Where you went to U, did you have many

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Tired Teacher, Feb 8, 2020.

?

Did your U prepare you for the types of behaviors you are dealing with teaching?

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  1. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Habitué

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    Feb 8, 2020

    classes on teaching special needs students?
    I only had 1 class required to become a general ed teacher a long time ago.
    Then about 7 yrs ago, I started taking a few courses out of curiosity.
    Are gen ed students given more training nowadays in U's?
    Last yr, over 1/2 of my students were diagnosed w/ extreme disorders.
    Most of my career, I did not even know students like this existed. I just didn't see kids with some of the issues I see now.
    I realized that I did not go to school to be a special ed teacher. I liked to see kids learn and have fun. Kids who were slower learners were not behavior problems usually. I never had a problem with these types of kids.
    I liked discipline in the schools. As opposed to kids spitting, cussing, hitting, and throwing things w/ no consequences....Now because of the disability, it is allowed and everyone (admin) is afraid of getting sued if they discipline ( consequence) the student.. A regular ed teacher here and now, needs to be a special ed teacher too.( Don't worry! I am not "teaching" now.)
    It seems like classroom teachers are now being asked to do what special ed teachers used to do with little support in many places. I am sure it is different in different places, but I think we are going to need a whole new breed of teachers in the future if this trend continues. I wonder if the U's are truthful with students about what they are facing or if the future teachers "see" it when they student teach.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2020
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  3. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    I took my elementary ed certification classes in 2001. They never once mentioned special needs children, the special ed program, IEPs or 504s. Not a single word.
    I was totally unprepared by my certification program for anything having to do with special needs students.

    However, before I became an elementary school teacher, I was actually a peer counselor for people with disabilities (adults.) So I was fortunate that I was very knowledgeable about physical and mental disabilities -- with the exception of autism and selective mutism. I learned about autism "by fire" when I had an undiagnosed student with autism in my 3rd grade class. His parents were in extreme denial and kept refusing any services or testing, even though it was so significant that the child was only allowed to stay at school for half a day (plus 5 minutes) so he could get credit for having attended. They continued to refuse testing for several years, until he was finally expelled from school.

    Then, having no other choice (they were very low income, so there weren't any other options) the agreed. Of course, the testing showed clearly that he had autism, and the school district paid to send him to a special education program, but I always kept thinking -- how much better off he would have been if his parents had listened to us when he was much younger. Things might have been very different for him. I understand he is now in a residential program.

    I learned what an IEP was the first time I had a student with one. I'd never even heard of it before. Can you imagine that?

    I guess part of it was that I did my student teaching and first few years of teaching in a public housing project school. These kids had nothing. Most of their parents had done very poorly in school, so they just accepted that as normal. These kids were taught to be rough and tough so they could survive. Misbehavior and other behavior problems were so common place.

    Also, the school district I worked for at that time was very concerned about the number of African-American students (especially boys) who were referred for special services or testing. We were told point blank not to recommend black male students for testing or special services because it was "racist." So instead, the district failed to meet the needs of those black students who really did need special services or testing. In our public housing project school, only 1 student was not African--American, so we weren't allowed to suggest testing or services.

    I know that our certification program back in the early 2000s completely failed to prepare us for the world of special needs children. We learned by researching, and trial and error, and talking to special ed teachers who knew more about it. If you became knowledgeable on the subject, and tried to be helpful to ALL students, you ended up like me -- recruited to be the "inclusion" teacher. I ended up working for the autism inclusion program at another school. I loved it.

    It used to be that schools had one "inclusion classroom" per grade level, and all the kids with special needs were grouped into that classroom -- but then there became so many special needs students, that they wouldn't all fit in one classroom, and there were just too many special needs students, as opposed to "general ed" students, and schools started getting sued over it. Now basically, in elementary school, every single classroom has special needs students, so every teacher should know how to deal with it.

    But they don't. Nobody has ever taught me anything about being the general ed teacher for special needs students. I was never actually taught how to read an IEP, or what the legal implications where. I was never taught how to teach students with learning disabilities, or with behavior disorders.

    Sad, isn't it?
     
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  4. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Feb 8, 2020

    For secondary ed, just one class. Most took it online so just a bunch of busy work. The book dealt with different laws passed over time. We also had to watch some movies and write about them.
     
