Overwhelmed in a Sp Ed preschool

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by crosscountryski, Sep 23, 2011.

  1. crosscountryski

    crosscountryski Companion

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    Sep 23, 2011

    Hi

    I am a teacher in a special education preschool in a public school. My undergrad was in Early Childhood and Master's was in Early Intervention/Special Education. I did student teaching in special education preschool, but this is the first time that I am on my own.

    I am overwhelmed. I have a couple of paras but they are assigned to 1:1 students. I do not have a para to help me with the rest of the students. I have between 15 and 18 on any given day. Majority are on IEPs and have significant needs. Trying to get an extra set of hands is a miracle at this point. I have been asking. Today, I just got told to get more involved. I can't be in two places at the same time.

    Every day that I come into preschool, I feel anxious and stressed before the kids come in. Some days are worse than others. I just broke down and cried today in front of my director today, which is not the first time.

    I love the kids, but since I am always picking up pieces it makes it difficult to sit down and play or work with the students. To top it off, if any of my parents have a concern, they are quick to run to the director or principal instead of me. There are times that I feel like I am being run out of the town.

    How do I survive and do what I love to do. I seriously want to be here next year as I love the town. I just feel so lost and unable to do my job because I am stretched too thin.

    Any help would be great.
    Thanks
     
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  3. Pre-K Teacher 1

    Pre-K Teacher 1 Comrade

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    Sep 24, 2011

    Wow! I can't believe you do not have an assistant. Our preschool special education classrooms are limited to 8 students with 1 para and some of those kids have 1 to 1 as well. I could not even imagine being in a classroom with 15-18 kids and no help. How is that even manageable with kids with IEPs? What about best practices with serving children with disabilities?
     
  4. Bengie03

    Bengie03 Rookie

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    Sep 24, 2011

    Wow! That is a lot of kids. I have been a para educator for 5 years now while going to school, and I remember my first year having 16 special needs children with two aids and them providing us with an additional sub to help out. It was challenging, since we had a lot children with a lot of needs. Currently, we have 7 students with two aids. I don't know how having class that size is manageable with no assistance from an para educator. I really hope everything looks up, so you can concentrate on more important things, instead of trying to manage a class that size on your own. Good luck to you..
     
  5. crosscountryski

    crosscountryski Companion

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    Sep 24, 2011

    Hi

    It is alot of kids. Don't get me wrong. I love teaching and being with them, but it is becoming difficult. The paras with the 1:1 prefer to be with their paras but they will help out with other things. On the other hand, if I am with a student toiliting and I ask them to help with another student, it doesn't go over well. I seriously can't be in two spots at the same time. Parents of these 1:1 want their paras with them the whole time and will voice that to the director. By law, they are correct. I shouldn't be using them but I can't figure out a way to clone myself. We are all walking on egg shells because I am frusturated. I am maxed out, overwhelmed and stressed and say things without thinking. My paras who have 1:1 are overstressed because they are trying to help.

    I seriously think that we need to limit the number of special ed kids in each class next year. If that means we do two sessions, one in AM and one in PM, that is what we should do.

    Why can't I do what I love. It is all politics and it drives me nuts.
     
  6. Bengie03

    Bengie03 Rookie

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    Sep 24, 2011

    It seems like you have a difficult situation. It seems like you really need a para educator that can relieve some of the burden off you. I understand you have 1:1, but they can't help you with day-to-day tasks that is necessary in running the classroom. In my class, we don't have any 1:1, even though some of the kids really do require 1:1. I and the other aid are responsible for a lot the day-to-day stuff like making sure children are changed, calling lunches, maintaining a clean environment, in charge of the PEC schedules and so forth. You are right, you can't be in two places at one time. I the only I can tell you is that you need to keep advocating for another para educator. Hope things get better.
     
  7. crosscountryski

    crosscountryski Companion

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    Sep 24, 2011

    Hi

    I need another para. I have parents that would like to get me on board with toilet training, which I would do if I have another para. I have sped students who are not 1:1 that could benefit from PECS but I can't do it on my own or even find the time to get it set up or follow thru with it. We are having safety issues and could use an extra set of hands and eyes to keep on top of it.

    The teacher that was here previously was very well respected and here for a very long time. I am trying to fill her big shoes and in the process losing my mind. She got extra help last year.

    I have been told that it will get better and I am hoping it well. I just seem so discouraged. I have a feeling that admin feels that I am not able to do the job when in fact we just need more help. I feel inadequate because I can't do everything and I can't be in two places at once. If I ask for help from the paras, then they take it to the director.

    I wonder if this situation will ever be a win-win for everyone.
     
  8. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Sep 24, 2011

    Do you think you could get some parent volunteers to help you out?
     

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