Situation with Gen Ed teacher

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by waterfall, Jan 2, 2012.

  1. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Messages:
    5,906
    Likes Received:
    776

    Jan 2, 2012

    There is only one teacher in my building that I don't particularly get along with. She's extremely "old school" and doesn't fit well into my building overall. She's a K teacher. The SLP, OT and I all had a couple of students in her class last year and she was difficult to work with because she doesn't like having sped students in her class (yes, she said this) and doesn't want to work with them at all. I was very relieved to see that I had no students in her class this year. So that's the backstory. We got a new K student before break that was placed into her class. The student is really high-needs. They thought she was actually meant to be in a cognitive needs (what my state calls mod-severe) program, but she never comes to school and they weren't able to properly evaluate her. She came to 20 days of Pre-K overall. She's been to our school once since enrolling in late November. K isn't requried in my state, so she's not technically truant. She has an hour of push-in (meaning I go into the classroom) time from me each week. I have to put it into my regular schedule, even knowing that she doesn't come much, because when she does come I'm legally obligated to meet those hours. I don't have any "extra time" that I can just go in there if she happens to show up rather than putting it in the schedule.

    I have mentioned before that I have about half the planning time of gen ed teachers in my building. I have this student scheduled for 30 minutes on Tuesday and 30 minutes on Friday. If the student isn't there, which is most of the time, I haven't been going into the classroom and use that as planning time. There are no other special ed students in this classroom. There is an RtI student who is fairly low, but she hasn't qualified for tier 3 yet. The teacher wants me to come in and "help" during these scheduled times anyway, even if the student isn't there. On the one hand, I can sort of see where she's coming from- I did tell her I would be in the classroom during those times and to her it seems unfair that I get all of that "extra" planning time just because the student doesn't show up. However, given that I already have so much less planning time than anyone else, I don't think it's unfair for me to use this time for planning if my student isn't there. Gen ed teachers have a 40 minute planning period 7 times a week, along with a 40 minute lunch every day. If I don't use this student's time, I have a 40 minute planning period three times a week, and a 25 minute lunch 3x a week. On Mondays I have 15 minutes for both lunch and planning combined, and on Fridays I have neither. This teacher has my full schedule, since I just give out the full schedule to every teacher rather than taking the time to tell them all individually when their specific times are, so she should be aware that I don't have any extra time. Am I out of line here?
     
  2.  
  3. bros

    bros Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
    Messages:
    4,105
    Likes Received:
    68

    Jan 3, 2012

    You are not out of line
     
  4. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2010
    Messages:
    10,924
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jan 3, 2012

    You are definitely not out of line.

    However, I would not be happy with the situation as a gen ed teacher. When my special ed teacher is scheduled to be in my classroom, I expect that person to be there. It's hard to plan things around someone who is not in your classroom when planned.
     
  5. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    13,933
    Likes Received:
    1,756

    Jan 3, 2012

    I see both sides of the situation, and I have been in your shoes, waterfall. I would speak to my principal about the situation, "On my timetable, I've scheduled these times in to Mrs. K Teacher's classroom to work with _____. The student is almost never at school and there are no other Special Ed students in the class. When the student isn't at school, may I use this time to plan for x, y and z, create programs, and complete some of the tracking paperwork I do?" I would not bring up the disparity in planning time between yourself and the other teachers unless the principal does. As well, if you have a concrete plan for the "extra" time, it will be better received than asking for "more" planning time.

    If the principal agrees, the teacher can't complain (okay, she can, but the complaints will be about the principal's decision, not yours). If they want you in that classroom anyway, it's best you discover it before complaints are made about you not showing up.
     
  6. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2007
    Messages:
    1,872
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jan 3, 2012

    I would have to disagree with this. A special education teacher is not just "an extra pair of hands in the classroom." They are there to service the students on their caseload. This is a unique situation since there is only one child in the classroom. If a child is absent, they aren't required to be in the classroom. The only way this wouldn't be the case is if the teacher was an inclusion teacher or a co-teacher, but that doesn't sound like this is the case given the teacher only has to spend thirty minutes on a few days in the class. This would be like assuming that the gym teacher should still have a gym class, even if the class is on a field trip and won't be attending that day.

