New Job as SPED Teacher in 2 classrooms- Advice?

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by SittinInATree, Jun 27, 2007.

  1. SittinInATree

    SittinInATree Companion

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    Jun 27, 2007

    (Warning- this got longer than I expected! :sorry: )


    Hi everyone,

    I just got a job as a Special Education Teacher in 2 inclusion classrooms. Well, they didn't tell me for sure that this was my placement, but they sorta hinted at it. I think they were afraid of disappointing me or scaring me off, but I don't care.

    I will spend half the day as the SPED teacher in a 1st grade inclusion room and the other half in a 3rd grade inclusion room. It is not ideal but I am grateful to have a job (since the market is brutal!) Plus, I am thinking of the good things not the bad.


    I need advice from someone who has done this!


    I talked to some other teachers who have done this, and they said they didn't have to do any planning or preparation since their time was split. The regular ed teachers did all that and then the sped teachers just showed up and then worked in small groups with the sped students. Or did whatever the reg ed teacher needed, I suppose. They did not teach at all, except in small groups with activities. They said they felt like parapros/teacher's aides.

    If you have been split between 2+ grades, were you required to do any planning/prep and teaching or just show up? What other responsibilities did you have?

    I really want to be taken seriously and seen as a true professional. If I am not planning/prepping or even teaching any whole group lessons, how can I convey that I am also a real teacher?

    One thing I am thinking about doing is keeping a data binder on all my kids and carrying it with me and I can just jot stuff down like what they were learning and how well they did, etc. I was thinking of asking the regular ed teachers to leave plans available to me so I can see what the objectives were and if my students were able to achieve them, etc. What do you think? What else can I do?

    Do you have any other advice for me?

    How can I control small group behavior when I am not in the class all the time? I am not too worried about this, but I am interested in hearing from others.

    I want to do some kind of reward system, but not deviate too much from what the regular ed teacher has in place. I was thinking of giving each student an incentive chart and after each lesson that they did good on, giving them a sticker and when it is full they can get a prize. But I am worried that the other kids will get jealous. Maybe I can just get some cool stickers/stamps. Or some tiny prizes to give them on the downlow after an especially good day, etc. What do you think?

    I am kinda bummed that all my (TONS) of cool teacher stuff will just sit this year. I have so much that I have barely got to use. Oh well.


    Another question I have for those of you that are/were split- Did you have a space of your own? Not a whole classroom or office but did one of the regular ed teachers allow you to have a teacher's desk in her room? I think I would go nuts if I did not have my own space to work before/after school, etc!



    Oh also, when was your planning and lunch? I am worried about having a planning and lunch time that doe snot coincide with my student's lunch and related arts. Because this will mean, if I do have my own desk in one of the rooms, that I might not get kid-free (and therefore duty-free) time to myself!


    I would really appreciate any advice or tips you can offer me! Thanks!!!
     
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  3. AnthonyA

    AnthonyA Rookie

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    Jun 27, 2007

    I'm about to post something similiar. So I feel for you.
    I got a summer job and will be teaching 4 classes one day and another 4 the next. I have a total of 8 classes, 12-15 in each class. Now get this, classes will vary from 5 years of age - 12 years of age, with most having ADD, ADHA, etc etc....
    The worst is, I have to figure out who is at what grade level in Math, Reading & Writing and give them classwork accordingly. How?? lol

    Hey, this will look real nice on my resume though! :D

    All kidding aside, I will do my best. I just feel it's going to be very difficult to have all these different ages and disorders while trying to provide work for such a variety. hhmmmmmm
     
  4. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Jun 28, 2007

    SittinInaTree

    This position could possibly be a nice way to gain experience and also not have such an overwhelming year of teaching. I have not done this, but I have been a floating teacher.... It's actually quite nice.

    I think the biggest concern with this position, is as you mentioned, actually being responsible and doing work, not just implementing someone else's plans. I say, start off on the right foot. Talk to the teacher you are working with so she knows you have ideas. Keep the lines of communication open. Ask her if you could be involved in the planning process..... and then maybe plan some lessons on your own if she wouldn't mind. It's all about making the experience work for you. Some teachers don't like having other people in their room, and so, you can end up being just an aide in the room. Others welcome all the help they can get.

    Why not ask her for a small table to use as your desk. I think that's a fair request. If not a desk, then at least a designated area. Discuss her plan for behavior management. You both have to be on the same page for this!


    Definitely keep that binder with progress notes!!!!
    I think you will have a great year! Use it as your time to shine and show them what you can do.
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jun 28, 2007

    The critical things are to get and stay organized, and to work with the regular classroom teachers to develop a plan you both like. Discipline won't be a problem as long as the policy is the same with you and the regular teacher.

    I'm sure you'll do a great job!
     
