High School Resource Job

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by missjessica, Jun 8, 2011.

  1. missjessica

    missjessica Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2009
    Messages:
    57
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 8, 2011

    Hello everyone,
    I just found out I got my very first teaching job as a high school resource teacher. I was surprised I got the job because it's in a good school district and I'm very young to be teaching high school (just out of college). I think part of the reason I got hired was because I went to school in the same district and they like to hire alumni.
    Anyway, I am now thinking about next year and how to start out the year. I want my students to know and understand that I am in charge. Although I am strict and always professional with my students, I am afraid some will think they can get away with things simply because I am only 5-6 years older than some of them.
    For you high school (or even middle school) teachers out there, what do you do on the first day of school? I don't know much at all about how resource teachers spend the first day of school. When I myself was in high school teachers just talked about the syllabus, but I know in a resource class things may be different.
    Please help or offer advice if you can! I'd very much appreciate it.
     
  2.  
  3. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Messages:
    6,045
    Likes Received:
    912

    Jun 8, 2011

    Congrats on the job! What you do the first day really depends on what type of students you have. Will you be pulling out students with learning disabilities/cognitive delays to work on skills for parts of the day in your room? Will you be teaching lower level classes? Or will you be working with students with severe needs who will spend most of their day in your room?

    I'm in elementary, and I actually wasn't allowed to pull students the first day of school. They wanted them to get used to their classroom first. I went around and saw them in their gen. ed. classrooms. The first day that I started taking students, I did a get to know you game (you could make something "older" for hs) and just told them about what to expect in my class. We also set up folders/boxes for them, and we made a list of rules that we all agreed to follow together.

    As far as discipline, I think the number one thing you need to remember is that you're their teacher, not their friend! Be firm and consistent. If you say a consequence will happen, make sure it does. Never make a threat you don't plan on/aren't able to follow through on.
     
  4. missjessica

    missjessica Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2009
    Messages:
    57
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 8, 2011

    Thanks for the ideas.
    I did my student teaching in a middle school and worked really hard on classroom management. I was the same age as many of the paras who kind of goofed off with the students. Because the students knew I was around their age they thought they could get away with stuff with me. I think in the end they thought I was too strict, but it's better to be too strict then not strict enough I think.
    I will be teaching students with learning disabilities who come in for one period a day. It's supposed to be a "study skills class" but what really ends up happening is students do their homework. Since I won't have a syllabus because it's not like a normal high school class, I wonder if I should make a study skills syllabus anyway? One that has classroom expectations, etc? I've never seen a syllabus for high school resource classes so I'm curious to know what they look like.
    Any other advice from anyone? :)
     
  5. DaveG

    DaveG Companion

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2010
    Messages:
    239
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 8, 2011

    I just finished my first year teaching in exactly the same type of position you are going into. I taught high school resource for students with LD (two periods a day were "study skills" which was really homework) and the rest I was in gen.ed classes as an inclusion teacher.

    Personally, I don't like that 'model' of resource but here are a few tips:

    1. Definitely prepare 'study skills' lessons and start the year out with them. This is important for a couple of reasons:

    a. the students need to know that you are their teacher, not a homework supervisor.

    b. it helps in the first few weeks with setting classroom procedures/routines.

    c. they are going to have absolutely zero homework in the first week of school.

    2. Syllabus is a must! Definitely set it up as you would any academic class. The students need to know that you consider your class important to them. They'll get much more out of it if they know you take it seriously.

    3. Do prepare for the possibility that you will not be treated as the professional, educated teacher that you are. Many assume that resource is 'easy' and not real teaching. You'll find out soon enough that it's a lot more difficult than most people think.

    4. Call parents often with both positives and negatives. They will (usually) be your biggest ally!

    5. Enjoy the year! One of the best things about having a class like this is that you'll have a lot of opportunities to develop really good relationships with your students.

    If you've got any questions/looking for advice over the year, feel free to message me!

    Good luck!
     
  6. missjessica

    missjessica Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2009
    Messages:
    57
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 9, 2011

    Thank you so much for the tips. They are definitely useful to me. I like the idea of starting the year teaching study skills lessons.

    I'm hoping to establish a good relationship with parents. I've heard that in this district, though, that parents are usually a Special Ed teacher's biggest enemies.

    In this particular district 95% of kids go to college...including most of students with learning disabilities. Many parents see their child's IEP as a way to use the school and get whatever they can out of it. Teachers have told me to expect lawyers at most IEP meetings. I think those meetings will be the most challenging part of my job.
     
  7. DaveG

    DaveG Companion

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2010
    Messages:
    239
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 9, 2011

    My other tip...

    don't listen to the negativity!

    Teachers will tell you of all the terrible things they must endure in a district when in reality it's nowhere near as bad as they make out. Will there be SOME parents who are difficult to work with? Absolutely, but by no means will MANY or MOST of your parents be 'using' the school system.