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  5. Tired Teacher

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    Wow! If I had just guessed, I'd have assumed U's had changed a bit. I went to U for gen ed in the 80's. I guess 2000 was 20 yrs ago, though! Makes me feel old...lol I never taught where there was an inclusion classroom.
    My 1st school was strict and behavior problems were dealt w/ asap. Sometimes harsher than I even believed in....I think kids who had major problems were in a different wing, on maybe even different schedule. I am not sure. Also, they had an alternative school for severe behavior problems.
    Then when I moved here, they had a special school for kids who needed to be taught behaviors if they would disrupt learning. I think they've either closed it, or made it impossible for elementary kids to go there now. So they put kids who will disrupt everyone else's learning in a gen ed classes now. It can get pretty crazy having to clear rooms. How anyone ever thought this was a good idea is beyond me.
    I have heard about the quotas on kids who are minorities which makes it sad for a kid who grows up in a high minority school. It seems like that may have started w/ good intentions on someone's part who knew nothing about schools and did not think it through.
    Wow! Learning by "fire" is the tough way, but ya do learn from it! It is good you found a population to work with that you liked and did well w/.
     
  6. Tired Teacher

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    Feb 8, 2020

    Same here....I remember learning about Down's Syndrome and that is about it.
     
  7. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Feb 8, 2020

    My first education course was my junior year of college, which was also the same time that the state education system was completely revamped. All I got about special needs students was “special needs students learn to the same level of proficiency as their peers when provided support”.

    Of course, at that time most of the special education classes were self contained, too. It was rare for a student with an IEP to be in a mainstreamed classroom. Now we have zero self-contained classes.

    My education classes in general were minimal since I was in secondary education and focused mostly on subject matter.
     
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  8. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I did a dual elementary/special ed major and only had 3 extra classes for the special ed piece. Two of them were only 2 credit classes (our others were 4 credits). One was about secondary special ed where we spent most of our time in a field placement (since the sped license was technically K-12). I was placed in a middle school co-taught classroom where there wasn't a whole lot of teaching going on, to be honest. It was an ELA class and they spent TONS and TONS of time having the kids silent read. Sometimes they'd work on a writing project or take them to the library. Another was about the RtI process and various laws and the last one was about "collaboration" since "co-teaching" was all the rage at the time. I remember hearing a bit about accommodations you could make for kids with Autism. Nothing about behavior disorders. We did a full year student teaching placement, but it was mostly gen ed. I spent about 6 weeks in the sped placement, and it was a higher SES school where TBH the kids they identified wouldn't even be on the radar in any of the schools I've since actually worked in. It was "full inclusion" and the sped teacher wasn't allowed to do much. I graduated in 2010.

    I never wrote an IEP or attended an IEP meeting prior to graduating. The school I did my ST in did all of their meetings at the end of the year, about a month after I'd graduated. As part of our program we looked at maybe 1-2 IEPs. I felt very unprepared to teach sped but graduated into a horrific job market and that was the only position I could get. I remember being terrified that the school would figure out I had no idea what I was doing. I at least was lucky to get an elementary mild/mod position. Others had to go to severe needs which we had NO preparation for.

    I ended up in another state and was able to play that card as the reason I didn't know any of the paperwork ("This is different from how we do things in my home state"). I learned to write IEPs by reading ones completed by others. I asked the SLP to observe her speech only IEP meetings so I had an idea of how one should run. I was also the only sped teacher in my first position so no one but the SLP was there to help me. I googled a lot of things and asked questions on forums such as this one. Thankfully the gen ed portion of my undergrad had us doing tons of field experiences/actual teaching, so I was strong on that piece. Ironically I was constantly praised for being "so knowledgeable" in my first job. I wasn't- but I was wiling to take the time to find things out and use my resources. Over the years I've seen enough "weird situations" that I now have a lot of background knowledge when these things come up.

    Contrary to popular belief, there is no special/magical/hidden instructional strategy that one uses to teach special ed students. I can't believe the number of teachers who believe this- or think that "sped testing" tells you exactly what's "wrong" with the child and how to fix it. You break down content, meet them where they're at, and provide a lot of direct instruction and many exposures to the same skill. There is no "magic strategy" college class that you're missing.
     
  9. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Habitué

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    Yep, I used to think that way about a magical counseling wand that could make lives better and was so disappointed to find there was no such thing. Each kid and situation is different. Same with teaching.... I just had no idea how extreme some kids could be and did not have to start clearing rooms and coping w/ so much craziness until they did away w/ self contained programs.
    I had never dealt with kids who hit, spit, kicked, screamed, and ran before. I never wanted to be a special ed teacher, but they have made it a part of the job description here nowadays.
    I don't even remember hearing Autism until I went to do my MA many yrs later and it was touched on, but I'd never seen the extreme end of it.
    Looking back, I did know a couple of people in elementary school who would have fit w/ Asperger's even though they don't call it that now. They were not violent or disruptive......just a bit different. Both did well academically, but socially they had a hard time.
    It is good you were able to figure it out. :) My mom used to always say, " Fake it til you make it! "
    Yeah, those " behavioral disorders" they seem to fail to mention a lot. Part of me wonders if we always had such a high number of them, but they were hidden away or has something happened/ changed to greatly increase their numbers.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2020
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  10. whizkid

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    Nope, nope, and nope.
     