  6. rchlkay

    rchlkay Companion

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    Jun 28, 2007

    First of all, congratulations on the new job! It seems a little overwhelming to be splitting your time, but trust me, it could be a lot worse. I was terrified last year because I was co-teaching several subjects in six different classrooms. (2 each of 4th, 5th, and 6th) Part of the time I was in the regular room and part of the time I pulled the kids to the resource room. I LOVED it. (Even more exciting, this year I have 2 classes of K-6!!!) First of all, if you want to be involved in the planning (and I suggest that you try to be), make sure that you let your intentions known at the beginning of the year. Make sure that you are willing to compromise. I did all of the planning for my pull-out groups but due to time constraints I generally simply modified the gen ed teachers' lessons to fit my students needs. For example, fewer spelling words, use of calculators, read material aloud, etc. Some times I completely changed the lesson so we were learning the same topic but at a different level. My expectations were usually different from the reg ed. Try to use the same behavior management plan that the gen ed class uses. The only real exceptions I made to this was for a few students with emotional/behavioral disorders which required separate plans but you would have to do this no matter what kind of classroom you're teaching in. I did use additional reinforcement with sticker charts for all of my students. They received a sticker for good behavior, completing work, bringing back signed planners, that sort of thing. In most of the classrooms that I was in, I had an area of my own but at the most it was simply a table where I could teach small groups. Several classes I floated back and forth between the students that needed assistance. Try to help all of the students though, not just the ones with IEP's. With two classes, you may not have the problem that I did with keeping materials straight but I color-coded all of my materials. I bought colored baskets and then kept everything I needed in each color so for example, fourth grade folders were blue (each student had their own labeled folder which is how they turned in assignments and they also had "busy work" at their appropriate level that they could work on. Handwriting worksheets, math facts, spelling puzzles, that kind of thing. All of the folders then went in the blue basket. This made it easy to simply look at my watch, grab a basket and head off to the next classroom. This also really helped subs because I could just say at 10:00 take the yellow basket and go to room 5. I recommend keeping a binder with data for each student. I used file folders where I kept a cheat sheet of IEP goals and then charts of data like sight words mastered, math facts, number of spelling words right for each week. This also helped for IEP meetings because all of the information that I needed was in one place. Overall, I think you'll enjoy split classes. It's a nice way to get started because you'll always have some one to support you. Good luck and if you have any questions, there are a ton of people on this forum that can help you. Remember though that what works for one person may not work for you but you'll never know unless you try it!
     
  7. SittinInATree

    SittinInATree Companion

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    Jun 28, 2007

    Thanks everyone for your help!

    I am actually really excited about this. It is not what I thought I would be doing, but I am still excited all the same.

    I student taught in a sped inclusion room and the sped teacher spent half her day in my room and half in a lower grade. She had her own desk in my room. So I am just going to request it with one of my teachers (I think one of them may be considered my "main" partner but that seems odd, I might be wrong) and be polite but firm in the fact that I really need my own space. I think she will be understanding, I mean- what teacher does not want her own desk? I will feel like such an outsider if I do not. When I say firm, I don't mean bossy. I just mean I won't be my normal push-over self and say something like, "I would like my own desk, but if not that's ok too." LOL!

    If not, I am going to get a rolling teacher tote thingy and keep my stuff in there. At least that will prevent me from collecting too much stuff at school! :)

    If anyone else has any more advice for me, I would really appreciate it!
     
  8. ITeach4Him

    ITeach4Him Comrade

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    Jun 30, 2007

    SittinInaTree,

    I'm in the same position as you. I've just been hired to teach Special Ed. I have just finished my first year teaching and taught in a regular classroom. I had all these same questions and I'm glad you asked them too!

    Good Luck!
     
  9. SittinInATree

    SittinInATree Companion

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    Jun 30, 2007

    ITeach4Him, glad I could help! ;)

    What made you switch from regular ed to special ed?

    What grades will you be working with?

    Do you know if you will have your own desk/space?

    Have they given you any details about what your resposibilities will be? Or what your day will be like?
     
  10. ITeach4Him

    ITeach4Him Comrade

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    Jun 30, 2007


    ;) I didn't just decide to switch, lol, I AM certified Sped, but it was the ONLY opening at the district that I want to teach at. I'm not saying I'm using it to get my foot in the door, I think I will really like it. I've done a lot of work in SPED classrooms while subbing, etc.

    I will be elementary K-5 in a small elementary school.

    I have NO IDEA :eek: what my day will like, but the teacher leaving is supposed to visit with me before she is gone. I hope this week! I will have my own classroom, although they are moving to total inclusion. I had that in my school this year and taught them in the regular classroom with modifications.
     
  11. Sterlingrio

    Sterlingrio Rookie

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    Jul 4, 2007

    Experience

    Well, I'd think of what it would be like if you were the reg. teacher having a spec. ed teacher come in. 1) You definately wouldn't want her to feel like she's just assisting and not teaching. 2) Also it might be hard for a reg teacher to render control over her "paper work", planning and ideas. So how do you address these...

    Yes you have your own ideas, but you have to consider the classroom teacher is ultimately responsible for the entire class--- but I"m sure she'd welcome the right kind of support---

    1) Find out her philosophy on education of all students.
    2) What areas, if she could have extra support in, would she want support (don't limit it to just the special ed students, as we know spec. ed strategies and supports can benefit all students)
    3) Specifically ask her how you can help her plan, or manage "paper work", suggesting somehow collaborating so your "data" gathering is able to give her feedback about your students.
    4) Let her know, that if she is willing, you would like to team teach some lessons, and find ways that help enhance her entire classroom, and also benefit you both professionally as teachers- in terms of learning and growth.
    5) Remember most of the time the teachers have so much running through their heads that new ideas, suggestions, although heard may be hard for them to implement, especially if it is not inline with their philosophy or teaching style... start by finding small ways to implement your strategies-- that may mean you taking extra time to actually create what you are suggesting, then present it-- not expecting the teacher to create it her self... ex. student schedule, or self-monitoring sheet.
    6) Part of the block to inclusion is that spec. ed teachers are bringing in successful strategies that reg. ed teachers may not be as familiar with-- when you are explaining it to them it as if you are explaining a piece of art they have never seen, and may not be able to vision unless they see it first-- then AHH, the light goes on.

    Good luck-- I hope my advice helps-- as I also venture into the world of inclusion teaching models.
     

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