moving classrooms throughout the day?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by FOAL00, Jul 23, 2018.

  1. FOAL00

    FOAL00 New Member

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    Jul 23, 2018

    hey everyone,

    so for this upcoming school year i'm being moved from our elementary school to the middle school next door. i'll be teaching 6th grade special ed and i'll be expected to travel with the students as they move from class to class. so i'll be working with the 6th grade general ed math teacher in his classroom, the 6th grade ELA teacher in her classroom, and the 6th grade science teacher in her classroom. i've asked my P whether or not i'll have a "home base" to work out of but she said she's not sure yet. this will be the first year the middle school will be using this teaching model so i think admin is still trying to figure things out.

    has anyone worked under this model before and if so, how did you stay organized? did you carry all your materials/supplies with you every single day or was there an easier way? also, did you truly "lesson plan" with every single teacher you co-taught with, or did they plan the lesson on their own and you just modified it? because honestly the thought of teaching middle school math and science makes me want to cry :(

    any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated!
     
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  3. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Jul 23, 2018

    All of our SED teacher’s have their own classrooms, even though they spend their days in other classrooms.

    They don’t plan with us, but they do meet with us every week to discuss what we will be doing that week.
     
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  4. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Jul 23, 2018

    I had my own room when I co-taught because I also had a few resource groups throughout the day, but I otherwise followed the students to their different classrooms. I had a colleague though who didn't have her own classroom because she only co-taught in other classrooms. For part of the year, she had a desk in the corner of another sped teacher's classroom. When a vacancy was filled mid-year and they were going to have to find a new desk space somewhere, I invited her to move her desk into my room, while the new hire took her old space.

    My advice would be to ask another teacher - either one who you'll co-teach with or a sped teacher with their own room - if you can have a desk in the corner. You should absolutely have access to your own workspace (a desk, file cabinet, and book shelf), even it's not in your own room.
     
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  5. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Jul 23, 2018

    I was originally told that I would be in this situation this school year. My district is building new buildings and they purposefully did not create space for specialists (sped, EL, title 1, etc.) The thought is they're trying to force co-teaching. At one point I was told I was going to have a locker and a cart. I threw a fit in several meetings. The whole thing seemed extremely disrespectful to me. No one seemed to understand the need for a "home base"- where would I keep my computer, my files, etc? If I had a sub where would they go for plans? How would I have access to a phone? I kept being told that my cart could attach to "free tables" in the hallway to work at if I needed to. The entire thing was ridiculous. I was prepared to find a new job until the P ended up fixing the situation at the end of the year.

    I agree with the suggestion above- see if there is a nice teacher that would agree to give you a desk in his or her classroom. Maybe you'll really click with one of your co-teachers. There must be other sped teachers at the school since you're only doing 6th grade, right? I'd ask for their contact info and reach out to them with your questions. We can speculate, but the only way you can find out how things truly work is to ask someone who already works at the school. IME, the "hope" for co-teaching is that both teachers are truly planning and teaching equally. In reality, that almost never happens. There isn't time for co-planning, classroom teacher doesn't want to give up control, in some scenarios the sped teacher doesn't have the same content knowledge, etc. The other sped teachers will be able to tell you what the norm for that school is.
     
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  6. heatherberm

    heatherberm Cohort

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    Jul 23, 2018

    Most of the special ed teachers in my building share spaces so definitely see if that's an option. I'm self-contained but another special ed teacher who mostly co-teaches has a desk, filing cabinet, storage space in the room and she does all her non-teaching work as well as a resource group in there. The other self-contained teacher in the building shares with another special ed teacher. The final two special ed teachers (primarily co-teaching but some resource) share a room with each other as well. But I would definitely push for some kind of home base somewhere. At the very least, you should have some storage space but it's also helpful for testing accommodations and separate space for students to work if needed.
     
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  7. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    Jul 24, 2018

    Having worked as a special ed. teacher (resource specialist) in all grades (K-12) in three different districts for many years, my advice to you would be to remain as flexible as possible, keep your expectations regarding those that you will be working with (aides, teachers, administrators) low and don't become too attached to your students. You'll also be better off keeping everything as simple as possible and minimizing your possessions. A few examples from my sordid experiences may help you to understand where I'm coming from and hopefully provide you with some strategies for coping with the challenges you're likely to encounter as a special educator.

    My very first assignment was in a small rat-infested adjacent to the gymnasium - found a dead rat in my desk drawer! As if the loud incessant reverberations of bouncing basketballs on the hardwood floor in the gym next door wasn't enough, the permanent musty rat smell was enough to make anyone want to puke. I learned that an unlocked cabinet that stored all of my teaching materials (board games, manipulatives, etc.) was easy pickings for young thieves - I came to work one day and found almost everything gone. I also learned that new special ed. teachers were given the worst room in the school.

    My second assignment (I had to pay my dues by being a long-term sub for several years) wasn't much better than the first. My "home base" was the hallway outside of a kindergarten classroom that consisted of a single table with three chairs. I still recall having to constantly close the door to the kindergarten classroom just so I could hear myself speak. Eventually, the principal allowed me to use a large broom closet for my office which was an improvement from the hallway.

    For my third assignment, I was itinerant which meant I had to drive to two different schools every day. At one of the schools, my "home base" was a small play area which overlooked the multipurpose room/cafeteria. It wasn't too bad except during the successive lunch periods and special assemblies.

    Sharing a classroom with another special ed. teacher and 1-2 aides was often like a noisy four-ring circus. It not only revealed the huge disparity between different effective and ineffective teaching styles, but presented impossible challenges for students who were highly distractible or had attention deficits.

