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Haley23's Message:

I've done K-6 and did enjoy the personalities of my older students. I also really felt like I could build a better relationship with them and they'd reached a point where my classroom was truly their "safe space" in the building. I enjoyed being able to provide that.

However, when we split the position into two, I chose K-3 simply because I feel like I'm better at it. Skills based instruction is a huge strength of mine. My teammates even joke that I "could teach a rock to read." I really enjoy giving my students the skills that I think are so important for real life- none of the stuff I teach is just "school stuff" that you don't really use or need in the real world like intermediate content can be. I also strongly believe in early intervention and kids that start with me in K are significantly more successful long term than kids who are identified much later in their school careers.

At least IME, primary teachers are also more in tune with helping kids with disabilities and a little easier to work with. In intermediate, you run into teachers who really know their content but aren't too keen on the pedagogical side. They were more likely to think my students didn't belong in their class or think it was just their responsibility to present the content (the same way for everyone) and kids responsibility to learn it, and I was more likely to get push back on things like accommodations or differentiation.

My teammate who does 4-6 loves that she can go into all of the higher level thinking/deeper content stuff with her students. She doesn't enjoy teaching "how to read."

I do agree with the pp that the young ones can be quite challenging. Every year I get kids who eventually get moved to center based programs- generally by the older grades kids that need that have already been moved. On the other hand, some kids who start out REALLY rough make huge turnarounds with early intervention, and it's amazing to be a part of that.

I think you should consider:
-The teachers you'd be working with- do you have a preference?
-Is the model of instruction the same, or does one offer more pull out or push in? Which one would you like to do more?
-Are you comfortable with the content for both positions? We had someone transfer from our middle school to an elementary position and she flat out told me she didn't know how to teach kids how to read. I'm not sure how she's doing (not my school) but that is simply not okay, IMO. Lots of people assume primary content is "easy" but they have NO idea about all of the phonemic awareness and systematic phonics instruction that is necessary.

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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
readandweep 03-10-2019 06:23 AM

I think Hayley had some good questions to ask yourself.

I have taught K-8 (not all at the same time), and for me it depends on the type of special ed you are teaching.

In a perfect world, I would do K-4 pull out resource only, but that really does not exist, even in my fairly large district. I really enjoy teaching middle school life skills right now.

Personally, I can only tolerate push in for K-2. Like PP said, those teachers are generally knowledgeable about working with different levels in one room.

In my area, 4th-6th teachers are increasingly subject-matter experts and it sometimes a steep learning curve to deal with all the levels.

Self-contained K-2 still has a lot of kids who may need special day classes eventually, but most students are on the same grade-level academically.

As you get into the intermediate grades, the academic gap widens.

You may start to get students who were successful in K-2 general ed and resource who now struggle with applying knowledge.

At all levels you will often get kids with behaviors who don't necessarily struggle with academics.

Opal 03-09-2019 07:17 PM

I also enjoy working with K-3 kids and have been told I am good at teaching anyone to read....foundational skills are something I enjoy teaching too! The behaviors, on the other hand, can be a bit intense with this age group....don't enjoy that!

whatever 03-08-2019 06:02 AM

has their own pros and cons... You just need to decide what is the best match for you... Of those two, I would choose 3-5th grades. Like others said, they are used to school and routine and are a little more independent.

The littles are adorable but they can be very emotionally and even physically needier. Although, with SpEd, that is all relative.

I teach MS/HS now. When I was in the elementary, I couldn't IMAGINE going higher than 5th. Now that I'm here, I cannot imagine going back.

Good luck with your decision.

Haley23 03-07-2019 08:49 PM

I've done K-6 and did enjoy the personalities of my older students. I also really felt like I could build a better relationship with them and they'd reached a point where my classroom was truly their "safe space" in the building. I enjoyed being able to provide that.

However, when we split the position into two, I chose K-3 simply because I feel like I'm better at it. Skills based instruction is a huge strength of mine. My teammates even joke that I "could teach a rock to read." I really enjoy giving my students the skills that I think are so important for real life- none of the stuff I teach is just "school stuff" that you don't really use or need in the real world like intermediate content can be. I also strongly believe in early intervention and kids that start with me in K are significantly more successful long term than kids who are identified much later in their school careers.

At least IME, primary teachers are also more in tune with helping kids with disabilities and a little easier to work with. In intermediate, you run into teachers who really know their content but aren't too keen on the pedagogical side. They were more likely to think my students didn't belong in their class or think it was just their responsibility to present the content (the same way for everyone) and kids responsibility to learn it, and I was more likely to get push back on things like accommodations or differentiation.

My teammate who does 4-6 loves that she can go into all of the higher level thinking/deeper content stuff with her students. She doesn't enjoy teaching "how to read."

I do agree with the pp that the young ones can be quite challenging. Every year I get kids who eventually get moved to center based programs- generally by the older grades kids that need that have already been moved. On the other hand, some kids who start out REALLY rough make huge turnarounds with early intervention, and it's amazing to be a part of that.

I think you should consider:
-The teachers you'd be working with- do you have a preference?
-Is the model of instruction the same, or does one offer more pull out or push in? Which one would you like to do more?
-Are you comfortable with the content for both positions? We had someone transfer from our middle school to an elementary position and she flat out told me she didn't know how to teach kids how to read. I'm not sure how she's doing (not my school) but that is simply not okay, IMO. Lots of people assume primary content is "easy" but they have NO idea about all of the phonemic awareness and systematic phonics instruction that is necessary.

checkerjane 03-07-2019 08:29 PM

This is my first year in sped, so take it for what it’s worth, but I have PreK-4, so... I’d choose 3-5. My little bitties are still learning the whole “school” concept and proper behaviors. Lots of adaptives to work on, on top of academics. They’re exhausting.

spedder1 03-07-2019 05:05 PM

I taught Self-contained special ed for 14 yeara. The older students were used to being in school all day. They knew the routines. They were happier. My students fell in the moderate to severe level of cognitive disability. They were amazi g studenta, eager to learn.
Kathy

teacher0729 03-07-2019 02:52 PM

I have the choice to do K-2 Or 3-5 SPED next year. I currently do grades 4, 5, and middle school. I hate middle school and am excited to leave that but I have enjoyed grades 3-5. Do you have a preference and why? I haven’t done the young ones.




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