Wanting to QUIT!

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by LoveToLaugh25, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. LoveToLaugh25

    LoveToLaugh25 New Member

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    Nov 9, 2010

    HELP!
    I am very torn on what to do. I don't want to say I HATE my job but at the same time I cant see doing it for the next 35 years. I am a first year teacher in a severe/profound classroom setting. I have 7 kids grades k-5, 3 of which can be very violent. I don't feel like the behaviors have been addressed by the administration like they should. When
    I got my first check I wanted to cry! I feel like I absolutely do not get paid anywhere near what im worth. I do not get a lunch or a plan because my kids are so involved. I have 2 amazing aids. I ask for technology and the administration doesn't want it in my class because of behavior some of the kids exhibit. I have monitor IEP’s that I have no time to do when my class is there. Once my kids leave, because I don't get a plan or lunch I technically should be done for the day. Sped Ed teachers around me have aids so they can write IEP’s in class, go to meetings, all while their children are still being taught. If I leave chaos erupts. Is seems insane to get paid so little to be kicked, scratched, bit, and cussed at on a daily bases and not be able to do anything about it. Whats scares me the most is I love this population of people yet this bad experience is sucking my joy out of it! I don't know what to do..... stay?!?!?!?! go?!?!?!?! Does it get better?!?!?
     
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  3. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Nov 9, 2010

    Well, I am not a spec. ed teacher so I can't really say, and I have always felt that teaching spec. ed must be a tough, tough, job. I would not be able to do it. But, I suggest not giving up. Not yet. This is just your first year, so perhaps things will get better. Hopefully you will get some responses from some spec. ed. teachers here.
     
  4. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Nov 9, 2010

    I does get better! First, I would talk with your union. My old school district gave us a choice of losing lunch or leaving early. But again, it was a choice. You are guaranteed the same plan periods as all the other teachers and might need your union to speak up for you! It's not really fair because you are a first year.

    Administrators often don't know how to help with this population of students. For your severe behavior students, write out a plan with your administration or social worker that everyone can live with. Maybe even call the parents in for an IEP meeting. Then stick with the plan!

    About pay, double check with your union about the current rate. I know that there was a teacher in my district receiving the assistant pay by an error in payroll. Not to say this is what it is, but something to look into!
     
  5. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    Nov 10, 2010

    Hang in there! It DOES get better! The first year sucks so bad!
    Once you get the hang of things, your life will not seem like it is spiraling out of control!

    One of the things you MUST do is speak up about the planning period. If other teachers have planning periods in their contracts and in their regular school days, you should too. I know not everywhere has a "union" - but the union would be who you should talk to if you have one. If you don't, ask your payroll office for a copy of your contract. You can review it and find the part about planning periods. Every teacher deserves one, even special education teachers.

    Behaviors- Do you have a behavior specialist that you could get in contact with? Do you have a set/structured day each day? A lot of times kids engage in maladaptive and aggressive behaviors when the day is unstructured, unscheduled, or with too many transitions. Do you have a visual schedule in place for each student? Are the students who are aggressive able to communicate? If they do not have functional communication systems, they are more likely to act out. Remember, Behavior IS Communication. They're trying to tell you something - even if they are verbal, there must be a reason behind the behavior.

    I can't really give you too many suggestions regarding the aggressive behavior besides stay consistent and don't loose your cool. If you gave some specifics about behaviors/functions, I could give you some more ideas.

    All I know is that we in the severe/profound world know that there aren't too many people out there who want to serve our population! So, all I can say is, HANG IN THERE and it DOES get better.

    You'll get your lesson planning routine going, you'll get some behavior modifications in place, you'll be fine.

    Seek out assistance on getting that prep time, though, because it's ultra important for your sanity. Same with lunch. It's in your contract. I know for a fact that everyone gets a lunch break.
     
  6. worrywart

    worrywart Companion

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    Nov 10, 2010

    You can do almost anything for a year (9 months).

    Hang in there and find something else for next year if you still don't like it in the spring!
     
  7. msnielsen

    msnielsen Rookie

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    Nov 12, 2010

    After working with kids with autism/behavior disorders/emotional disturbance, my strongest advice would be to include LOTS of reinforcement for ALL positive behaviors that you are trying to target.

    You can do individual behavior plans (with charts) for kids, where they work for incentives (10 minutes the computer, 5 skittles, 1 starburst, early recess, play with video game they bring from home..make sure they get to give input on what they want to work for) and you can also have a classroom-wide level system where move up / down 3 levels. (each level corresponds to a series of privileges, wiht the highest level including all privileges and field trips, and friday root beer and popcorn, the 2nd level including some of those, and the 1st level including none of those).

    kids with severe behaviors need lots of reinforcement for positive behavior. continual, constant reinforcment and acknowledgement of appropriate behavior.

    you can also put kids on a positive behavior support plan (targets the cause of the behavior, and is a systematic plan for reducing problem behavior)

    because im a new member, they wont let me type a link,

    good luck!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 13, 2010
  8. in_denial

    in_denial Rookie

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    Nov 12, 2010

    Get help from your administration?

    I say that your administration has no idea about the pain you are going through. I mean, they probably THINK they do, and don't want to think about it any more than that!