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  11. Bibliophile

    Bibliophile Companion

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    Feb 9, 2020

    NO!

    The funny thing though that helped me the most wasnt part of my classes per se-it was an "unusual" student teaching experience. I was working in a private school and did most of my student teaching there but in my state a portion of it MUST be done in a public school with "diverse populations". The only way for me to get my hours in was to do part of my student teaching in the summer during sped extended school year so I did a month of half days in a moderate to severe autism class. That was the most useful experience I had student teaching.

    But, of course as we get more and more and more students more severely effected by autism being rostered to gen ed classes and more and more and students with ODD (oppositional defiance disorder), DMDD (disruptive mood disregulation disorder) and IED (intermittent explosive disorder) I also find that I need more training. Its one thing to have 1 kid in gen ed with this issue-its quite another to have several. I just signed up for more online classes about teaching kids with disruptive behavior disorders and high functioning autism to help give me more tools because yeah, we were not adequately prepared for this in most programs.

    If you are interested PM me for a link to information (not sure if I should post here since it might be considered advertising)
     
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  12. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I had a whole class on SPED, and on behavior management. However, it was all very surface level and basic. That rings true for nearly every training, though - they all tout relationships, praise, and sticker charts, but none of that helps much when you’re dealing with serious emotional disturbances. Well, they help, but they do not solve the problem. And teachers are often left hanging when those basics don’t work out.
     
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  13. Lisabobisa

    Lisabobisa Companion

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    The majority of my education classes were specifically special education classes. We had classes specifically targeting different disabilities (intellectual, physical, learning, behavioral, but surprisingly not autism spectrum disorders) and a class specifically on reading evaluations and reading/writing IEPs.

    But the best way to learn about students with special needs is to teach students with special needs. The most helpful experiences for me were the two summers I spent working at a summer camp for individuals with special needs. I saw it ALL there, and learned more in those two summers than my 4 years of college combined.
     
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  14. TeacherNY

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    Nope not until I went to get my MS in Special Ed.
     
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  15. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I had a few courses back in the early 2000s about classroom management and special education--but it was really just so... academic, and theoretical. Very little was practical. I learned about a host of special needs, but not how to teach them.
     
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  16. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    During my undergrad I had one class called "Exceptional Children" that had to do with special education and Gifted education but I don't remember it being too useful.
     
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  17. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    My age is going to show. When I received my initial degree in the 70's, the law requiring public school education for special needs children had just been passed and schools were given three years to comply. So, no, we didn't receive any education for those students. We just winged it as best we could.
     
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  18. Tired Teacher

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    All of a sudden, these bizarre kids started showing up in our classrooms. Most are from big families that moved here and others followed. Many were "running away" from problems and others came for financial reasons. We had a couple of good gene pools here for a long time.
    Thank you for the offer to share resources, but last year "did me in." I am just going to retire early and avoid the next class filled w/ bizarre behaviors that I'd get next yr if I stayed. I have heard of the explosive disorder and dealt it a couple of yrs ago. ( Along w/ mood disorders, ODD, ADD, RAD.)
    I never wanted to be a special ed teacher or I'd have gone to school for it. Around here, teachers have all become sped teachers in many ways. I liked teaching kids who were normal, gifted, or below grade level, but I am not into crowd control, or a class of kids in 4th grade that behave so crazy that they never learned to read.. :)
     
  19. Tired Teacher

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    OMGoodness! After the class I had a couple of yrs ago....the words "sticker charts + Bips" make me just shake my head. Our sped teacher would try to get us to give kids a prize every 5 minutes they did not hit, kick, or spit! lol OK I admit that is a bit of an exaggeration, but enough for me.
     
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  20. Tired Teacher

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    That is very true. I just do not have the interest. I know it sounds bad, but I was done last year.
     
  21. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Habitué

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    I am thinking about hooking up w/ a local U that does courses online. I want to use case studies to inform some of the younger people what they could be facing! :)
     
  22. Tired Teacher

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    Dated..I know...lol I was in the 80's. Even though the laws changed, I did not see a great change for many years. We'd have kids with learning disabilities, but not these behavioral problems that they are maybe putting in regular ed until fairly recently. I saw a great video where Oregon teachers talk about how bad "clearing rooms" had become there.
     
  23. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Feb 18, 2020 at 12:53 PM

    I don't know if there is any dispassionate data on the subject, but it really seems that way and I've heard it from many, many teachers.

    It's not your spectrum of learning disabilities, it is, to use your earlier words, the extremely bizarre behaviors that are growing.
     
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