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NewCAteacher's Message:

I'm a SPED teacher with a certification in mild/moderate disabilities. I love working with struggling learners.

However, this summer I'm working with 5th and 6th grade children with moderate/severe (mostly severe) disabilities and I'm not loving it...at all. And I feel really bad that I don't enjoy it. These kids are sweet. I go to work and give them my all, but I just don't find it rewarding or interesting (I know that sounds selfish) to work with these kiddos. Most are nonverbal and wear diapers. They are happy and kind. But I feel sad for them and their families a great deal of the time, which causes me to feel guilty.

Is it wrong that I just don't enjoy this area of special ed? I so, so admire the people who want and love to work with these kiddos....

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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
Tounces 06-24-2016 02:55 AM

I agree, you're not bad. I worked with severe to profound my first year of college. I didn't care for it either. But I got some good advice while I was there. Talk to them even if they can't talk back to you. They hear you and can feel how you are around them. Use your skills to brighten up their day. They don't need your pity, just empathy. Can you sing? They'd like that. Make some cool calming bottles for them. They like to look at them. Bubbles outside might be fun. Flowers on their table for lunch? Maybe they never tried to smell one before. Try to make the most of your time while you are there and learn something new.

NewCAteacher 06-16-2016 11:39 AM

This is exactly how I feel. I do find it boring and tedious. These are some of the sweetest kids on earth, but I just don't feel engaged. We spend a lot of time in the caregiver role, more than the traditional teaching role. I love to care for people, but if I'm working as a teacher, I want to teach academic content

I'm also finding it pretty isolating, since the rest of the kids and adults on campus are a bit put off by these students. People are always friendly and polite, but there's definitely an aura of "stay away from those kids." I'm glad I had the experience though and at least now I'm aware that this is not my strong suit

Haley23 06-15-2016 09:22 PM

Definitely not wrong! I feel the same way, and that's why I don't teach ESY anymore. I'm a mild/moderate resource teacher during the year, but one year I taught ESY with a similar population that you described in your OP. I didn't like it all; I found it to be really boring and tedious and missed doing more "traditional instruction." My kids goals were all related to self-care or very basic life skills (like tolerate a sitting position, maintain attention with an eye gaze) and not academic at all. That was hard for me since academics are my biggest strength!

It's totally okay to have your preferences, and now you know that you don't like this position. It's much better to find this out in ESY rather than taking a full time teaching position in this area! My teammate this past year came from an SSN (significant support needs) position and she found she actually highly preferred that over resource, so we all have our strengths and preferences!

tctrojan 06-14-2016 07:58 AM

Not every job is a perfect fit for every person. It is good to know your own strengths. You now know that this is not the type of job you would want full time. You are working hard to help them be successful this summer. Keep at it and let go of the guilt.

NewCAteacher 06-13-2016 04:00 PM

I'll definitely agree with you about regular Ed...not my thing!

Thanks for helping put my mind at ease.

SDT 06-13-2016 03:48 PM

Of course it's not wrong! We all have different talents and different preferences. I teach kids with severe and profound disabilities during the regular year. I stopped teaching summer school bc I had to do mild-moderate and I really didn't like it. And regular Ed? No way!!! 😂

It would be wrong to be unkind or uncaring or to just sit there and do nothing. But, it's really hard to give it your all everyday when it just isn't your thing. I admire you for working so hard at something that you don't really like. Thank you for taking such good care of the kids!

NewCAteacher 06-13-2016 01:24 PM

I'm a SPED teacher with a certification in mild/moderate disabilities. I love working with struggling learners.

However, this summer I'm working with 5th and 6th grade children with moderate/severe (mostly severe) disabilities and I'm not loving it...at all. And I feel really bad that I don't enjoy it. These kids are sweet. I go to work and give them my all, but I just don't find it rewarding or interesting (I know that sounds selfish) to work with these kiddos. Most are nonverbal and wear diapers. They are happy and kind. But I feel sad for them and their families a great deal of the time, which causes me to feel guilty.

Is it wrong that I just don't enjoy this area of special ed? I so, so admire the people who want and love to work with these kiddos....




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