HELP! Long term Sub in Self Contained Room

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by krr643500, Nov 3, 2021.

  1. krr643500

    krr643500 New Member

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    Nov 3, 2021

    Hello everyone,
    My situation is very unique so any advice would be appreciated. This is my first substitute teaching job. I'm pursuing teaching as a second career after 20+ years in food service. My wife teaches fourth grade and I was able to get hired as a sub in our district. For my first sub job I've was put in a self contained sped room as a long term sub. The teacher for the class is from another country (my district has an work exchage program) and before she could get her visa secured the COVID resurgence basically locked her out of the country. Originally we were hoping it would be a few weeks or maybe a month before she got here. Now it's going on four months and it is becoming less and less likely that she will be arriving at all. I have 9 kids in my room with difficulties ranging from ADHD to autism to oppositional defiant disorder to complete nonverbal with cerebral paulsy on a wheelchair. I have one aide to help me with them. When I arrived on the first day I had nothing; no lesson plans, no manipulatives to use, and I was not permitted access to the students IEPs. I've been literally winging it for the last four months. The problem I'm running into is that I'm not a trained teacher, nor am I trained in how to handle special needs kids. I'm overwhelmed, stressed out, and most days it's hard to get through without crying when I get home. I have very little support from my administration or the other sped teachers. I'm basically on my own with no experience and no training. I'M ON THE VERGE OF BURNOUT! I have no idea what to do with these kids every day. Their behavior is so bad that I wind up shaking by the mid point of every day. It's to the point that I don't want to go in everyday anymore. I would ask to step away but our district only has 4 subs including me and the other three are engaged in long term jobs as well due to persistent COVID illnesses across our district.
    I'm looking for anyone that has advice on how I can help adage this stress. I love these kids and I want them to learn. But I don't have the training to do what they need. Please help!
     
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  3. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Nov 3, 2021

    First. BREATHE!

    OK, what kind of technology do you have?

    Do you have access to a printer and copier?
     
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  4. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Connoisseur

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    Nov 3, 2021

    You landed a hard role for 1st year subbing. Realize that you are not going to be perfect, I don't know anyone who could be in your situation. I had a goal 1 year to survive and maintain basic control without anyone getting hurt. It was a year that I had about 11 severe behavior sped kids and a regular ed class to teach at the same time.
    Do you have a Smartboard? If yes, it can be your new best friend. There are tons of educational songs, videos, games, and movement activities that will help.
    First of all, I am guessing you need to get them under control somewhat. Is that right?
    If yes, you might want to practice basic rules with them a lot. Have the kids help you make the rules, but reword and shorten them. They can make their own posters and you can put them up for them to see. Praise those who are trying to follow them.
    Have you ever heard of Champs? It helps you break down how to behave during all times and activities from noise level, movement, to what each situation looks like. It takes a month to get them trained, but makes the rest of the year go smoother. You want the kids to know that you care, but that you are not going to allow chaos.
    Schedules are really important to some children. Once you start seeing what works, add it to your schedule. Let them know: we are going to do this, then that. Not being a sped teacher, I never could do this. However, our sped teacher printed out coloring pages as a reward to kids. It calmed many to just color. ( Giving her a mini break.)
    I do not really believe in token economies in the classroom, but if I was in your situation, I'd set one up. You can buy tokens cheap from Oriental Trading Company. Then tie privileges or let them pick small prizes as rewards. ( Oriental Trading has a lot for cheap.) There are times it is about survival and it sounds like you are in that boat. Good luck!
     
  5. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    Nov 3, 2021

    I honestly wouldn't keep at it. I'd go back to subbing day to day and get out of that situation. It seems like it's a school that's not really paying too much attention to special classes such as yours and just using you to fill a spot.
     

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