    I don't see why this is even an issue - I find it really demanding of the regular ed K teacher to assume that you would spend your free time in the classroom, even without taking into consideration your already jam packed schedule. One thing that I would recommend is using student initials or ID numbers on your schedule, that way, it is better known that you are there to service those students and you're not just coming in to be an aide in the class so the teacher gets a break.
    Something like:

    Monday, 8:00-8:30 (KA, JB) - 9:15-9:55 (JT, JS, IP) INSTEAD of
    8:00-8:30 (Mrs. Kinder teacher) - 9:15-9:55 (Mr. Fourth grade teacher) .

    That way, if those kids were absent or on a trip or in an assembly, it would not be the expectation that you would come to the class. I think she may just be using your "schedule" against you. It should be more student centered rather than teacher centered.

    All too often, special ed teachers are looked at like they are "taking advantage" of the system, which is not typically the case.

    I think first and foremost you need to see what your rights are - I know in all of the school districts I've worked in (Texas and New Jersey) there were rules in place about a thirty minute duty free lunch. You could go to your union or administration if you are not getting your duty free lunch. I know that the prep times are different everywhere, so I can't comment on that, but you should definitely at least get a lunch period every day, on your schedule. You definitely need to advocate for yourself and say, "I have too many students on my caseload and cannot service them without missing my lunch break, which isn't fair. I need to have a lunch break, how can we fix this?" etc.

    I don't think you're out of line at all. The only thing that I would say is that you need to be aware of what's going on in the classroom so that when your student DOES show up, you know what's going on. I think this could be easily solved by having the K teacher share lesson plans with you.

    Good luck!
     
  7. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2010
    Messages:
    10,924
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jan 3, 2012

    I work in a co-teaching environment, so the special education teacher is not just an extra pair of hands. They are vital to the classroom situation. We plan groups together based on both of us being available and in the classroom during those times.
     
  8. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2007
    Messages:
    1,872
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jan 3, 2012

    In THAT case, that would obviously make a difference. YES of course a co-teacher would be expected to be in the classroom during their expected times.

    A co-teaching environment includes more than one child who receives special education services, which is the case here. The teacher is in the classroom only a few times a week to meet the service minutes for that specific child. If said child is absent, [it is my personal belief that] the teacher shouldn't have to be in the room.
     
  9. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2010
    Messages:
    10,924
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jan 3, 2012

    I usually have the maximum allowed number of students with special needs in my classroom as well as many students who are not identified or are on 504 plans. It is definitely a class where I would not be able to work around a co-teacher who was not on a set schedule.

    It is very difficult to plan not knowing when the special education teacher will be in the classroom, unless the special education teacher really wants to take the role of an assistant (or personal assistant) to the one student. If this is how waterfall and the regular education teacher have this time set up, then it should not be a problem if she misses the class. However, if they have discussed waterfall running groups or co-teaching, then I can see why the regular education teacher would be upset.
     
  10. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Messages:
    5,906
    Likes Received:
    776

