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Madaly320's Message:

First year teacher here.

I teach a severe, self-contained ASD classroom. I have experience working in Autism classrooms as I was an ABA therapist in a public school for several years. I have seen many ASD classrooms operate and there are always similarities, so I knew how I wanted to run my own classroom.

The problem is that my district does not train or even tell the aides they hire anything about Autism/ASD or what to expect when they start working in that setting. SO what happened to me? I have Aides who don't understand why my room isn't functioning like a general education classroom. Why are they earning breaks every 30 minutes? We should put a stop to that! Why do they eat so unhealthy? why do they eat the same thing? They need to branch out! Why aren't they learning the same things as kids their age? we need to challenge them!
It resulted in my Aides pulling me aside today and telling me that since I am a new teacher maybe I need help from gen ed teachers in figuring out how to use the curriculum and that we need to end the behaviors in my room by eliminating earned breaks, etc.

I tried to stand my ground and explain how they are not typical learners and the reinforcers/rewards are built into their IEPs and I will not eliminate them. I explained that the kids are working on the grade level they are capable of, not of what they are and that I could have 6 kids with 6 different levels all of the same age so no, I can't just teach the same thing the same way and expect them all to be challenged.
I am so aggravated. I feel like all this time, I have been judged.
I was feeling really good about how each week has been getting better and easier. There was a time I kept thinking about just quitting, that I was not smart enough or good enough for this job. I got rid of a really lousy aide and we started making some good progress. And now this. I feel like we just took a huge step backwards and I want to cry.

I just don't know how to feel.

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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
momteachsis 01-25-2017 06:32 PM

Just remember that they haven't been trained, so they don't understand, or know what's best. Don't doubt yourself! Since you know they need training, make them take some. Here is a good one on research based interventions for students with Autism ttps://thompsoncenter.missouri.edu/autism-training/online-training-modules/

If you can't force them to take the modules, start presenting little bits of it to them during team meetings. Make sure you show them it's from the website, so they can see you know what you're doing.

theroad 01-25-2017 10:51 AM

I am so sorry you're going through this, especially in your first year. It sounds like you are doing everything right, following the IEPs and differentiating appropriately for your students.

Unfortunately, I've found that a lot of aides find it very easy to criticize. I had a similar experience my first year teaching and my aide questioned EVERYTHING I was doing (it was an extended resource room position). My mentor teacher reminded me that I was the teacher - not my aide - and that was for a reason. YOU have the expertise and the teaching license, which makes YOU the one who is qualified to make instructional decisions. Do you have a mentor teacher you could speak with about this? S/he might be a good resource to talk to on how to approach these aides as well. If your mentor teacher has been there awhile s/he might also be familiar with these personalities.

Keep your head up, you sound like a wonderful teacher!

FLteachESE 01-25-2017 04:21 AM

Sending you hugs and prayers for understanding- not for you but for them. The sad state of affairs is that there are not enough people who want to do our jobs and so admin does not tell applicants the truth becasue if they did they would not have people applying for the jobs. I have been adamant to my principal that when we did interviews this summer he needed to be honest to the people or we would lose them after the first week. The pay here is worse than working at McDonalds so there is no reason for someone to stay and do a job that they dont want to do.

I would ask that the SPED director come have a meeting with all of you to explain the program, its needs, and then set up training for the aides. That is crucial for them. They need to know and then understand about autism. If they are not listening to you, then they need to hear it from someone with more authority.
I am sorry you are put in this position. I hope it will work out.

Haley23 01-24-2017 09:09 PM

How frustrating! I'm assuming these aides are new to your school this year/haven't worked in this classroom before? Can you ask your SPED director if you can get them more training? Our director is always offering to get ours more training, because she understands they come in with little understanding of SPED. I am so fortunate that my aide is awesome, but she's told me that it took her a couple of years to really understand all of the differentiation and accommodations/modifications our kids need and that there is a reason that we go the pace we do. She had come from a gen ed para position before working in SPED (she's been in this position for 15 years, so this was all way before I got there!) I know it's hard, but don't feel like you have to justify your decisions to your aides. There is a reason that you are the one in charge. If they want to work in gen ed they're welcome to look for a new position.

Madaly320 01-24-2017 07:29 PM

First year teacher here.

I teach a severe, self-contained ASD classroom. I have experience working in Autism classrooms as I was an ABA therapist in a public school for several years. I have seen many ASD classrooms operate and there are always similarities, so I knew how I wanted to run my own classroom.

The problem is that my district does not train or even tell the aides they hire anything about Autism/ASD or what to expect when they start working in that setting. SO what happened to me? I have Aides who don't understand why my room isn't functioning like a general education classroom. Why are they earning breaks every 30 minutes? We should put a stop to that! Why do they eat so unhealthy? why do they eat the same thing? They need to branch out! Why aren't they learning the same things as kids their age? we need to challenge them!
It resulted in my Aides pulling me aside today and telling me that since I am a new teacher maybe I need help from gen ed teachers in figuring out how to use the curriculum and that we need to end the behaviors in my room by eliminating earned breaks, etc.

I tried to stand my ground and explain how they are not typical learners and the reinforcers/rewards are built into their IEPs and I will not eliminate them. I explained that the kids are working on the grade level they are capable of, not of what they are and that I could have 6 kids with 6 different levels all of the same age so no, I can't just teach the same thing the same way and expect them all to be challenged.
I am so aggravated. I feel like all this time, I have been judged.
I was feeling really good about how each week has been getting better and easier. There was a time I kept thinking about just quitting, that I was not smart enough or good enough for this job. I got rid of a really lousy aide and we started making some good progress. And now this. I feel like we just took a huge step backwards and I want to cry.

I just don't know how to feel.




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