IEP Stresses?

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by ChangeAgent, Apr 21, 2008.

  1. ChangeAgent

    ChangeAgent Comrade

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    Apr 21, 2008

    I am a first-year special education teacher. I have 19 students on my case-list, some of who I do not see during the day, or only during one inclusion class. I have both 9th and 10th graders. I prep for three different classes. I have been working with a new IEP internet program our district is using, and have been learning how the district writes IEPs. Of course, the transition rules and other procedures in writing have continued to change--once I think I get the hang of it, it changes. I am mostly in compliance with my IEPs, but I have loose ends here and there that still need picked up. And then there's behavior plans and Reevaluation Reports coming up. With one more IEP to write.

    I feel completely overwhelmed. My fellow staff members are phenomenal, but we all have so much paperwork. My classes are (on the whole) wonderful, and I have a blast teaching.

    However, I question if special education is my calling. I like to think of myself as a "big picture" person. Stupid details in an IEP that only really needs an adaptation page frustrate me. I am capable of writing strong IEPs, but I would prefer my time go to curriculum and teaching. I know the first year is tough. However, will any year actually be any better with continual changes in special education? I think knowing what I know now, next year will go better (since I will know things ahead of time instead of learning them prior to when they need to be done).

    Yet . . . anyone else feel like this? Does it get better?

    I may fundamentally hate IEPs. Not that some students do not need specially designed instruction (they do!), but the inane extent to which IEPs require educational babble frustrates me. Let me help the students in the classroom--not advocates at the legal level! I love the IEP meetings where parents want to know how their students are doing and what we, as a team, can do to improve their child's success. Meetings where parents and advocates nit-pick over specific phrasings anger me!

    (*sigh*)

    Perhaps this was just a rant. Take it as you will...
     
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  3. ITeach4Him

    ITeach4Him Comrade

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    Apr 21, 2008

    I'm with you. This is my first year in Special Ed and I'm very frustrated. I wanted to teach, not push paper and try to figure out the laws I need to be in compliance with. I feel like I need a law degree. I don't get to spend much time with any one student due to inclusion and often feel like just an "observer". I know it doesn't HAVE to be that way, that co-teaching is the key, but that just isn't going to happen in my school. The regular teachers are so driven by the TAKS test (understandably so) that they wouldn't dare let anyone like the Special Ed teacher come in and try to teach with them.

    I've just done the best I can with my IEP's and thankfully I have a great co-op that helps me keep everything legal, still, the paperwork is incredible!

    I've applied for a regular classroom this year.
     
  4. ChangeAgent

    ChangeAgent Comrade

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    Apr 22, 2008

    I'm in our district's bid system so I can get into regular education when something is open. I'm certified in secondary English as well, so hopefully something opens within a year or so . . .
     
  5. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Apr 22, 2008

    All I can say is that it does get easier every year. You are better able to manage your time and have a year of IEP stress under your belt.

    Advocates can really be stressful. I had one who taped the session (so we did too) and the mother said awful things about it. So I said a few behavioral strategies she told me that she used at home :whistle:. At least mine were legal and working before she decided to sabotage it and hers involved the police ;).
     
  6. bcblue

    bcblue Comrade

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    Apr 22, 2008

    Well, as a sped teacher in my 4th year, I'll say--Paperwork still sucks, and there will always be too much of it. BUT you do get used to it. You get better at it, learn to write it quicker and more efficiently, and when you've written something once it's easier to do it the second time.
     
  7. AZSpedtchr

    AZSpedtchr Rookie

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    Apr 28, 2008

    About 60-70% of my job is paperwork and meetings. I am fortunate that my district gives us 6 "IEP days" to do paperwork, but that is not even close to enough. I have a system where I track the dates the IEPs are due, and begin to collect info about 2 weeks ahead of time. But I get backlogged too, and this is my 4th year in this district, and my 11th year teaching! And the IEP program we use is always changing (along with the compliance rules). Just take it one step at a time and figure out a system that works for you.
     
  8. Gwinn

    Gwinn New Member

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    May 3, 2008

    It does get better, but for me, I don't think it will ever be a good part of the job. I've been told frankly that my supervisors love the way I teach, love the way I treat students, love the way I work with parents . . . . but I need to be better at the paperwork.

    Part of me says it's ridiculous to tell someone he's a good teacher but that's not good enough unless he's a good secretary. But these people didn't create the paperwork monster; they're just telling me what they need from me.

    If you hate the way paperwork is done, the best solution is to work hard and master the system that's in place.
    That's the only way to guarantee that they'll sweep it all away and start over with an entirely different system. ;)
     

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