Regret becoming a special education teacher?

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by teacher girl, Sep 28, 2013.

  1. teacher girl

    teacher girl Comrade

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    Is this normal- I hate my job. It is my first year teaching but i absolutely hate my job.lol- I hate inclusion, Is that normal? for first year sped teachers, I get tired of paperwork. I go to work every day at 6:00 am to prepare for the day, and I go home everyday at 6:30- so I feel like all I do is work. I wonder if I made a mistake going into my profession because I hate collaborating with so many people. Some days, are especially draining, with bad behaviors, and I don't like collaborating with the general ed teachers because they don't see me as an equal, because everyone is experienced, ( teaching 10 plus years) and I am first year- I don't like working with my kids, because they don't see me as a teacher either. so.... just venting... and was wondering if that was normal- I find myself looking up programs to get out of special ed, because it is so much to think about all the time. And I teach like 3 grades, so curriculum planning and annual goals are so hard to work out. So far, I've been doing good at work because I put so much work into it, however, I hate it-- Is this normal?
     
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  3. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Sounds like you need to "exert your muscle." You're a professional. Act like it. Make your colleagues know it. Is it possible that they don't see you as an equal because they don't see what your contribution is? As for the kids... if they don't see you as being a teacher, that's something you need to fix, ASAP. Most of those kids are probably quite used to working with a special education teacher.

    I left special education and went into general education because of the collaboration aspect of it, and because inclusion was being pushed too much (call me crazy, but when I have a fifth grader reading at a first grade level and doing math on a second grade level, I'm not seeing the benefit to having that student sit through fifth grade content), but that's largely my personality type. I'm a Type-A personality, and special ed teachers need to be Type-B's.
     
  4. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Interesting. I definitely lean on the Type-A personality side of the continuum (Although, "lean" might be too soft of a word.). I don't find that this hinders my ability to be a sped teacher at all. Nor does it hinder my ability to find enjoyment and satisfaction from it. Could you expand upon your thoughts? I'm not intending to be argumentative. I'm just curious about what you mean.
     
  5. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    Did you go through a traditional teacher prep program? Were you aware of the demands that this career would have before you graduated? I see this sort of post over and over, so I am wondering what is going on in these universities. I remember being in the classrooms my sophomore year. I felt prepared my first year of real teaching. But, I do realize student teaching and real teaching are not the same thing.

    Do you want out of education all together, or just special ed? This is a tough job. It's thankless. The schools are not built for us; they are built for regular ed. Everything revolves around them, and we're just there. My 5th year teaching, I did inclusion for one year, and hated every minute of it. Inclusion is not the only area of special ed. Try resource or self-contained; you might like those more. I know I do. I like feeling like a teacher, and not being treated like a babysitter. If you want to feel like you belong and your opinion matters, special ed is probably not for you. We often alienate ourselves because we are required legally and morally to advocate for those students who are difficult. The students are ours for a reason. But, that's another reason why I like self-contained. I make the lessons, and I make the accommodations/modifications in class. I am in charge and the buck stops here. If I were ever forced to do inclusion again, I'd go work at Wendy's, and yes I have worked at Wendy's before. It's better than inclusion.
     
  6. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    I am type A too! 100%!
     
  7. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Everything you're feeling is normal, yes. Being a sped teacher is tough for all of the reasons you mentioned. You have to give it time. Things WILL get easier. If you're doing your job well, it will always be challenging, but it will be easier once you've established routines for the things that can have routines. Admittedly, in sped, it's much for difficult to develop a routine for various aspects of the job than it is in regular ed, because everything is always changing. However, once you find what works for you with classroom management for your pull-out groups, once you've had a chance to teach lessons that address various skill deficits, and once you've a chance to develop procedures for how you collect various types of data, you'll have more time to devote to those things you can't keep consistent, such as when IEPs are due, what your students' needs are, and how other teachers work with you.

