Last leg of the journey and I hit a rut!

Discussion in 'General Education' started by tiki7719, Jun 19, 2015.

  1. tiki7719

    tiki7719 Companion

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2008
    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    5

    Jun 19, 2015

    After many long years, I have finally made it to student teaching. However, I hit a rut with my placement.

    My license will be in K-12 mild/moderate. After being proactive and touching base with the mentor teacher, her license and classroom is moderate/severe. She told me to contact the university to see if I can get a placement elsewhere in the school for this exact reason. I contacted my university and was told pretty much ‘too bad’ and it will work since the ‘moderate area of the license overlaps.’ I was told they will check with the principal, but may not have any answers until August. This is my rebuttal to them:

    “Although I understand how the 'moderate' portion of the license can overlap, I still may not get the full experience as I will be working with moderate/intensive students and not those with mild/moderate learning disabilities. I do not feel this will best fit my license area as the teaching and classroom approach can significantly differ. I have not had the coursework either pertaining teaching in a moderate/severe classroom. I do not want to be placed in a classroom setting where situations may arise that leave me weary due to me not having any prior knowledge to be equipped to work with students whose needs are beyond what I can offer. I am not trying to be difficult or raise issues, but I would like for you to see where I am coming from with the likelihood of working side by side with students who would require my assistance and I would not know the proper way to intervene. I am looking out for only not myself, but the students as well.”

    I am willing to stay in the school (this was previously mentioned to the placement coordinator) but I feel this experience will not help me.

    I have yet to hear back from the placement coordinator. Any insight as to what can be done from here?
     
  2.  
  3. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    6,481
    Likes Received:
    1,381

    Jun 19, 2015

    In my area, you can work with severe students with your present situation. If you have ESE certification, you can be placed in any ESE classroom. I speak from experience. Don't know if it is the same where you are.

    Also, many mild/moderate classrooms are being abolished in favor of inclusion. That particular class may not exist in the school you have been placed at.


    You may not want to hear my opinion, but I say go with it and make the most of your learning experience. Do you want a reputation before you even begin teaching? Just my opinion.
     
  4. tiki7719

    tiki7719 Companion

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2008
    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    5

    Jun 19, 2015

    Thank you for your insight.

    In my state (Ohio), you can obtain a mild/mod k-12 license or a mod/severe k-12. The mod/severe k-12 program requires a whole different slew of courses that I did not take.

    I can see how causing a reputation before student teaching begins can be a problem, but so can coming in being ineffective since I have never worked with a population of such.
     
  5. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2014
    Messages:
    9,634
    Likes Received:
    2,400

    Jun 19, 2015

    There is always more to learn, no matter what you have taken in your coursework. I am also going to support going to the current placement, with the understanding that what might be hard at first will soon be less scary and unknown. I believe the mod will be the new mild as it has been pointed out that mild is being placed in inclusion. I admit that you may have to work harder in this placement, since you don't really want these kids, but, if I can sound like a mother for just a moment, that which does not break you makes you stronger. The unspoken part of that old quote would be that if you never challenge yourself to go beyond your comfort zone, you will never build stronger skills and self confidence.

    I found the sentence about you becoming weary very odd, by the way, and somewhat off-putting, as if you have predetermined how much effort you are willing to expend in a day. If you think you will be weary during student teaching, I think you may really suffer your first year, but that is just my opinion.

    Good luck.
     
  6. tiki7719

    tiki7719 Companion

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2008
    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    5

    Jun 19, 2015

    I appreciate the constructive criticism.

    I am prepared for the placement, but I feel I won't be effective since I have absolutely no background knowledge or experience working with students outside my license concentration.

    If my placement stands, of course I'll go in with an outlook of I'll be learning more than what I anticipated that can only help me in the future.
     
  7. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    6,481
    Likes Received:
    1,381

    Jun 19, 2015

    Many teachers say that their true learning begins when they enter a classroom. Book learning is helpful, but nothing can train you faster than experience. I'm glad you are willing to enter your placement with a positive attitude.

    Don't forget those of us with experience in the field...feel free to come to us with any questions or problems.

    Good luck!
     
  8. tiki7719

    tiki7719 Companion

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2008
    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    5

    Jun 19, 2015

    I appreciate the kind words. I was thrown off guard placed in a setting that I do not have much skills or experience in.
     
