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musicmeg222 02-09-2019 04:50 PM

A few questions as a newbie
Hey everyone,

I am a new teacher and will be taking over a special ed position for a teacher who had to leave during the school year. I think this will be a great learning experience for me where I can prepare myself for the next school year.

I have a few questions for everyone:
  • Is it acceptable to take home 'work' or IEP's to catch up on them before the due dates?
  • Although I'm on salary, will my pay be prorated since I won't be working the full school year for 2018-2019?
  • Will I have enough time to familiarize myself with students and their IEP's before *jumping* in to provide instruction?

I'm not sure if anyone will be able to answer these few questions, but just thought I would ask anyway....

Any other tips and suggestions as a new special education teacher? <!--heartflower-->

Lottalove 02-09-2019 06:16 PM

I can't know for sure but...
I do bring work home occasionally. I am super careful though with confidential documents. You cannot have them out in public areas--my home computer, yes. A laptop at Starbucks, no. Our web-based IEP system can be pulled up at home or on other computers.

Yes, your pay will most likely be prorated unless you've worked out some other arrangements. Our salary is monthly but all of us have arrangements made for summer pay and insurance as well. Someone on your campus will know the ins and outs of this and hopefully make it known to you. Don't be surprised if the check is considerably smaller than you hoped. In addition to taxes and your share of any insurance, they may also take out for mandatory retirement, union or association dues, and similar.

As to question 3--it depends. Ideally, you would get a few days but, logically, I doubt it. Once you are officially on the books, they will most likely want you to begin.

You may have to "fake it til you make it." It may be a case where the class has had subs for a time even. In that case, things will be extra hectic. Maybe they can get permission for the sub to continue a few days with you in the room as well.

Hopefully, the teacher before left you some things to work with. If I removed everything from the classroom that was a personal item, there would be very little there--and my school and SpEd Director is relatively generous.

Good luck.

musicmeg222 02-09-2019 06:45 PM

Thanks for the helpful information Lottalove.

I'm really hoping I'll have enough time to at least review the IEP's so I can get a basic understanding of what I'm working with. You're probably right though...I will probably have to 'jump' right in and get started.

I'm really hoping this goes well. I'm going to have a group of mentors and a special planning time to meet with teachers/support staff to help with my caseload and the students.

I just thought of another question: I'm taking over a position from a teacher who had to move away. This is an inclusion position. Will I have my own classroom or office? I'm curious to see what everyone thinks. I'm guessing I will take over the 'space' from the previous teacher. I hope I will have something. I need a place to work on IEP's!

*crossing my fingers....

Any other tips as a new special ed teacher?

musicmeg222 02-15-2019 06:14 PM

I have been reading various websites that provide tips and suggestions for first year teachers starting mid year (or toward end of the year such as myself). I found that several websites are suggesting that I send home a letter and introduce myself to parents. I think this a good idea especially since student have had a sub for awhile and haven't had one specific person teaching the class for awhile.

Would anyone recommend that I sent out a letter to parents and introduce myself? Without looking at websites, I never would have thought of this. As a first year teacher, I don't really know what else to think about when taking over a special education caseload.

Does anyone have any other suggestions or tips for me? I want these next few months to be as smooth as possible, but I just don't know what else I need to think about as a new teacher 'stepping in' and taking over.


Amy L 02-15-2019 09:01 PM

First of all, congratulations! It'll be a lot of work, but great opportunity. I agree w pp's answers.

I'd spend some time getting to know your students; some get to know you activities, checking on current level of functioning and their goals. With the IEP's, hopefully, you'll have some help determining progress and be able to do some assessments, as well. Your sped director may be able to help direct you in that.

You'll also have to work on procedures and expectations, like you would at the beginning of the year. Maybe trying to use some of what they've been accustomed to will be helpful, while adding your own. Expect it to take some time for students to adjust.

I'd send something home, but maybe check with the P. You could also have something to send home the first week you're there.

It will probably be exciting and exhausting. Be sure to refresh yourself on your off time; eat well, try to sleep, set limits for working outside of school hours. First years are challenging. I hope you have a mentor or support in school; if not, ask about it.

Violets2 02-18-2019 08:50 AM

Congratulations! I'm a gen ed teacher but our Sp Ed teachers do not take IEPs home. They use their time at work to get them done. This may be something you could ask someone.

An introduction letter would be nice if you know you'll be there the rest of the school year. Write something up and have your P look it over before passing it out to students.

I agree that routine is key whether its a reg ed room or sp ed room.

Become familiar with your new colleagues :)

UVAgrl928 02-23-2019 12:32 AM

My first year teaching, I took over a class after the school year started. My pay was drastically cut that first year, and doesn’t count as a year of teaching experience.

As others said, you probably won’t have much transition time. Has this teacher already left? If not, maybe request a day or two of overlap time. I did this during my transition, and it definitely helped to see what had been going on (and how the previous teacher ran things).

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