    For teachers that don't see you as an equal, you need to assert yourself. Tell them no once in awhile, and remind them that you write your own lesson plans, too. I've done that, and teachers now see me more as an equal and less as a tutor or para for their struggling kids.

    The first year in any teaching position is tough, according to what I've experienced myself and seen on these boards, and sped, at least when you do your job well, is always tough regardless. You're dealing with a double whammy here. You can get through it though. As a first year teacher, I'm certain you wouldn't find regular ed any easier. It would come with other stressors, and you'd likely find yourself working similar hours.:2cents:
     
  8. RadiantBerg

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    This may be an example of "the grass is always greener..." You will likely have to work just as hard if you find a general ed position so don't assume it will be any easier.
     
  9. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    At least how it always was where I taught, SPED teachers had to be extremely flexible and had to be more "team player" than "team leader."
     
  10. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Ah, I see. I guess I've found the happy medium, where I can make my Type A personality useful as a team player for the regular ed teams I'm a part of, and I'm able to use it to be a team leader for the sped team. Makes sense. I do think, though, that the grade-level teams are happier with my type A personality and involvement than they are with some of my type B sped colleagues who sit back and take little initiative as members of those teams. Just my observation at our particular school.
     
  11. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Most of the gen ed teachers at my school work till 4:30, a number of them work till 5 or 6 and still have to bring work home. Many of them have 4 preps where they have to teach challenging material to hundreds of students every day. I can leave a classroom for a few minutes to use the restroom or make copies; they are sometimes in classes back to back for 3-4 hours straight without time to run to the bathroom. (And the English teachers have to grade hundreds of essays on top of all that.)
     
  12. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    Yep.

    I am in my third year teaching (first year resource, the past two in inclusion) and so I have an idea of what general education teachers go through as well. A good general education teacher puts in just as much work as a SPED teacher.

    I am currently obtaining my general education license, on top of my current special education license. Not because I want to get out of special ed necessarily, but because I want to broaden my understanding of the craft of teaching, as well as open myself up to opportunities teaching at different schools/different grade levels.
     
  13. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Haha... without exaggeration, the bathroom thing is easily the part of being a general ed teacher that I hate the most. There were lots of things about being an inclusion teacher that rubbed me the wrong way... but boy oh boy do I miss being able to take a quick bathroom break if I needed one.
     
  14. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I could never survive in an inclusion position. I absolutely hate doing push-in services. In my student teaching I spent about 3/4 of the year in regular ed 3rd grade where I was in charge of teaching and planning everything. When I moved to my sped placement, it was "full inclusion" and I literally only got to teach two small reading groups a day. The rest of the day I was just standing around in the gen ed rooms keeping kids on task, providing accommodations, or helping kids that raised their hands. If the teacher was doing direct instruction there was really nothing for me to do but stand there and watch. I HATED it. I was a lifeguard for many years in high school and college and I honestly felt that was more interesting than my inclusion position. My dad is also a sped teacher and he's complained for years about how they never let him actually teach. I ended up moving to a different state where the resource/pull-out model is still very popular and it really is night and day from inclusion. I get to run my own classroom and I teach my own lessons all day. I still have to collaborate with the other teachers, and that part is sometimes frustrating (just because there are so many of them and only one of me) but I think they have no problem seeing me as an actual teacher because I do teach all day. I have an extremely high caseload (40 students) but part of me is glad about that because there is absolutely no way my school could ever think about going to push-in rather than resource with those kind of numbers and only one teacher. Another school in the district has about half that and their principal is making them do push-in this year. I am SO glad I'm not there!

    I did teach gen ed last year and honestly it was about the same amount of work. There are pros and cons to both gen ed and sped. One thing that I think would eventually be easier about gen ed is that you can save plans and activities from year to year. I just didn't teach it long enough to be able to do that, lol. In sped the kids goals and needs are different each year, so you can't reuse plans or lessons or anything from the previous year.