  9. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Messages:
    1,841
    Likes Received:
    50

    Jun 19, 2015

    My certification was in biology and my first two student teacher placements were in middle school and earth/environmental. You roll with what you get. And I'm glad I stayed there because even though I was 100% sure I'd never leave high school, I'm going into my fourth year of middle school.
     
  10. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

    Joined:
    May 24, 2008
    Messages:
    3,513
    Likes Received:
    14

    Jun 19, 2015

    Roll with it.
    I suspect if the perfect match could have been made by your university, it would have happened.
     
  11. bewlove

    bewlove Companion

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Messages:
    230
    Likes Received:
    4

    Jun 19, 2015

    I totally understand your concerns, actually.

    I also love the way that you are so respectfully worded in your responses.


    I do, however, think that this could be a good thing! If you are mild/moderate, then moderate/severe will help prepare you in the sense that it is probably more challenging (I would assume? But I honestly don't know).

    Just think of the great skills you can learn in that severe environment that you can then use in your own classroom!!!!
     
  12. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    24,950
    Likes Received:
    2,104

    Jun 19, 2015

    Did you intend weary or wary?
     
  13. London

    London Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2012
    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 19, 2015

    The mild/Moderate versus the Moderate/Severe is two completely different skill sets. I agree that your student teaching placement should be with your license area.

    In my school (and most others I am familiar with in my area), we have multiple levels of Special Education Students, each with different LREs (least restrictive environments).

    Our Mild/Moderate teachers work with:

    1. students who are on IEPs and just require periodic monitoring
    2. kids who are in regular ed classes and require a special education teacher in the class (we call this co-taught: regular ed teacher + special ed teacher + regular ed kids + less than 10 kids on IEPs)
    3. kids who need small classes of less than 10 kids on IEPs (pull-out)
    4. kids with paraprofessionals but are in all regular ed or pull-out classes

    Our moderate/severe teachers handle:

    1. Kids who go to some regular ed or pull out classes with a paraprofessional but need intensive help in 2 or more classes (usually LA and Math, but sometimes Science or Social Studies)
    2. Kids who need intensive help in ALL classes (usually they go to electives with a para)
    3. Kids with developmental disorders (mostly autism or CP, but a few other rarer developmental disorders) who stay in the same room all day long

    Kids with behavioral disorders are divided by academic ability. Basically mild/moderates get kids with various learning disabilities (normal IQ but discrepancy in achievement level and moderate/severe get kids with intellectual disabilities (IQ under 70).
     
  14. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Messages:
    3,642
    Likes Received:
    108

    Jun 20, 2015

    If you go with the placement, it could help you in the long run. You'll have experience with students that have greater struggles than what you will see in your licensed area - that's a great selling point as a teacher coming out of college.

    As for the lack of knowledge, you should be using this summer time researching strategies to use. As an educator, we're responsible for developing our content knowledge and teaching methods - nobody sits us down and tells us "Okay you now have to take this course to master this strategy". If you don't know, go teach yourself how to deal with it.
     
  15. MLB711

    MLB711 Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2011
    Messages:
    376
    Likes Received:
    53

    Jun 20, 2015

    I agree with most everyone that you should stick with this placement. If you ever have to move to PA for example, you would be certified in N-12 Special Education. You could be in a mild/moderate or moderate/severe setting, depending on the student population. That's true in at least 4 other states where I have friends in public education. While your situation isn't ideal, try to make the best of it because I know you'll come out a better person.

    If you can check out your university for a book list for the classes you haven't taken, I would start there and just start reading. Even reading some articles from google scholar might help.

    Good luck to you!! You'll do well no matter what :)
     
  16. tiki7719

    tiki7719 Companion

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2008
    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    5

    Jun 20, 2015

    Thank you for the recommendations and opinions. The difference between the two license areas are pretty much on par with what London described.

    Along with learning on my own (which I have no opposition in doing) as to teaching students with varying needs, contacting the mentor teacher to see what her moderate/severe classroom consists of can also be a start so I can prepare. When she and I spoke on this a few weeks ago when I received the placement, I told her my license will be in mild/moderate and she informed me hers is moderate/severe, she recommended I contact the placement coordinator since our license areas are different. Our conversation ended there and we did not go into details as to her student population/needs. There is no doubt this would provide me with the experience teaching students with greater struggles that I may potentially encounter in a mild/moderate placement, and I did not think of it being a selling point.