    I say write an email to a principal or vice principal asking if they could PLEASE watch your children for 30 minutes on one day, to allow you to observe a teacher that you feel has really great classroom management skills. (Actually, whatever excuse you find to leave your classroom will work!)

    Let your administrators be the ones to watch your class erupt. Maybe they will be more understanding of your need for a break after that (maybe they'll give you an aide part-time)! And if they don't, at least you would have gotten 30 minutes break! Also talk to the special ed teachers. If an aide can cover for them, beg THEM to watch your kids for 30 minutes a week while you "observe another teacher" or "work on an IEP" or even trade classes with them or whatever you decide to do to get a break. You are right that you need someone else to share this responsibility with -- find someone that will help you. Leave thank-you cards (heck, breakfast!) if you get someone who will!

    I say from the perspective of a mommy with 2 toddlers (and not an ED teacher, so sorry if I don't have an experienced voice here), also focus on figuring out a way to get 30 minutes break per day EVEN WHILE THE KIDS ARE THERE. You NEED a break. They will not benefit from having you leave or have a mental breakdown. So focus on figuring out something that will keep their attention for 15 minutes without your help twice a day (or perhaps I should say without much of your help) so you can work on your IEPs on the sidelines. I admit I don't know much about ED kids and how practical it is to find something that will engage them (especially with limited technology). Do they like to play with rice or water or clay? Could you even show them a short movie (if the administration frowns on that, phooey on them!)? Can you physically separate them in different areas of the classroom to give you a better chance at a few minutes peace? Letting them learn to self-regulate for 15 minutes would be a worthwhile skill, right? (Maybe it would help to give a loss of a privilege for disrupting the peace at quiet time?) And cleaning up afterwards from a messy activity would teach them responsibility too.

    Above all, keep asking questions and trying to find veteran teachers to help you. You have the hardest job in the school, I bet, but if you figure it out, you will be worth your weight in gold to all those other new teachers who are trying to figure it out. Good luck!

    AND, if you do end up not being able to find the support you need to hack it, please allow yourself to forgive yourself -- because you are trying with all your might, but without adequate support, you won't be able to handle these very difficult kids. So go get the support you need!!

     
  9. mymelody

    mymelody Rookie

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    Nov 13, 2010

    Hang in there

    Take one day off to rejuvinate. Don't take any work home. Treat yourself to a spa or stroll at a park and take time to smell the roses for a day. Come back to work and taking each step one at a time.
    Don't lose your cool! Believe me, I was on the same shoe on my first months of being a Special Ed. teacher.
     
  10. AspieTeacher

    AspieTeacher Comrade

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    Nov 13, 2010

    I worked in Autism Support for 7.5 Years

    Love,

    I wanted to give up the first time as well when I entered into a classroom that was totally unstructured. Do the students have a visual schedule that they can follow throughout the day? Do they have activity schedules that will help them focus on what they are supposed to do? Do they have structured activities which guide them? If you have the time, don't hesitate to leave a message in my private message box and I might be able to help you. This is my 11th year of teaching moderate-severe disabilities.
     
  11. Kate Change

    Kate Change Companion

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    Dec 6, 2010

    It's a tough population, but the first year is always the worst. For me, every year gets better after the break. I take some time off, some time to work and some time to reflect. I don't see myself teaching for another 35 years, but I do try to reflect on the good things to keep myself going. I hope you have the same experiences, it sounds like you're putting your heart and soul into this.
     
  12. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Dec 6, 2010

    How's it going? Are you still feeling overwhelmed... and has it gotten at least a tiny bit more bareable?

    My piece of advice is to find a way to chart the data that can be done briefly, while you're still working with the kids? I have data collection sheets made up and placed on clipboards. I use a different color of data sheet for each child... many of my kids have similar goals, so color-coding helps me to stay sane with it... it can be as simple as making a checkmark every time they do/don't do whatever the targeted behavior is.

    Even if you don't have time to work on the actual IEPs during school hours, you can at least collect the data. Ithougth you said you have some really good TAs... they can take data, too. I often ask mine to keep an eye on ___ for (behavior)... keep track of how many times you need to ask Timmy to ___, or watch him while he's washing hands and make a check for each step he follows correctly. Often my TAs see things I miss, and it's awesome to have another set of eyes! :)
     
  13. CreativeMind

    CreativeMind Rookie

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    Dec 9, 2010

    Know that you can get another special education job very easily. Stick out this school year and try to make improvements in your situation. If you still do not receive any support from admins then go somewhere else! You will have a very good idea of what questions to bring up in the interview process, and will likely find a position that is a better fit.
     
  14. nibys

    nibys Rookie

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    Jan 3, 2011

    Giving up

    What's ironic in SPED is that not all, but most SPED teachers that I have talked to have had a 1st year that you are describing. While this is true I found that very few of my SPED peers would give any kind of meaningful support to me. The schools unofficial motto was, "Everyman for Himself". During this time I heard an experienced SPED teacher say, "don't change your career path until you are a master of what you do." If at that time still want out, then you probably should find something else. Changing where I teach, and the grade of students I teach made a huge difference for me. Good luck.
     

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