Reviewing my options

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by crazycatlady80, Apr 10, 2016.

  1. crazycatlady80

    crazycatlady80 Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2015
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    6

    Apr 10, 2016

    Now that I'm out of a horrible field experience, I'm using this opportunity to review my options. Background information - I'm 35-years old living outside of Los Angeles. I've worked as a political consultant, librarian, and graduate student. Have multiple degrees, worked in some pretty fancy academic institutions, etc. I also have a very severe math disability. I can't do math basically from 2nd-11th grade. I understand the concept of it and how to do it. I just can't do the actual calculations. Interestingly enough, I can do the highest levels of math (i.e. calculus and number theory) with no problem, because they are less about the numbers and more about concepts.

    I decided I wanted to teach special education last year. Honestly, it is what I've always wanted to do. All the academic degrees with mostly to show other people and myself that I'm intelligent. However, the math disability has always been a thorn in my side. I asked this board if I could be a special ed teacher with a math disability last year and got a lot of good advice. I feel I can teach TK-2nd. I spoke to my professors if that was alright and I'm narrowing myself too much. All of them said it was fine as long as keep my options open as far as districts go. Well, my master teacher disagreed, saying that my credential is K-12 and if my principal assigns me to a grade, I must teach it. I spoke to several districts regarding accommodations for my disability and they said that they can write it in my contract where I can't teach math beyond a certain grade level after I get a position, but I don't know how that will go down with administrators. Thoughts?

    Currently, I'm working on MM cred. Maybe changing it to MS, but I don't feel my heart is in it. I could always do Early Childhood, but I don't want to take the 12 units of development courses that are required.
     
  2.  
  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,606
    Likes Received:
    2,713

    Apr 11, 2016

    In my district it is stressed that you may be placed in any grade level or subject area for which you are appropriately licensed. I'm licensed for K-12, and even though my preference and experience are for the secondary level, they could decide to put me in elementary, and I'd have to be able to adapt. I'm very surprised to hear that any district anywhere would be willing to accept teachers who were unable to perform the functions for which they were licensed.

    Honestly, if I were in your situation, I would rethink any sort of K-12 degree that required any sort of basic math knowledge, and this includes special ed, if you are unable to perform and teach basic math.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2016
  4. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Messages:
    4,376
    Likes Received:
    808

    Apr 11, 2016

    I've worked in two different districts, and in both of them, you could (and were) transferred to whatever grade they decided, so long as it was in your credential. Mine is PK-6, and I'd hate to teach PK or 6th, but if that is what they decide, I have to go. I much prefer the middle elementary grades -- 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. Next year, I may have to teach 5th grade math, and I'm going to have to teach the curriculum to myself before I can teach it to the children.
     
  5. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    14,070
    Likes Received:
    1,886

    Apr 11, 2016

    I'm qualified JK to Grade 12 in Special Ed, Grade JK to 8 generalist and up to Grade 10 English. I have no desire to teach anything below grade 6, but know that I can certainly be asked (and expected) to. We are having some conflicts in our building right now with people wanting to limit what they teach because of personal preference. While preference is accommodated as much as possible by my current administration, that isn't always the case.
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    24,959
    Likes Received:
    2,116

    Apr 11, 2016

    While you may have been told it could be written into a contract that you would not be required to teach beyond grade two, it's highly unlikely you would be hired with those contractual needs. Consider you will always be in competition for positions with other highly qualified candidates who are much more flexible in placement and who can teach any content area well.
     
    RainStorm, MrsC and monsieurteacher like this.
  7. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Messages:
    6,110
    Likes Received:
    960

