New Special Ed Preschool Teacher Advice?

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by MissB123, Aug 18, 2017.

  1. MissB123

    MissB123 Rookie

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    Aug 18, 2017

    So I am a 2nd year teacher this year. I'll give you a little background about me and then my question!

    I graduated in December 2015, and had my first position in an Autism Classroom teaching 5th grade in January of 2016. I came in the middle of the year because the teacher was leaving to go elsewhere. I did not really get a good sense of the first day of school and what kind of prep goes on beforehand.

    August 2016 I switch to a public school. 4th Grade In Class Resource is what I was doing. I worked together with 3 different teachers since they switched classes. It was a big difference than my first position but I don't think I enjoyed it as much. My district had budget cuts so I had to search for a new position elsewhere.

    August 2017 Just got offered a position in a PreK Disabled/Autism class in a public school.


    Heres my questions:
    • Tips for the first day/week of school, what to do with students that are already scared to be there?
    • When I was in the 5th grade Autism class, they had Aides with substitute licenses so the teacher was able to legally leave the classroom with just the aides and students in the rom. In a public school the teacher does not leave the classroom right? what if the aide has a teacher cert?
    • Typical Schedule for this age group and learning abilities
    • How to handle behaviors? In my other school we were allowed to restrain students on the spectrum
    • Also, How much do you spend on classroom decorations etc do you have any tips on that? This is my first time decorating a room because the first one was already done, and the second was shared with my colleagues
    • Anything else you can help me with would be beneficial and I thank you all in advance!
     
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  3. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Aug 18, 2017

    Have you taken part in a new employee orientation? I would think that many of your questions would be answered there. If you have missed an orientation, I would suggest meeting with your principal or HR.
     
  4. Preschool0929

    Preschool0929 Cohort

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    Aug 18, 2017

    Congrats on your new position! This is my 6th year teaching preschool spec. ed. It's definitely challenging and requires a lot of work. All the behaviors that you might have seen in 4th-5th grade might even be amplified since our kiddos are coming in without any self-regulation, communication systems, sensory strategies, etc..

    I'll answer your questions, but feel free to ask any other questions as well! The answers will also be different if you are acting as a resource teacher or its a self-contained classroom and you are the primary teacher.

    1.) The first day/week of school is survival mode :) I always tell new teachers that your goal is to keep every child safe, fed, changed, and get them home safely. We spend the first few weeks just teaching routines, doing reinforcer assessments/preference lists, taking baseline data, brainstorming sensory strategies, determining what communication methods we're going to use, etc.. Even though we teach structure/routine throughout this time, I think a key is not to put too many demands on students right away. I've made the mistake of going in the first week and trying to do work systems or task boxes right away, and ended up spending months dealing with escape behaviors during work. I try to spend the first few weeks just making connections and making myself and my staff as reinforcing as possible so that they will want to work with us.

    2.) In my district, aides (even with teaching certs) cannot run the classroom. If they are hired in a para position, they are acting as classified staff. You'll need to ask your school for more info on this.

    3.) In my classroom our schedule is (roughly)
    *Arrival (students wash hands, use restroom, put belongings away)
    *Individual work systems/task boxes upon arrival
    *Large group instruction
    *Breakfast
    *Developmental centers (students rotate around to centers with my paras as I do direct instruction)
    *Large group reading/story time
    *Recess
    *Dismissal

    4.) Restraint should be a last resort. You'll want to be trained, but of course you'll need to focus more on antecedent based interventions. Remember that you are the first step in the spec ed process. You are teaching your students how to use visual prompts, how to use a visual schedule, how to use a first/then board, how to use PECS/communication systems, how to use/respond to timers, etc....*Most* of your behavior issues are going to be prevented and lessen as you teach each of these. You'll also need to do lots of work figuring out appropriate reinforcers and setting up reinforcement menus and pairing schedules.

    5. I spent a little under $100 decorating this year. I don't put anything on the walls, use lamp lighting, and having neutral tones for as much as possible.
     
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  5. MissB123

    MissB123 Rookie

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    Aug 23, 2017


    Thank you so much!!! Your response was so helpful and actually calmed my nerves a bit! I like your routine, which I may use for some of my ideas! I am used to the first/then and pecs/communicators so that's not what I'm too worried about. I just want all my students to be successful. I also have to find out if we do discrete trials ( I did it in my first job) I am guessing the principal would tell me??? Also, do you go by your first name in a special ed setting? In a field placement I had it was a preschool special ed/autism class and they all went by first name. Is it the teacher's job to say if they should use first names? Do you recommend any necessary tools/resources to have in class that I may not be aware of?? It's for a self contained preschool class.
     
  6. Preschool0929

    Preschool0929 Cohort

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    Aug 24, 2017

    I do DTT, many of my students have it as an instructional method on their IEPs. I go by my last name. I want parents, other teachers, etc. to see me as a professional, which I feel like last name is more appropriate. Even our moderate-severe teachers in my district do last name.

    I would look up the blog "considerate classroom". She does preschool sped and has amazing resources. Your district might provide you with a writing/literacy/math program, but if not I use zoophonics, Orton Gillingham, and touch math.

    My principal doesn't have much to do with my classroom, or know anything about spec ed teaching, so my go to contact person is usually our sped director or our IEP chairperson.
     
  7. Gimet

    Gimet Rookie

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    Aug 24, 2017

    Welcome to the wonderful world of Early Childhood Special Education! It's the best job ever! You have received good advice from previous poster. I did go by Miss First Name since my last name is difficult to pronounce. Having a structure and routine with clearly defined expectations is important. .. We used Zoophonics and Handwriting Without Tears. Also used thematic units--so readiness skills including math, reading, art, circle time, centers, etc. were all incorporated together.. We did DTT with some students. Dependent upon students' needs, you'll probably have several adults in your room (Speech, OT, PT, Parapros ). We had a Preschool Resource Teacher for our district who was helpful. You can PM me if you want. Best Wishes
     
  8. trifan

    trifan Guest

    Oct 15, 2017

    Hello,

    I am trying to learn about all about the preschool field. I have interviewed many parents of preschoolers and some preschool directors and learned, what's most important with any preschool are the teachers. They are the heart of every preschool.


    Daycare Calgary
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 18, 2017

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