    Jan 3, 2012

    Thanks, teacheresk. Thats what I was really thinking also. It's not a co-teaching situation at all. I'm in there only an hour a week, and I basically just assist that one student. Of course if another student asked me for help I wouldn't say no, but I'm not teaching groups or anything with the teacher or specifically working with other students. We don't plan anything together. I think part of it is that the teacher is really bitter that the student is not getting pull-out instruction. I actually agree the student needs that (she knows no letters, no shapes, no colors, no numbers, etc.) but since the IEP came from another school in the district, I'm not allowed to hold a "transfer" meeting and change any part of the IEP. We have to keep it as is. She seems to not understand that this is totally out of my hands, so she may just be looking for reasons to nit-pick. She is also fairly upset about the student in RtI that she has. That student is quite low as well, but since she is not identified she has to go through the RtI process. It's quite lengthy in my state (we have to have a year of data) and the K teacher is extremely frustrated that I won't just put the child on an IEP. My district was using the discrepancy model where the teacher recommended the child and they could be tested right away just two years ago, so many teachers haven't "bought in' to RtI yet. I think part of the reason she wants me in the classroom is so I can see how "bad" this RtI student is. I think she thinks I'm going to be convinced and move to place the student on an IEP right away, even though I've told her many times I have legal obligations to follow and that's just not the way it works. I do have the children's first names on the schedule, not the teachers, since I mostly do pull-out groups and I tend to pull students from multiple classrooms at the same time.

    I haved talked to both the special ed director and my principal about the fact that I don't have a lunch every day or a planning every day (our contract says we get a 40 minute plan 5 times a week and at least a 30 minute duty free lunch- the gen ed teachers are getting extra because we have 7 specials instead of 5 this year). Everyone seems to think it's someone else's fault and I've gotten nowhere. We don't have a union. I'm planning on leaving next year so I also don't want to make too many waves with people I'm using as references. The sped director told me the "ideal" caseload is 25 students, and I have 22 so she doesn't see what the problem is. She thinks the fact that I take on a few RtI students (currently only 3 extra kids) is the reason my schedule is so jam packed, and she thinks this is the schools fault for having me work with RtI students. I can't get her to see that it's not that at all. I only take an RtI student if they fit directly into an existing sped group- my group times are based totally on the hours on the student's IEPs. The problem is I have so many ability levels with being the only sped teacher for k-5. On the other hand, my principal thinks I should reduce the hours for the students on IEPs, which is something I'm not allowed to do according to the sped director. My principal tried to get a para for me, but the sped department said no. I am supposed to be getting a practicum (field experience) student sometime this semester, so if I can have her doing some things I'm hoping that might help!

    MrsC, that's a good point. I will ask the P about it. I'm positive she'll side with me- we don't really even do push-in instruction in our sped program anyway (my P prefers pull out) but this is a special circumstance because we have to follow this IEP that came from in-district, so it's not something that she sees as that important anyway. It will be nice though, to just tell Mrs. K teacher that I talked to the P and that was her decision. Then it becomes not my problem!
     
  11. bros

    bros Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
    Messages:
    4,105
    Likes Received:
    68

    Jan 4, 2012

  12. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Messages:
    5,906
    Likes Received:
    776

    Jan 4, 2012

    Our state law specifically says that you must have 36 weeks of progress monitoring data before referring for evaluation. They don't say "you must do RtI", but of course the 36 weeks of data is basically that. The only exception is if the parent requests an evaluation in writing.
     
  13. bros

    bros Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
    Messages:
    4,105
    Likes Received:
    68

    Jan 5, 2012

    OSEP letters are rather compelling in court cases, even though they aren't binding like IDEA. Waiting 36 weeks before doing an evaluation is absolutely ridiculous. What is 36 weeks? Almost an entire school year?
     
  14. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,094
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jan 5, 2012

    OSEP letters may be compelling, but I'm not sure they are going to convince a judge to bypass a state law. This isn't a district issue, this is statewide. The letter might aid in a drive to get the law changed down the road, but I doubt it would be compelling enough for a judge is going to rule against an existing state law.

    I understand your POV and it sounds like waterfall shares your level of frustration and disagreement with the system and is doing all she can to work within that system until it changes for the better.
     
  15. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Messages:
    5,906
    Likes Received:
    776

    Jan 6, 2012

    Exactly...you have to be logical here. You can't just go sueing the state because you feel something is taking too long. Yes, I do get frustrated with the policy because the RtI kids take just as much time/energy yet don't "count", but really for the kid it makes absolutely no difference. Our state doesn't let us modify either, so being on an IEP doesn't allow you to receive modifications. Any gen ed student can receive accommodations, even on state tests, so it doesn't make a difference there either. Our tier 3 interventions are basically the same as sped interventions, and the student has specific "RtI goals" that they're working on just like IEP goals. Essentially the only difference is that on the IEP they legally "count" as part of my caseload and we get funding for them. Since we have students move around the district a lot it's also nice to have something binding that follows them. Other than that though, there's no difference.
     