    Apr 11, 2016

    I would look into becoming certified in early childhood sped if I were you. That way you can only teach pre-k students and won't be able to be moved to a higher grade level. In my area it would be extremely uncommon to have a sped position for just K-2. At one point I was applying to pretty much every district in my metro area and I never saw a position that was that limited. Most schools around here have one teacher for K-6 with a few schools having two teachers. My school does have two, but we're the only one in the district. I teach K-3 and the other teacher teaches 4-6, but that can change due to numbers. This year I had to take on a few 4th graders because the intermediate teacher ended up with so many kids, and next year it's looking like she'll need to take on a few of my 3rd graders given the number of K students we have coming in with IEPs. Even if you were able to find a position that only covered grades K-2, I think you'd have a hard time getting hired when you are competing with candidates that can teach any grade level. I sit on our interview committee and I'd be concerned about a candidate that was uncomfortable with math beyond 2nd grade. Even if you're just teaching to 2nd grade, you have to understand where the curriculum goes next and how basic skills apply to higher level skills taught in older grades. I would highly recommend that you stick to an ECSE certification instead of trying to do the K-12 certification.
     
    czacza likes this.
  8. Gimet

    Gimet Rookie

    Joined:
    May 23, 2009
    Messages:
    56
    Likes Received:
    3

    Apr 12, 2016

    I'm a retired ECSE teacher. As a special education preschool teacher there is a ton of math involved.... Eligibility Criteria, Response to Intervention, writing IEPs, data collection, writing progress reports, interpreting ABA data...definitely above a second grade level.
     
  9. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Messages:
    5,186
    Likes Received:
    1,568

    Apr 12, 2016

    Are there any special education private schools in your area? I teach in one and most of the students are only at a preschool-1st grade level in all subjects (although some are able to read at a higher level). I have never had to teach my students anything beyond counting, basic addition, etc. So basically, most of our teachers teach early childhood level work to students from 5 years old up to 21. You wouldn't have a problem in that case.
     
  10. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    24,959
    Likes Received:
    2,116

    Apr 12, 2016

    The OP will still be in competition with more highly qualified candidates. Regardless of student population, I'd have concerns as a colleague, parent or administrator over whether students were being well served by a highly proficient professional.
     
  11. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Messages:
    6,110
    Likes Received:
    960

    Apr 12, 2016

    From what I understand, the OP has a math disability that is very specific to calculation. She can do the calculations with a calculator and understands the concepts/higher level math, but would not be able to teach it because obviously you need to teach students how to do the calculations without a calculator. I would assume that since she would be able to give herself accommodations (using a calculator, extra time, etc.) she would be able to do things like IEPs, data, evaluations, etc. If I'm misinterpreting the disability and the OP is not able to do the math at all above a 2nd grade level, then I would definitely agree with you.
     
  12. crazycatlady80

    crazycatlady80 Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2015
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    6

    Apr 25, 2016

    Sorry I never wrote back sooner.

    When I spoke to LAUSD, they suggested that I get the job first and then have it added to my contract. I've thought about early childhood, but CA requires 12 units of child development courses. I just don't have the time nor the money to do that.

    My disability is very well documented, going back to when I was in second grade. I also have current testing data as well that shows a significant math disability. I understand the concepts behind math just fine. I just can't do the basic calculations without a calculator.
     
  13. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Messages:
    5,186
    Likes Received:
    1,568

    Apr 26, 2016

    Just wondering...did you ever discuss this with your college adviser? Before you decided on what to major in? I just thought if someone discussed it with you then you would have gotten assistance finding a field that would be easier for you to avoid math. In all areas of teaching you do need some math here and there. It seems a bit late in the game for you to be worrying about it now and how it will affect your teaching.
     
    bella84 likes this.
  14. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    24,959
    Likes Received:
    2,116

    Apr 26, 2016

    Agreed

    One might have a desire to 'be something' but not have the required skills despite majoring in and graduating with a degree in...there are HUNDREDS of resumes for every one opening in my state's districts. You need to stand out as a candidate regardless of disabilities.You need to be so compelling as to overcome any questions they may have about your challenges.
    Ultimately it's about the students, not you. Students are best served by professional educators who know their content inside and out, who can meet student needs (despite their own needs), who can differentiate, communicate student progress, challenge and bump up and down according to student understanding. And deal with the physical and psychological and political demands of a classroom.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2016
    bella84 and Caesar753 like this.
  15. crazycatlady80

    crazycatlady80 Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2015
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    6

    Apr 28, 2016

    Thanks everyone. I'm currently speaking to a labor attorney about this matter.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

Total: 239 (members: 4, guests: 207, robots: 28)
test