    Since you'll be accompanying your students as they travel from class to class, I would guess that your role in the classrooms will be limited to being somewhat of an instructional aide. You most likely won't have to do any lesson planning as the lessons will be conducted by the classroom teachers. Instead, you'll probably be helping your students to comprehend information presented in the lessons, textbooks and handouts. You'll also be providing in-class support for assignments.

    When I worked under the same model that you'll be using, I used a binder with index tabs for each student. I found it easiest just to keep a running log showing the subject at the top and columns for the date, textbook pages, lesson description, concerns/problems. You can also insert a copy of the IEP page that lists the student's goals and objectives. Perhaps you can arrange to keep a copy of the textbook, etc. in a drawer or in a box on a shelf in each classroom so you won't have to lug stuff around with you (ask each teacher to borrow an extra copy of their textbook, if needed, otherwise just use your student's copy). Ideally, you'll only need to carry around a single binder from class to class.

    You should by all means insist on having regular access at any time of the day to a quiet room/office where you will need to do assessments, review files, prepare IEPs, make phone calls, conference with students, meet with parents, etc. Be sure to establish a block of time every day - an hour or more - for completing these administrative responsibilities. You may need to assertively request that your principal make the necessary arrangements for your "office" which BTW should also be equipped with a locked file cabinet for confidential files, as required by law. Finally, the school should provide you with a computer/laptop and printer that will be needed to access the district's special education data management system.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2018
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  8. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Jul 24, 2018

    I’m the gen ed partner of a co-teaching classroom. My co-teacher has her own set up in my room—complete with places to store files and supplies, and so the only thing she brings with her is her laptop. She does have her own room because she pulls resource groups for part of the day, but she started bringing her laptop because she’s also our designee and gets many emails throughout the day that need a quick response. Our admin is really bad about hunting her down and interrupting instruction if they need an answer and she hasn’t responded because she’s teaching.

    We do plan weekly, and honestly, that is crucial to being a successful co-teaching team. I’ve co-taught before without planning together, and it was awful. You need to be able to really discuss the lessons and student performance. If there’s absolutely no way to do it in person, I would suggest doing it electronically. We have a shared lesson plan template that we both access and enter plans on each week.
     
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  9. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Jul 24, 2018

    For some reason (and I'm not even sure why because you never mentioned it), I thought you taught SDC--not RSP.

    Anyway, I'm beginning to see why your username is Been There. Reading about the rats made me cringe.
     
  10. FOAL00

    FOAL00 New Member

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    Jul 24, 2018

    thank you everyone for your advice and for sharing your experiences! i'll definitely ask my principal again about having a home base and i'll go introduce myself to my new grade team once school reopens. the elementary school i was working in had an awful rat problem but here's hoping they haven't made their way next door yet...
     
  11. Mr.Literature

    Mr.Literature Companion

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    Jul 26, 2018

    I’ve been in a co-teaching setting as the core teacher. The ESE teacher with me had her own desk, computer, file cabinets, etc. However, she didn’t have to move from room to room. At another school I have taught, the ESE teacher moves with students but sticks to 2 subject areas. The ESE teacher I know at this school had a desk in one teacher’s room but also had her own office in another building. Generally she travelled with a rolling backpack so she could keep her textbooks or whatever else she needed with her.

    In none of the situations that I have been exposed to, does the inclusion teacher ever work on lesson plans. In my opinion, they should be a part of the process, but this just hasn’t been what I’ve encountered. At the high school I worked at, the inclusion teachers weren’t even treated with dignity. There was a teacher that kicked an inclusion teacher out of her classroom and I’ve been told by multiple ESE teachers that they just sit there and twiddle their thumbs because of the friction between them and the core teacher and they feel powerless. The best advice I can give you is to have an open/honest dialogue between you and the core teachers. Tell them what you’d like, and ask them what they’d like out of this relationship. Being in this environment can be hard. Not everyone wants a second adult in the room but they have no choice and don’t have the personality to gel with that person. However, not saying anything and letting resentment build between the two adults is detrimental to the students.
     
  12. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Jul 26, 2018

    Our teachers who do not have their own classrooms all have a "home base" somewhere with a desk, file cabinet and some minimal storage.
     
  13. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Jul 27, 2018

    The other 2 SPED teachers and I share a home base classroom for small groups and storage of materials. When I moved from room to room, I kept a storage binder for each class with needed materials inside. (This one.)
     
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  14. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I used to have that exact same binder! I also used it when teaching sped and needing something to carry around. I liked it because my pens and flashcards were safe from falling out as I walked around the building.
     
  15. teachsph2008

    teachsph2008 Companion

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    Jul 27, 2018

    This is ridiculous and disrespectful! Anywho, I'd make this about safety and confidentiality.
    1. Logistically, how are you supposed to travel WITH students from class to class, monitor them, stop for any restroom water/breaks, AND carry all the things you need.
    2. Where do you house all of this confidential stuff? You just can't leave it out for anyone to see.
    I can't believe they would do this to any staff member. We all need a home base.
     
  16. teachsph2008

    teachsph2008 Companion

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    Jul 27, 2018

    Oh yeah, instead of asking, I'd start off by saying something like:
    Mr. Wise P, show me where I'll put my belongings in the morning.
    I've already scoped things out, I think a good place for my locking file cabinet is in Ms. Friendly's classroom. She also has a small corner for my desk.

    If they do not accommodate your basic requests, I'd start documenting all of this. This may seriously affect your job performance.
     

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