    I am sure during my experience I'll be asking for more advice:help::help:
     
  17. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2014
    Messages:
    9,634
    Likes Received:
    2,400

    Jun 20, 2015

    Tiki, MLB brought up an excellent point that probably colors the way many of us have responded. Many states simply don't have a division that separates your SPED endorsement/license into different divisions. In NJ, like PA, and quite a few other states, you are simply special ed. With that endorsement/license/credential, you can teach it all. The more experience you have across the board is actually highly desirable because you will be licensed to do it all. If your course work is one thing and your hand's on goes in a different direction, you would be considered a stronger candidate in a job interview. You may never intend to leave Ohio, but life is notorious for the quirky curve balls it throws our way. I thought I would spend my life in the Midwest, but in truth, I have spent more time on the East Coast than in my home state.

    In NJ you would be K-12 Teacher of Students with Disabilities. That may be abbreviated as TOSD or SWD, but it is the same endorsement. People who want to teach special populations, like severe visual or hearing disabilities would generally take courses above those needed to be SPED, like those with TOSD may also become licensed in math,ELA, Science, or SS in middle school to create a niche for themselves, which goes beyond the Elem. Ed. level certificate. After all, the SPED license basically says you can teach anything with an IEP, and that is a broad category.

    I do wish you well, and understand that you are confused and frustrated. Some of the advice you will get here will be from states like mine, some from others. I would look at surrounding states, at the very least, and compare the certificates to teach SPED. I bet you will find some differences.

    As far as this placement for your student teaching, if you want to fight it, that is totally up to you. If you are at a large university and you are willing be persistent, you may get the division you desire, but it may not have as good a mentor teacher as your current placement. Trust me when I say that having an excellent mentor would trump having mild/mod with a mundane teacher.

    If you are open to this placement, I would make sure the teacher is OK with you and your disappointment, because no one likes to feel that someone "settled" on them as opposed to being excited and enthusiastic about the placement. Only you can figure out if the water has already been muddied by your reluctance to enter her classroom.

    I truly do with you luck.
     
  18. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2011
    Messages:
    3,224
    Likes Received:
    147

    Jun 20, 2015

    We have an MD unit in our building. I can't imagine someone going into that without any prior coursework. It's just a totally different ball game. If you have a great mentor, I think it could work well. If you don't though, it would probably be tough. Maybe once you get there, you could also work a bit with another sped teacher at least to observe. I observed some other teachers during my student teaching.
     
  19. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2008
    Messages:
    2,019
    Likes Received:
    19

    Jun 20, 2015

    I am very confused about you being placed in a mod/severe setting. In CA this would not be allowed because it is an entirely different credential. It is odd that your school thinks this is okay. Also if you want to work in mild/mod, this placement won't help your resume at all.
     
  20. tiki7719

    tiki7719 Companion

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2008
    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    5

    Jun 23, 2015

    Sorry for the late replies-- I don't get to sign on as much as I like.

    Although I'm initially disappointed in the placement, and should the university keep me there, I would not make this known to the teacher, or students. Nor would I have this reflect upon my experience. Of course I would make the best of the situation and not start the year with an outlook of disappointment My disappointment comes from the feeling of being ill-prepared with the license area. If my concentration was mod/severe, and I had the background knowledge from the get-go, this thread would not have been started. However, this is when I would be proactive and work with the teacher to discuss more in greater details the nature of her students, etc.

    I have no idea what my mentor teacher is like, or how her class is handled. I am placed in a very large urban district, and although I have friends who teach special ed in the elementary school setting (my school is K-8), none are familiar with her. Pending on the outcome, I will ask her if she will touch base with her mild/mod co-workers to allow me to work with them as well. I can read up on conditions, techniques, etc. but considering this is my first exposure to students outside my area of licensure, I feel very ill-prepared for this setting.

    This was our (my mentor teacher who was the one that told me to contact the university and I) thinking re. the placement. She may also be thinking "she has no background in this area, how will she be beneficial in my classroom?" I'm hoping another teacher in the building will let me observe/work with her students as well.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. MissCeliaB,
  2. Backroads,
  3. Eric Matyas
Total: 303 (members: 6, guests: 281, robots: 16)
test