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?

  1. Yes

    7.1%
  2. No

    92.9%
  1. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Devotee

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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

    Tired Teacher Devotee

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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

    Tired Teacher Devotee

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    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 Devotee

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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

    whizkid Habitué

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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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    Feb 10, 2020

    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

    Tired Teacher Devotee

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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

    Tired Teacher Devotee

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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

    Tired Teacher Devotee

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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 Devotee

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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

    Tired Teacher Devotee

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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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    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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  24. Tired Teacher

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    I am thinking they must have just quit using behavior schools for kids like this in elementary. I know they used to have 1. I think the schools may have been too expensive. It is a shame when these bizarre behaviors traumatize other kids.
     
  25. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Very few of the bizarre behavioral problems that we observe these days are actually caused by mental illness. Most are caused by a combination of trauma (a very overused term) and by the fact that no one teaches children impulse control or accountability anymore. Parents certainly don't teach it anymore. They give-in to their children so they don't have to deal with the unpleasant nature of "parenting." Once the do this, it spirals out of control, and they just pretend they don't even see it, as a survival mechanism. When it gets this out-of-hand at home, no teacher can step in and "fix it" because every afternoon, when the child returns home, it goes right back to "do what ever you want, it is fine." Parents try to be their child's friend instead of a parent. Children can't or don't control their impulses because they've never been taught to do so. Children repeat these behaviors because the consequences for these behaviors is not important to them. These behaviors are re-enforced by parents who ignore these behaviors, or justify them, or shift blame to others for their child's unmanageable behavior. The consequences are insignificant to them. Therefore, the behavior is re-enforced rather than extinguished.

    When a child curses at the teacher and the only thing that happens is he or she is made to "say sorry" (even though it is obvious they don't mean it) -- the consequence is insignificant to them. When a child throws a chair or a desk at another student or at the teacher, and the are removed from the room for about an hour, made to "say sorry," and then are returned to that classroom, and the students who had a chair or desk thrown at them are chastised to be understanding and forgiving, then the consequence is not sufficient. The other students learn that, and then when they become frustrated, they have no reason not to control their impulses. Why not scream, yell, hit, and destroy? Nothing bad happens when you do.

    When a student causes a "room clear" and gets to spend 15 minutes running around the empty room while the entire class is held hostage in the hallway, waiting on the removal team -- and the child gets to throw chairs and desks, rip up the bulletin board, the anchor charts, other student's work -- gets to dump things on the floor, break computers, learning games, and other students' possessions, and then the child who was finally removed is brought back an hour later and silently returned to his or her seat, it sends a firm message to everyone. The message is "impulse control is not required here. Feel free to behave any way you want, because no important consequence will happen to you if you do."

    Put four or five children with no impulse control in a classroom, add the fact that no important consequences will occur in response because administrators raises and school ratings depend on them having low suspension rates, and you have the chaos that is now our educational system. How can any teacher teach under this system?

    We are raising an entire generation of children who have no impulse control, whose parents tolerate horrible behavior in the name of being their child's friend, children who feel entitled to do anything they want whenever they want, and who truly believe nothing is their fault because their parents are so busy (and vocally) blaming everybody else for their lack of parenting.
     
  26. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Devotee

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    Feb 27, 2020

    Rain, I have had this thought exactly about 1 of our school's worst classroom destroyers.. His mom quietly blames others, in front of the kid. ( A sibling told me, innocently.) Then Mom is passive aggressive to the teacher.
    I have wondered too if the meds are not making him even more bizarre. The kid lacks impulse control when he decides to and goes bezerk. ( So it is not totally impulse control for him although that is why his flip outs are excused - a part of his disability.) I have never thought he had a disability.
    I think though he gets in a rage like a 2 yr old once he decides to flip out if people do not give him what he wants. He will ramp it up as high as he feels the need to. Our Sped Dept tries to appease him by giving in to stop the craziness and no consequences are allowed to happen w/out admin approval. Very little if anything is allowed. He doesn't even bother apologizing anymore.
    A couple of yrs ago, I observed him many times, accessing the situation. If he had the opportunity to do certain things, he'd flip. Other times, I could see the wheels spinning in his head. He knew there was no way his mom would come to school to rescue him. (She was out of town.) He remembered if something fun was going to take place shortly. He'd get it together and carry on as normal.
    There were other pay offs too that I noticed available when he decided to flip out.
    I really wonder if this is all over the US or just in certain pockets. I have some younger relatives who have really well behaved young kids. They all stayed here for 2 weeks, so the kids truly were kids who are going to be productive members of society. I still see some in our school too who are like them. I am so glad not to be teaching this yr.
     
  27. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Feb 27, 2020

    I recently read Balance and Barefoot. It's written by and from the perspective of an occupational therapist, and so much of what was said had me nodding in agreement. While she didn't dismiss the case of real and legitimate physical/emotional/mental differences, she and her colleagues are seeing similar behavior play out in "normal" kids who really shouldn't be having these problems.

    A big part of her intent is saying kids desperately need to play outside more, and some of this breaks down into the idea that kids are not given true limits or more importantly the opportunity to experience true limits.
     
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  28. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Devotee

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    Feb 28, 2020

    Lack of limits definitely plays a part in it!
    I rd awhile back about a study done on kids w/ a certain disorder. They put them on a farm. Structured everything. From the time you eat, sleep, do active chores, counseling, have structured recreation, and school. Also, all foods they fed them were natural.
    Consequences for infractions of rules were often natural consequences, but the kids knew the limits and what would happen if they broke rules. Follow up was consistent. I wish I could find the study now to show you, but kids were taken off of their meds and by the end of about 3 months, they were all showing huge improvements. Many were just basic energetic boys who needed physical activity and structure.
    Many families sadly lack that and when schools lack it too, the problem gets worse.
     
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