Switching from Sped to Gen Ed

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by ZoomZoomZOOM, Dec 22, 2020.

  1. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

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    Dec 22, 2020

    First of all, HELLO A-Z! LTNS! I actually found a very old thread of mine from March 2010 when I was doing an old blog post search. So cool to be back! Love an old school forum! Facebook is so public anymore and sometimes you need answers without anyone knowing who you are. ;-)

    Anyway - - I've been teaching sped now for 13 years in the same district. I'd always had qualms about our sped department and the way we're treated by peers, etc. But this year really takes the cake. I teach K-2 self-contained - this my 10th year in this position. I find myself very angry this year and it's really come to a head. It started when teachers were given a choice between teaching remote or hybrid. I chose hybrid. The 3-5 teacher in our building chose remote. So the only thing our sped dept could come up with - was that I teach K-5 hybrid.

    Long story short - it's been an extremely stressful year for me for a lot of different reasons. At one point, I was actually ready to quit my job. A job that I loved. Just quit. I was so absolutely frustrated - - not with my building - but with the sped department for putting me in this position. I was angry because no gen ed teacher would ever be expected to teach that many grade levels in our district. I'm just so bitter you guys... You have no idea. (Heck, maybe you do. I'm kind of preaching to the choir here, aren't I?)

    Anyway, I checked with our state board of education and took the first steps to get my gen ed endorsement. I'm not saying that gen ed is "easier" than sped. But I really do feel like they get the royal treatment comparatively and I just really want a piece of that pie. Does that make sense? Would I miss my kids? Yes. But as I see it, I would still have kiddos in gen ed that would need help and I can give that to them. And guys.... can you even imagine just having your kids for one year? And teaching one set of curriculum? And having a TEAM to PLAN with? And CURRICULUM GUIDES!?? I just really want to try it.

    What I'm worried about - is that they won't let me move...

    Wondering what your thoughts are. Thanks. :)
     
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  3. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Connoisseur

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    Dec 22, 2020

    I think you'd love regular ed. There is usually a comradery between groups of teachers that SPED teachers do not get. If the teachers there plan together, you will have a team. K-5 hybrid sounds like a nightmare!
    You will probably have kids on all levels in a regular classroom too unless your district groups kids according to ability. In 3rd grade, I have had kids who are nonreaders spanning to HS reading levels in the same year.
    I know there are some places where teachers are expected to teach all kids on the same level. It is not like that here. It would frustrate me if someone told me I had to teach kids all at the same level. I know it is hard to get out of SPED, but if you could get a sped job offer from somewhere else and you get along well with admin, you could just tell them, " I really want to stay at this school/district, but I only will if you put me in general ed." Best of luck!
     
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  4. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Dec 22, 2020

    It's always worth a shot. I made that move once and all of the pros you mention were absolutely true for me, and I could relate to a whole lot of what you wrote. I actually loved teaching gen ed, but unfortunately the school/district I got a job in was a dumpster fire. That's one thing to be wary of- they saw having a sped teacher in the regular classroom as a huge advantage, because SO MANY of the "gen ed" kids had significant needs. Now when I say dumpster fire, I'm not just saying that because the kids were so high needs. The leadership was AWFUL from my P all the way up to the district people. I knew what I was getting into with the student population; I didn't know about all of the other horrible factors. I had to take another sped job to get out.

    One thing that was much more stressful in gen ed was state testing pressure. I don't know if it's like this in your school, but I know in mine, self-contained is completely under the radar as far as state testing and data expectations in general. Our self-contained program is an ASD unit. Don't get me wrong, that teacher deals with a whole lot of things the other teachers don't, and there are obviously different stressors, but that's one big thing she really doesn't have to worry about, and it's a HUGE deal for everyone else. I've also only taught in low SES schools which makes it much more difficult. Teaching gen ed in a school where most kids do well is a highly different experience, I imagine.

    Not to burst your bubble, but with 13 years in you're in a much tougher place than I was. I was a 3rd year teacher when I moved. The sweet spot that everyone wants to hire- not a total newb, but also not "set in my ways" and still very cheap to hire. There is certainly no harm in trying, but IME it's very hard to move within the same district, especially as a self-contained teacher because you're in an even harder to fill position. When gen ed applicants are a dime a dozen and they like you in sped, why create a headache for themselves of trying to fill that position if they let you out of it?

    My advice would be to apply like crazy to gen ed positions in other districts. If your school starts receiving reference calls, they may get a bit more nervous and if they really like you, they may reconsider moving your position to keep you. Perhaps you can sweeten the deal by offering to act as an informal resource to whoever takes your position. Going to another district with 13 years in would be challenging around here. One, you're more expensive, and two, principals want newbie teachers they can "mold," not veterans coming in with their own ideas. Although, since this would be a totally different job for you, you may be able to play up the "new" thing a bit in interviews. Around here, most districts also only pay you for 5-8 years of experience max as a new hire, even if you come in with more, so you'd be looking at a pay cut. I'm not sure if that's true everywhere, but something to look into for sure. Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2021
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  5. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

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    Jan 3, 2021

    Very good points, both of you. Thank you for your input. While I was aware of the politics of switching positions within my own district, I hadn't really considered moving outside as an issue, such has getting a pay cut or principals preferring newer teachers. I will probably try to stay in my district if possible. I know that if there were a gen ed opening within my own school, my P would probably (hopefully!??) prefer to keep me on rather than hire out since she knows my work ethic. The chances of that happening are slim but who knows, right?
     
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  6. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Connoisseur

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    Jan 4, 2021

    If you are pretty sure of this, you could let the P know you want the next general ed opening. It might be a good idea to see if you can't make a deal. Like : Even if it is another yr in SPED, there might be an opening the next. He knows your work ethic and you are known. I had a P promise me something once: if I put up w/ a bunch of crap 1 yr, the next yr, he'd give me a much better job. I did not know if I could trust him, but he came through! :)
     
  7. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

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    Jan 4, 2021

    Hmm... that's actually not a bad idea. Thank you!
     

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