    Also, bear in mind that there are two sides to the story. What one teacher may read as a parent "milking the system" could actually be a parent genuinely and sincerely advocating for what is in the absolute best interest of their child, even if the rest of the IEP team disagrees.

    All that to say that if you take the attitude that your parents (even the difficult ones!) are looking out for the best interest of their child, you'll find that establishing effective relationships with them is much easier. Sometimes staff members will not be helpful as they want to cast the parent as the enemy (Parent doesn't do enough, parent doesn't help with homework etc).

    Even if true, these are not things we can control. What we can control is our own attitude and responses of patience and humility with the students, parents and communities we serve.
     
  8. missjessica

    missjessica Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2009
    Messages:
    57
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 16, 2011

    DaveG, thank you for your refreshing perspective. I worked with some great teachers during student teaching, but was surprised to hear them often complain about parents and students. I couldn't believe some of the things they would say, especially about parents.
    Perhaps I will feel differently in several months (or years), but I think it's difficult to imagine things from the parents' perspective, especially in Special Education.
    My biggest worry for next year is getting parents to respect me and take me seriously. I'm only 24-years-old and will be working with students who are just 5-8 years younger than me. I am always professional and never act like a student's "friend" but I just worry parents will think I am not knowledgeable enough.
     
  9. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Messages:
    6,045
    Likes Received:
    912

    Jun 16, 2011

    About parents/IEP's...

    Most of the parents at my school are great. Many are hispanic and their culture really values education. They didn't have special education opportunities in Mexico, so they are very grateful for anything extra that we can do. However, we also have a small population that is extremely wealthy. These moms simply have more time to be researching their rights/best practice and just know what's going on more. They can often be harder to deal with, for lack of a better phrase, because they always seem like they're complaining/upset/trying to get things out of the school.

    I had two wealthy families that were like this at the beginning of the year. One had come from another school and I had heard some pretty bad things. Apparently they brought a lawyer and their priest (for "moral support") to every meeting. The teacher from the previous school told me to have admin there because "the dad get's pretty upset. He will scream in your face. He'll look like he's going to hit you, but he hasn't actually done that yet." That teacher also said this family went to the same church as him and would harrass him about their son at church! Of course, I was extremely worried.

    My P told me that these people just wanted someone to listen to them and understand where they were coming from. I though she was being naive and that it wouldn't be that easy. However, it was! I think a lot of people run IEP meetings where they have the IEP already written and they basically read it to the parents and have them sign. I am really big on the fact that the meeting is to develop the IEP as a team, not read the completed IEP. I have written "notes" in each section, and I tell the team what my ideas are and ask for everyone's input.

    After hearing all those horror stories, this family has been a breeze to deal with this year. We really have a unique school culture and their son fits in well, which they are very happy about. The mom even took on a bunch of leadership roles in the PTA, volunteers all the time, and is a big part of teacher appreciation- after practically threatening the kid's last school! My point is, your attitude can mean a lot. Listen to parents and make sure they feel validated. Writing an IEP/having an IEP meeting should be a team effort in which parents have an equal role.
     
  10. sped1976

    sped1976 New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2011
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 16, 2011

    I have taught high school resource for five years now. I teach resource mathematics classes and do use a syllabus. I would definitely create a syllabus with classroom rules, expectations, and consequences. Every year, the students must take it home, read it with their parents, and sign that they have read and understand it. The first day of school we also go over the syllabus, practice classroom procedures (raising your hand, etc.), practice safety drills, etc. I created a powerpoint presentation to go over these things with the students. You really need to start out as strict as possible. You can ease up as the year goes on, but you can rarely go back from being easygoing to being strict. My first year, I had students arguing with me about discipline issues in the classroom. The second semester, I instituted a rule that you can discuss any disciplinary issues with me after class or in writing, but arguing with the teacher is an automatic after school detention or office visit. Educating Esme is a really good book about a teacher's first year. She gives a lot of insight and a lot of ideas. One of those was to call every parent within the first week of school and say something good about their child. You may also want to consider getting a rug and a lamp if it is allowed. Students have to sit in uncomfortable chairs for most of the school day and get light overload from the overhead lights. Most of my students prefer to work in the dark with a lamp (and a huge window the length of the classroom) and on the floor.
     
  11. bros

    bros Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
    Messages:
    4,105
    Likes Received:
    68

    Jun 18, 2011

    To me, a civil IEP meeting seems like a rather alien thing.

    All of my IEP meetings throughout K-12 felt... cold, calculated, one-size-fits-all, mass produced. They case manager would just go "okay so here is what teachers said about him this year, here are his grades so far this year, no problems with accommodations, okay you can go now just sign the paper"
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. Zine,
  2. Missy,
  3. miss-m
Total: 288 (members: 6, guests: 256, robots: 26)
test