  16. bros

    bros Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
    Messages:
    4,105
    Likes Received:
    68

    Jan 6, 2012

    Yeah. It is a shame that more parents aren't informed of their rights, don't care about their child's education, or fail to read the information they are given, or whatever other possibility you can think of.

    With the OSEP letters, in a Due Process hearing, a judge may rule in favor of the parents based on an OSEP letter, which could lead to state regulations being changed, provided that other states don't have the kind of....malleable hearing officers that NJ can have on occasion (Mostly the older hearing officers, the ones who are past retirement age)
     
  17. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,094
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jan 6, 2012

    The job of a judge is to follow the law, not change it. That is done through your state senators, representatives and governor. So, again, I can't really see a Colorado judge ruling against a state law based on a letter from any organization. (S)he might record their feelings towards the burdensome nature of the law, but in the end, their job is to rule according to the law(s) on the books at that time.

    Nobody is saying the situation is fair or right. Just saying a letter from the OSEP (or any other organization) may not have the impact you expect.
     
  18. bros

    bros Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
    Messages:
    4,105
    Likes Received:
    68

    Jan 7, 2012

    OSEP is part of the federal DoE. In a Due Process case, it would, as always, depend on the evidence. And if the parents submitted the OSEP letter to the school, that may show to the judge that the parents tried their hardest (as sometimes, DP hearings can get rather nasty, and school employees are coached to all-but lie at times) to get what their child needed. Anyway, this is a nonissue, as in waterfall's school, if a student is undergoing RTI and the parent requests an evaluation they would do it.

    Hopefully in the next reauthorization of IDEA, they add it in officially so that it is in the law that evaluations can be performed concurrently with RTI

    and maybe they'll actually define how to do RTI
     
  19. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Messages:
    7,946
    Likes Received:
    3

    Jan 7, 2012

    Well, given your lack of planning and LUNCH :eek: opportunities, I would not feel guilty doing what you are currently doing.

    However, we are constantly told in the district that special education teachers should not just enter the room and work with special education students...that there shouldn't be a divide. As a regular classroom teacher I shouldn't have "my regular" students, just as the special education teacher shouldn't have "her special needs" students. Again, that is what has been impressed upon us. So, you would be expected to be in the classroom at my school. (I say that, but our special education services are A TOTAL DISASTER, so...take that for what you will.)

    Of course, what stands out most is that this teacher doesn't want special education students in her class. What the heck?!
     
  20. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Messages:
    5,906
    Likes Received:
    776

    Jan 7, 2012

    I agree that should be the situation in a school that uses a co-teacing model. I've worked in co-teaching situations before and would definitely agree that the two teachers need to approach the situation as the entire class being "our students" and not "yours" and "mine." My school isn't a co-teaching school. We generally have a pull out model, so I don't teach gen ed students. I'm only pushing in for this student because her IEP was written elsewhere and I have to follow it. I'm the only person for the entire elementary school and I have kids in 13 different classrooms, so even if I wanted to it would be impossible for me to do a typical co-teaching model where I really tried to make myself a part of that classroom and planned lessons with the teacher and things like that.

    This teacher is old enough to remember the times when all special ed students were placed in self-contained classes no matter what the disability was. She never adjusted to these students being in her classroom. She thinks it's "not her job" to "deal with" these students. I'm really not sure what my admin was thinking when they placed this student in her classroom. The other K teacher taught another grade level last year and I had several students in her class then. She was great to work with.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. IClilpeopleu2*,
  2. Ima Teacher
Total: 431 (members: 3, guests: 403, robots: 25)
test