I have been a member of these boards since I wanted to be a teacher. Somehow...I just happened to recall what my username was. SPED, let's talk about it. I don't know about other states, but in Minnesota it is a stinky pile of doodoo. Are you thinking about going into sped? let me tell you how your life is going to be. Your caseload is going to be too large to meaningfully manage (aka actually treat the students how they should be treated to make educational gains), I'm literally pushing over 25 kids on my caseload. Manageable? Think about this...if you are doing adequate work, and you are a genius, evals take you 3+ hours (at 25 kids you'll have 6+ a year with new referrals), IEPs take you 1-2 hours, then all of this has the 1 (or 2 if the parents want it) hours of meetings...not to mention your needy parents/kiddos that can literally request meetings non-stop (I have one kid that I've had 15 hours worth of meetings for from September through November). Don't forget you have to actually teach kids besides this. 25 kids? Did I mention that you have to data monitor and progress report? You get to escape, if you write it in the IEP, one set of data reports per student (4 per year REMEMBER ONE ANNUAL IEP MEETING) that will take you 10 to 20 minutes per student, not to mention the recording time if it's not something that's quickly measurable. You know that SPED has a lot of paperwork, right? Well guess what...in my first year I was lucky enough to have the Minnesota Department of Education review all of my paperwork on a particular student due to a formal complaint. Luckily, the complaint wasn't directed at me, and all of my paperwork was spot on..but guess what, I had to take not one, but TWO days to answer the State's questions for this particular student. I also had to plan sub days and have 3+ all day meetings to discuss educational programming. Are you working with students that have EBD? Prepare to have no one understand why they have less "consequences" than other students. Even though I've seen a particular student make enormous gains in willingness to try and complete work, she is disrespectful and defiant to staff in *name random setting* because of this, I have to convince the guardians that homebound/reduced school time is the better setting for her. (No one you work with outside of sped seems to have a backbone for any back talk from students...even though these kids literally have biological tendencies to be defiant.) Special education is horrible. The only thing that keeps me around is the money. I know people say bla, bla bla, teaching and money, I don't know what states they live in, but as a second year teacher between homebound, base salary, QCOMP bonuses, etc. I made over 70k this year. I would quit in a heartbeat if the pay was any less, and I know Minnesota is one of the top ten compensated states pay wise. I sure wouldn't do this job for any less. That last paragraph, don't let it motivate you. SPED is horrible, truly. Here is my suggestion to improve sped: No paperwork AT ALL except when there is a compliance complaint filed by a parent, in that case match the paperwork to what is currently required. P.S. If you are working with EBD students that require holds, get ready to document, document, document. The first time you don't think a hold is important, or you forget to document who did what, you'll know what stress is.