How Many Students are Too Many?

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by ARC, Dec 6, 2007.

  1. ARC

    ARC Rookie

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    Dec 6, 2007

    I'm a paraprofessional in an ESE pre-k/kindergarten class. We also have two first graders in the class. We have 13 students (5 kinder, 2 1st, and 6 pre-k) and are expecting to get 2 more pre-k students in the coming week. Pre-K is half day and kinder is all day.

    The teacher and I are overwhelmed, to say the least. We have two separate classrooms, extensive behavioral problems, and little support/direction from administration.

    I do not believe there is any way we can meet the IEP goals of all these students due to 1) there being too many to begin with and 2) the extensive behavioral issues we are dealing with. (I have a child with an IEP, so I know the ins and outs of the IEP and how important it is to follow it).

    I've thought about becoming certified to teach ESE but this has opened up my eyes! Is administration taking advantage of this teacher by putting so many ESE students in one classroom? Is this even legal?
     
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  3. SpecSub

    SpecSub Comrade

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    Dec 6, 2007

    I don't know if it's legal or not. I have 12 students over 4 grade levels, and there's one para. We have to plug IN to the classrooms for reading, writing and math, and work not only with the IEP students but with the at-risk kids as well. And the school mandates that all students, even IEP kids, attend to the whole group lesson, so we can't even teach the IEP kids at their level. I'd rather be in a pull-out.
     
  4. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    3!
     
  5. ChangeAgent

    ChangeAgent Comrade

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    Dec 6, 2007

    I have one self-contained English class of 11 (ranging from a student who is blind, one who is socially inappropriate, two with MR, one who is nearly illiterate, and then the usual mix of those with general reading problems). I have an inclusion, co-taught class of Englih with 24 students, about 12 of which have IEPs. Same with a math class, though I think more like 15 have IEPs.

    Personally, I am a case manager for 19 students (some who I only see for a study skills course).

    I agree that it is difficult to meet goals of students when there are so many. The inclusion classes feel ineffective as differentiating with such a high number of students of ranging abilities are in one class. Smaller classes sizes (of 15-20, preferably 15) would be ideal, but require more staff.

    I don't think the administration are taking advantage of these situations--they are working with what they've got. I'm lucky to have a lot of support (which doesn't necessarily help the students, but it helps me keep going!).
     
  6. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Dec 6, 2007

    10

    I have maximum limit of 10, in morning and afternoon session.

    My concern is my pull out therapists don't always pull them out! They like to stay in my room, and play games with them, or just watch and interact with them.

    I honestly think this is cheating the kids, and they are cheating too! Anybody can sit and encourage the kids to do what they are already doing! I feel getting out the room and spending time with other adults is the break they need, and one-on-one, special attention they desparately crave! (Gives ME a break TOO!!) And, they need another room big and quiet enough to jump, roll and play with their special pillows, toys and other equipment...without having the other kids get jealous or impatient because they have to wait their turn! :unsure:
     
  7. ARC

    ARC Rookie

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    Dec 7, 2007

    So you have 10 pre-k in the morning and then another 10 in the afternoon?

    I understand what you are saying about the therapist not pulling out the students but staying in the room. This is happening in our class, too. Our classroom is so chaotic and disruptive that most of the students do not get quality therapy. We either can't get them to sit still with the therapist because of the chaos going on around them or other students (that aren't supposed to be in therapy at that time) join in and disrupt the therapy. I think it is cheating the students and possibility violating their IEPs.

    I am still trying to figure out how we are supposed to run a pre-k AND kindergarten ESE classroom at the same time (with one teacher and one para). I am about ready to quit.
     
  8. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Dec 7, 2007

    yes ARC, you are right.

    In theory and practice, I have seen 1 aide, 1 one-on-one aide and 1 teacher in a sp. ed. class Regardless of the number! And sp. ed. is always a smaller enrollment ...at least here in Illinois. If a child was autistic, or had CP and a walker or chair, they have an aide too.

    I've been in classes where there were more adults than kids! ;)

    actually, that is how it should be!

    Anybody know any workshops, classes, seminars or books on dealing with drug-exposed kids??? Today was a real doozy!

    :unsure:
     
  9. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    Dec 7, 2007

    1:1 aides are getting cut out more and more by the day. At least in Chicago. They essentially took the 1:1 assistance form out of the IEP. My class has 6 sped kids in the AM/PM and 11 - 12 "Peer Models." Two teachers, two assitants (on paper), not always in actuality.
    For me, I like when the therapists do their work inside the class if it is conducive to learning. Also some of our "typically developing kids" benefit from exposure to the therapists. But then again, it is really only Speech that stays in the room, sometimes OT.
     
  10. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    wow! how did they justifying removing the 1:1's????

    what about the autistic kids who run, bite, scream and aren't potty trained????
     