    Since you already have your certificate, if I were you I'd look into a resource position before trying to go back to school for something else. If it's truly the inclusion factor that you don't like, that should make a world of difference.
     
  15. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Haha...when I went back to sped this year one thing I was excited about was being able to go to the bathroom (almost) whenever I want!
     
  16. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Teaching is a lot of work, regardless of what your assignment is. It's normal to feel overwhelmed when starting something new. I made the move from Special Ed to general ed this year, not because I didn't enjoy it, but because I've struggled with increased caseloads, increased paperwork, increased student needs, and less time to deal with it all. I didn't feel as though I was able to be effective, no matter how hard I worked or how many hours I put in.

    That said, I loved my role as a Special Ed teacher; my time in inclusion classrooms was beyond rewarding. Every child in the inclusion classrooms benefited from having two teachers in the room. It did take some juggling at first, as we learned to work together, but we got there.

    OP, what is one thing that you think would make you feel better about your job this coming week?
     
  17. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I definitely think an inclusion teacher needs to be type-B. I'm very type-A and I think that's part of the reason that type of position isn't a good fit for me. You basically are always at the mercy of the gen ed teacher in inclusion. You don't make the general plans, you don't really have any control over what's being taught, and depending on who you work with you may not even know what's being taught until you walk in the door. You also have no control over what the room looks like, classroom procedures, consequences, presentation of lessons, selected assignments, etc. It drove me nuts. I think in true co-teaching situations where a gen ed and sped teacher work in the same room all day every day it can be more of an equal partnership, but I think it's extremely rare for schools to have the funding for that/be willing to spend the money to make that happen. Most inclusion teachers are in multiple classrooms and even if the gen ed teachers truly respect them as teachers, you simply can't have the same "control" when you're only in that room for a small part of the day.
     
  18. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    LOL!!! ;) It's terrible. Absolutely terrible.
     
  19. bethechange

    bethechange Comrade

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    I absolutely don't think being a gen ed teacher is any easier. I think they've each got their advantages and disadvantages.

    I think what I am struggling with this year is that I would be OK doing extra work every night if it was doing that extra work to make my classroom awesome. I'm not. I'm doing hours of extra work every day and every weekend just to survive and get done what needs to be done, and that's with 11 years under my belt. I feel like I am never caught up and never really doing a good job, and I am an extremely organized person!
     
  20. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    I won't say I regret it or getting a grad degree in it because it partners well with the field I'm in now: Speech-Language Pathology (SLP).

    If I could start again, I would have gotten into SLP from the get-go.
     
  21. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Yeah, I get all that. I do push-in for a half hour everyday (when I don't have overlapping meetings or behavior problems to deal with), and everything you mentioned does bug me. But, I guess I'm able to just accept it and move on since it's just one half hour per day. I agree that I'd never be able to do inclusion full-time. I'm glad my district doesn't make that decision for us. It's up to the team to decide what services the students need, and we usually send paras in to do the push-in support that kids need.

    Honestly, Type A or Type B aside, I don't know why a district would spend the money on a sped teacher to do the kind of inclusion support you and I have experienced when it's so much cheaper to pay a para to do the same thing.

    Also, based on other posts by the OP, I think she does pull-out resource, too, in addition to inclusion. Is this correct teacher girl? What does the break down in time look like? How much time are you doing inclusion v. pull-out?
     
  22. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I'm curious to hear about the OP's experience and path towards becoming a special ed teacher. I've seen lots of posts from the OP asking for all sorts of information, so many posts that I've wondered if she has been properly trained for the position. Maybe some more info on that would be helpful.
     
  23. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    I am such a hodgepodge Special Ed. teacher this year. I co-teach one period of inclusion Math, service 7 self-contained students for every other subject, and have 5 other students float in and out depending on the period.

    It is a damned nightmare! I miss being fully self-contained. I do not feel like I have the same class community as I did last year.

    Perhaps a SC position would be more fitting for you.
     

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