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Fear & Loathing in Special Education

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So This Proctologist Walks Into an IEP Meeting and...

Posted 09-20-2011 at 04:14 PM by Speced9

When I considered taking a resource position, I made my lists of PROS and CONS. The PROS won by a landslide, which must have greatly upset the items on the CONS list. So far this year, those little CONS have been UBER CONS (guess I better copyright that phrase now). So, you ask, what has been the worst UBER CON© to date? THE PSUEDO ADMINISTRATOR (PA) in our midst.

Yes, you guessed correctly. The PA does get the PSUEDO LOBOTOMY like the authentic administrator (TPTB). How else would they think they are administration to begin with? My PA is our special education case manager (SECM). Let me give you a little background on the SECM. First off, it's no coincidence that SECM is only four letters away from the word SPECULUM. Both can be a pain in my ass and seem to open me up for all kinds hideous experiences. To make matters worse, my SECM is a former administrator and thinks that the power is still with them. I see it differently. To me, our SECM is like mall security. They may dress and act like the police, but deep down inside you know that they must have either failed the academy entrance exam, or did something stupid at some point and got kicked out of the Officers' Club. Regardless, the fact remains that our SECM is a teacher like the rest of us- same pay scale, same union, no difference.

Here's the problem with our SECM though. First and foremost, our SECM is not kid friendly. By this I mean that our SECM has no qualms whatsoever about stealing instructional minutes out of the little hands of the children we serve. He/She also avoids contact with our little cherubs for whatever reason. Needless to say, our SECM has literally walked away from many situations where the extra help was needed.

Secondly, our SECM, being a former member of TPTB, is still hungry with the power. It's comical to me that he/she considers my failure to comply as insubordination. Someone needs to explain that I am not a subordinate, and without subordinates there can be no insubordination.

My troubles this year are centered around the internal conflict I feel when the SECM schedules meetings smack dab in the middle of instructional time. The SECM loves meetings, and thinks everyone should be at them. No, it doesn't matter if the child's on my caseload or not, I should be there. Supposedly, my valuable input is always needed. Between my principal demanding that resource personnel help out with DIBELS benchmarking, and SECM's meetings that don't apply to me, some of my kiddos have literally lost HOURS of instructional time with me. It's freakin' Day 16 into the school year for crying out loud!

So, that's when I started speaking up. I made sure to bring up the subject in front of my principal and the SECM between meetings I didn't need to attend last week. I was very professional about my views and asked that my professional judgement be taken into account as to whether I should have to attend ALL meetings. Personally, I thought it went well. My principal was on the side of my viewpoint, and the SECM didn't say a word. Now, before you start saying that I should attend these meetings based on my possible involvement in the future, let me set you straight on the subject of one of these meetings. It was a follow up on how potty training was going with a kindergarten girl who has no special education eligibility, nor is in line for a case study! Even if I were involved with her, it's not like they'd send the token male teacher in to help with a little girl's potty training. So, I spent an hour of my students' instructional time listening to how little Mary won't pee or poo-poo in the potty. Yeah, great use of my time.

Fast forward a week and a bevy non-applicable meetings were scheduled again. Per my conversation one week earlier, I emailed my principal and outlined which meetings I would be attending. I was pretty darn happy. I took a day of meetings and turned it into a day of teaching except for one meeting on a student of my own. My pride didn't last long. Before I knew it, a P, a U, another U, and an L had reentered the SECM initials and became a pain in my ass again. I was told that my presence was EXPECTED and that at no time had "professional judgement" over whether or not to attend had been discussed the previous week. As a matter of fact, I was accused of "telling everyone what I was going to do" in an unprofessional manner. Hmmmm….funny. I remember the conversation differently. Maybe the SECM was daydreaming about how to stay away from students during the conversation?

The kicker was that the SECM decided to also CC my original email and subsequent SECM reply to everyone in the special education department. This isn't a new trick. It was done to me previously when I refused to come in during Winter Break and write up an invitation to a meeting I didn't schedule in the first place, but that's another blog post all together.

So, at that point, I had had it. I immediately talked to my principal about the situation, and it was decided that we should mediate. All I can say is, this should be fun. Oh, and you'd be right if you guessed about the scheduling of said mediation. Yep. It was right smack dab in the middle of the instructional day.

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Total Comments 1


  1. Old Comment
    ajmm115's Avatar


    You need to push that speculum HIGHER! Er, I mean, you need to protest higher - to the parents of the students who were without a teacher at that time. It worked at our school.

    And ask the aforementioned admins to put it in writing - exactly why - and use these words - it is more important to be at a particular meeting than working with Johnny. Write the number of minutes you were at the meeting and then what you could have accomplished TEACHING during the same time.
    Posted 09-20-2011 at 05:04 PM by ajmm115 ajmm115 is offline

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