't have access to the same resources? Well we cleared it out and use it now because this one kid would really hurt us otherwise.

    If youw ant to get anywhere, the only way to do it is to make a lot of noise. Many teachers don't want to be the squeaky wheel and rightfully so! It can look bad on you. But that is terrible because the kids are the ones who are losing out.

    As far as getting your kids into specials, maybe you could talk to the related arts teachers and say that you would like to get them scheduled in and when can they come. If they say no, then tell them the kids are entitled to it based on their IEPS and restate the question of when can they come. Maybe tell the parents you are doing that too so they can back you if need be.

    I would also talk to your union rep because since your kids are not going to specials, you are not getting your planning period which you are entitled to. You are being forced to work beyond your contracted hours and that is a union issue. Talk to your rep! File a complaint! Maybe talk to your principal about it first in a "lets see how we can solve this" manner first and if he won't budge- go to your rep.

    I would totally understand if you don't want to make a lot of noise over this and if you don't, the only other option is to quit/transfer jobs. Believe me, you will get nowhere and neither will the kids. And that is not your fault- it is the admin's. You cannot work in an environment that is unsafe. Thats just not gonna happen!

    Not for me at least, this summer school thing is only 2 more weeks and I will laugh in their faces if they ask me to stay for the school year. I would rather be jobless than work under that admin. It is not the kids that bother me but the complete lack of support. How can you be expected to succeed like that?? you can't.

    Good luck with whatever you decide.
     
  19. thechangingtabl

    thechangingtabl Companion

    Joined:
    May 8, 2006
    Messages:
    240
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 6, 2007

    This sounds so much like my first year teaching an EH emotionally handicapped classroom. They did not renew me and I cannot find another position because of the poor references they gave me. The state of ESE is very scary. The lack of support by the administration and the expectations of the administration are so polarized.

    OP sounds like she loves it and is committed. I cannot say that after one year. I am enjoying my summer though. No chest pains and crying everyday!
     
  20. Sterlingrio

    Sterlingrio Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2007
    Messages:
    37
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 16, 2007

    Miracle worker

    Yeah, I agree. Sometimes my ED teacher friends and I joke, as I do have students with CD/MR that scratch and bite, and hit-- that we should get combat pay. But I think our district, or maybe it's the state that has clause about teacher injury and compensation-- as one of my teacher friends, a student grabbed her hand and bent her fingers back- wich required multiple doctor visits. She could not figure out why the student did it to her, as it was not in a confrontation, either way the child is being charged with assault-- that's it, my friend got assault leave.

    On our campus, our paras would complain about the biting, kicking, scratching- -but the saying would go-- you get hit or bit once, shame on the child- -if it happens a second time, shame on you. I.e. we are taught to avoid, and counter act, prevent-- I know it's not always possible and sometimes it takes team intervention-- i.e. one of our students had to have arm restraints made to prevent his self-injurous behavior- as when he engaged in self-injury it put staff at risk.

    For some of my students, in their IEP, it was noted I could use theraputic restraint, i.e i had a student who's stomach would get upset and he'd cry and start biting himself, if i tried to intervene and just hold him- as rocking helped him "pass", he could end up biting me if I did not hold him an proper manner. Also my little student that scratched-- yeah ignoring some of it and moving out of arms reach helped, but theraputically- i would move out of the way, and when she was calm, take her arms, gently cross them in front of her, applying slight pressure and telling her "no scratching".

    All in all- the "aggressive" behaviors are a form of communication-- learning to read it, or predict it becomes tricky-- and unfortunately if your admin doesn't get this, and find ways to support this-- then it's tough.

    I guess you're admin was expecting miracles from you and when you didn't live up to being a miracle worker--- they became disappointed.

    All special education teachers, at some point in their career, will be expected, by admin or other teachers and even parents, to perform miracles- good luck-- and when you find out the formula for performing miracles be sure to share it with all of us.
     
  21. Tookie Williams

    Tookie Williams Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 16, 2007

    I'd say transfer like I did. I stayed in ESE long enough to get my tenure, then I transfered to mainstream in a rural school away from the innercity.

    The final straw was breaking up a fight, I got kicked. And not just a misplaced kick, it was as I was grabbing the other one, he stomped me. I am CPI certified and I am the wrestling coach to boot, but I was a little smaller than most middle school boys. However, all that CPI crap went out the window and I let this boy know a thing or two about trying to fight a man. I didn't punch him, but there was not much CPI being used that day. He got expelled. I got lucky. Mom was trying to accuse me of wrong doing but it got swept under the rug due to the fact that both her kids had horrible histories. Everytime she made an accusation, the dirt would be exposed on what her kids were doing. Finally, she shut up and her boy got expelled.

    My dad was pissed, asked if I "had whupped that boy's ass" (his exact words). He impressed upon me that it was about time to move on to greener pastures. I was almost quit teaching but my current job opened up.

    I have been kicked, cussed, threatend, family threatened, prank called. I have choked out the kid who kicked me (just restricted that airway up enough that he quit trying to fight me), I slammed a kid through a table (I was using a CPI move from behind that time and he kicked off the wall, and we went through a table, him first)

    I have had rocks thrown at me. Broken up probably 100 fights. Been flashed and seen a 13 y.o. boys weiner during class, a girl was mastrubating in class, another girl (6'1 450lbs, 16 y.o in 8th grade) accidentally flashed me her size 50 hot pink underwear.


    However, since moving to my current school 4 years ago, I haven't had to break up 1 fight. i actually teach. The worst behavior I deal with is talking.

    If you don't get hired back in ESE (not counting not having the right certification issues), something is wrong with YOUR politics. Admin wants someone who can quietly keep these future (sometimes current) convicts from causing problems AT school. Teaching is secondary.
     
  22. logicrules

    logicrules Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2007
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 17, 2007

    thechangingtabl said:

    >This sounds so much like my first year teaching an EH emotionally handicapped classroom. They did not renew me and I cannot find another position because of the poor references they gave me.

    This hurts my heart for you...and worries the B-Jesus out of me as a new, special ed teacher. I resigned shortly after signing a new contract in the Title 1 school I worked in for a variety of reasons; one my better-half's job changed and we were expected to move. But there were others, too. I didn't work with as severely emotionally disabled as has been described by many here; mine were mild but I did have some real behavior students (BIPs).

    Even though I was asked to come back and told I did a 'great' job in my new role I continue to worry about how quickly this 'status' can change in the world of teaching. Our entire livelihood depends upon what one person - the principal - thinks of our performance. This can also be very mis-guided, especially when they aren't fully aware of special ed issues and classrooms.

    This has to change; and fast. Have you tried applying to some of the 'more difficult' schools in your area? Meaning the schools that are the hardest to fill; might not be ideal, but sometimes even not-so-stellar references can be overlooked if there is a high-enough need. I once thought just the special ed certification was all I needed to 'stay employed.'

    Hardly! I've been looking night and day for five weeks; lots of interviews but no offers. And I have to wonder if some references aren't what I thought they'd be because I came back and resigned. Payback? Guess I'm just being paranoid; but who knows.

    I'm sooo sorry to hear you are having such a hard time finding another teaching job. Have you been given any advice by the union?
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. Linguist92021,
  2. TeacherNY,
  3. MrsC
Total: 295 (members: 4, guests: 271, robots: 20)
test