  11. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    Dec 8, 2007

    Kids with autism are abotu the only ones who get them- and still 9/10 they end up being used for all the kids int he class, not just the one who needs it. There has been a lot of controversy since they changed the IEPs. A particular highlight was when there was a fire drill at a school with a lot of ECSE kids in wheelchairs and they couldn't get them out in the time specified. But I only saw that at the board meeting on tv- not in the media. That was about two years ago when they first changed it. I have no 1:1 aides in my class and 2 kids that could use it. Sometimes the parents of the kids with autism are more affluent and they threaten due process and that is how they get an aide.
     
  12. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    that is something! you have to be well off and well-educated to fight for what your kid deserves!
     
  13. WaterfallLady

    WaterfallLady Enthusiast

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    Dec 9, 2007

    My biggest Special Ed class contains 18 middle schoolers and no aide! These kids have disabilities severe enough to warrent a self-contained placement.

    I have one class though, with 12 kids and me and one aide. I definitely need the aide more in the class with 18, one child has severe autism and cannot work without constant assistance.

    In reality, I think 12 is a lot, even with an aide. Its overwhelming!
     
  14. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I like it when they the resource people come in the room as well. Sometimes when they take them out of the room it takes longer and creates more of a distraction plus they aren't always back in time. It's not a big deal if you only have one kid with resource pull out but when all of your kids get it at some point in the day, it's nice when it is in the classroom. Plus they can often reinforce the lesson being taught. Some resources can't be done there without creating a distraction and that's the exception for me.
     
  15. teacheratheart

    teacheratheart Companion

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    Dec 12, 2007

    I am case manager for 41 students currently, grades 7 -12. There are times I have almost 30 sped students in my class with one aide. By the time Christmas break comes, I will have written 25 IEP's. I have students who are SLD, MR, OHI, and even ED. I don't know how much these kids are actually learning but parents seem to be pleased that kids are doing grade level work. And I wonder every day how I have not completely lost it and walked out.
     
  16. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Dec 12, 2007

    is burn out and turn over common in this field? Is it something that you love, but can't necessarily do for 20 yrs?

    If I work 10 yrs, I can retire (at 58!) then, I may be a consultant or look in to teaching at a university

    that's my goal...
     
  17. teacheratheart

    teacheratheart Companion

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    Dec 14, 2007

    In AZ at least, burn out and turn over are very common. My school district replaced half its teachers last year. They say, like, half of all teachers leave the profession before 5 years I believe. I really love teaching and working with the students is actually the least stressful part of my day. I know that a lot of people who leave the profession go on to do something still education related though, like at a university or through the county. And no, there is no way I could imagine doing this for 20 years.
     
  18. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    I think, like other fields, life was a heck of alot different 20 years ago. With the drugs and violence, cable tv, and lax behaviors of parents towards kids in general...

    no way I can see how folks stay in this profession more than 10 years, and stay sane! must move up, down, or out to administrative at some point..just to keep pension.
     
  19. teacheratheart

    teacheratheart Companion

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    I agree! You retain your state retirement here if you work at one of the state universities even as staff, so that is a move I am considering. I can't even imagine making it in teaching for 10 years.
     
  20. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    help me do some research...maybe as an out-of-town person, you may get a better response...

    what do I need to do in order to teach college? Is there a license required in state of IL for college teachers?? I can't seem to find any rules or regulations. I note most colleges only require a masters degree.
     
  21. ChangeAgent

    ChangeAgent Comrade

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    Dec 15, 2007

    Master Pre-K, from my experience (in PA), an adjunct professor needs only a Masters. For a full-time position, a doctorate is required. To my knowledge, no state requires any other additional testing or license. If you have a degree, you're good to go!
     
  22. proact

    proact New Member

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    Dec 17, 2007

    Hi

    I am a retired administrator and special educator. The rule of thumb in a special education class is a para - professional is needed when the classroom environment has become unmanageable. The class should be split up. The problem is administration doesn't want to spend the money in order to hire another teacher. what does your union contract state in terms of the number of students you can have in your room? I do know that there is not supposed to be any more than a three year discrepancy in ability levels.
     
  23. rchlkay

    rchlkay Companion

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    Dec 17, 2007

    "I do know that there is not supposed to be any more than a three year discrepancy in ability levels."

    This made me laugh because I've got Kindergarten through 6th grade. Most of my younger kiddos are functioning at a pre-k level. The administration knows that this shouldn't be done but....well, I'm still the only teacher. And people wonder why I'm pulling my hair out by the end of the day.
     
  24. ARC

    ARC Rookie

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    Dec 17, 2007

    Thanks for your feedback. I'm not sure about what my union contract states as far as the max # of ESE students in a classroom. I believe the teacher has asked this question and was told the limit was the same as for regular ed - which makes no sense to me. So all I have right now is hearsay. I'm going to check this out as well as call the ESE department in our school district.

    I agree that the class needs to be split. Not only is it unmanageable with the high number of students, the room is too small for that number of students (+ tables, centers, two adults, and everything else that is in the room) and it is dangerous. We have lots of behavioral issues, with two of the older students quickly going into a rage and throwing chairs, pencils, etc. I'm afraid any of the students could be hurt, especially the three year olds. Plus we have two three year olds with Down's Syndrome who need a lot more one on one attention than we are able to provide. It is so sad and frustrating for all involved! If I had a child in this class I'd take them out.

    Administration has told us that we are splitting pre-k into morning and afternoon with the all day kindergarten and adding one more para in the classroom. One of the students with extreme behavioral issues is being moved out to a regular ed class. We are going to have 10 students in the a.m. and 11 in the afternoon (pretty much 50/50 pre-k/kinder). Our principal told us we would then have more room to ADD MORE STUDENTS!!!!!! :help: I believe they are doing this for the $$$$ and putting the ESE funding somewhere else - but it's not going toward these students. I can't prove it just a gut feeling. Anyway, it is difficult to conduct two classes at once - a pre-k class at one table with pre-k activities and a kinder class at the same two feet away with kinder activities. Plus, I'm not a certified teacher yet and am expected to lead the pre-k class with almost zero input from the teacher (and that is another story!!.

    This is my first experience working directly for a school and frankly, it scares me. If administration can take advantage and do this and make your life and those of the students miserable - I'm almost scared to become a teacher.

    Thanks for listening.

    ARC



     
  25. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Dec 17, 2007

    pre-k is the new K

    ARC...I hate to tell you this, but to many school districts, Pre-K is the new kindergarten, and kindergarten is 1/2nd grade.

    even with sp. ed. they are watering down the curriculum, and expecting more and more from or 3 year olds.

    what I did was look for kdg stuff! I got a few magazines and teacher guides, and simply made it work into my lessons. I have been fighting ditto sheets all my life. As much as I try to keep things developmentally appropriate...it just doesn't look that way any more.

    Now I am looking for free worksheets and coloring pages from the bank, and printing all I can on-line.

    I feel like this...hey I want to eat!
     
  26. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Dec 23, 2007

    Well, I wished more teachers felt the way you did regarding pull-out vs. coming to the general classroom. I personally like the pull-out method better, but more teachers I've met seem to like it when the specialist comes to their room (the term for this slips my mind at the moment). When I taught RSP one year, I had to go to the classroom to work w/ one group of kids (luckily it was just that one group). There was the semicircle table in one corner of them room & the kids were more distracted because two things are going on at once, so it was harder for me & them.

    But, back to the topic. I subbed long-term for a grades 3-5 SDC class once for a few mos & there were 17 kids & only 1 aide. I forget the # of kids the aide said it had to be to get a 2nd aide, but it certainly would have been nice to have at least one additional person in there.
     
  27. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    I think it helps to establish and draw the line between the regular/sp ed teacher and the specialist. Let's face it, the specialist has the toys, and does the fun stuff. They need to work when they are in our room. I don't mind if you come in and spread your stuff all out, as long as you let ALL the kids play, not just the ones signed up for speech. If not, it is too distracting for my kids. and, if you don't keep bugging me every five minutes for stuff you didn't bring, or trying to get me to help you! :confused:

    and, I am really fighting for a multipurpose room. My kids need this. they need to jump, run, roll, and fall, without doing that in my classroom! I did not major in P.E. or plan to do any gymanstics with them. the most I will do is play in the gym. I am not able or qualified to flip a kid over, even though I know they need that stimulation and movement.

    and you can't do that in a regular classroom!

    I got a specialist who insists on rolling my kids under pillows! She feels it is important, fine, but do that somewhere else. my kids keep begging to play under the pillows when she's gone, and that is not okay with me. I can't sit there and watch you roll under a pillow! what if some other kid jumps on you? cause that is what they do! Free time is supposed to be their time to have fun. I am watching the room, but I will not sit and supervise one child the whole time!

    i was an aide and they had a kindergym in several pre-k programs. I honestly hated this because the teacher got a break, but I had to stay and shadow the kindergym teacher. again, I have no experience doing flips and cartwheels. it is too hard making them sit, and waiting your turn. and I don't want to be around if a poor kid flips the wrong way! or flips on me!

    so that is why I feel the specialist should take the kids out!
     
  28. ie_master

    ie_master Rookie

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    Dec 24, 2007

    For me 15 students is a manageable task because you can entertain everyone in the class if they have questions and comments with your lessons.
     

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