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musicmeg222 02-20-2019 08:54 PM

New special ed teacher - Help!
I am attending orientation next week and will finally start a new position as a 6th grade Ex Ed teacher to take over for a teacher who moved away!

I'm feeling good about things and glad I will get some teaching experience by taking on a position toward the end of the school year. I'm also glad (I think) that it's an inclusion position too. I will be able to work with the general ed teacher for lesson planning. This is an inclusion position at a middle school and I'm not exactly sure of the procedure yet, but I'm assuming I will enter each class period for students and help out those on my caseload. I hope that it goes well enough that I will be asked to renew my contract for next school year.

Do you guys think I will have my own classroom/office area although I will be teaching inclusion? I really hope so! I was thinking that I would need something since I need to store my personal belongings and would need a quiet area for planning, IEP work, or to bring in a student for assessments.

Oh yeah...Assessments. I'm familiar with some of them, but definitely not all. I will have a mentor assisting me as a first year teacher and will have time to meet with my Professional Learning Committee group, so I'm hoping this will help me with assessments. I'm guessing I would need to assess students toward the end of the school year to determine whether or not their IEP goals were met? And then of course, document everything in their IEP.

Any other tips, suggestions, information, or secrets I may need to know about special education teaching, IEPs, rules/regulations, or anything? Let me know!

teabreak 02-23-2019 09:36 AM

Good Questions
Hi and welcome to special ed :)

I am a high school special education co-teacher (slightly different than inclusion in my state) and I can only tell you what I know from my experience.

To answer your first concern

but I'm assuming I will enter each class period for students and help out those on my caseload.
This is generally determined by the requirement of minutes on the IEP. If you are only needed for 20 minutes and have to move on, then that would be what you do. In my building, I co-teach each period and stay there the whole time (unless a student has major issues). I provide the specially designed instruction during that time to meet the IEP minutes. While I may be in there for 60 minutes, I might have some students that need me the whole time or for just 20 minutes of the time. Depends on the student. You may want to ask how it works best in your building for the students.


Do you guys think I will have my own classroom/office area although I will be teaching inclusion?
I hope you do as you will be doing a lot of paperwork and it is all confidential. You will need a place to secure the IEPs you are working on. Again, ask your building where your space will be. You would have a classroom if you are in charge of doing pull-out resource, but generally inclusion teachers have an office area.


I'm guessing I would need to assess students toward the end of the school year to determine whether or not their IEP goals were met?
You should be monitoring the students all the time. In our area, I will use classroom based work and assessments for my progress monitoring. I don't make this an event or extra work for the kids. Use what is already being done. You can't wait until the very end of the year to do it all, it gets stressful. Look at the goals. They should tell you what to monitor and how often you need to collect data.

As for other tips and such, take care of yourself. You aren't any good for the students if you aren't taking care of your needs as well. Stay on top of your paperwork. You don't want to be buried under a huge pile of it on the last day of school. If you are team teaching and have common time with the teacher, covet that!! Don't let anyone steal your time from common planning. It's important to you guys as a team and to the kids. Make the time worth it.

Hopefully I helped you in some way :)

musicmeg222 02-24-2019 07:46 PM

Hello teabreak,

Cute username by the way. Your responses were definitely very helpful. Ahhh, yes. I forgot about the required amount of minutes listed on the IEP. That makes sense. I really hope I will have some type of office setting. I'm sure I will since I need to work on IEPs (and keep them confidential) and most likely test students at the end of the year.

I was hired a few weeks ago and have been waiting for HR to submit the needed paperwork and will finally attend orientation this week. While waiting, I have been preparing as best as I can - reading through various blogs and websites looking for helpful tips and asking questions here on proteacher. I will definitely keep your response in mind and will make sure to take care of myself as well. You have a good point. I'm going to try my best to stay on top of the paperwork. I'm taking over this position for a teacher who had to move during the year. I assume the students have had subs for quite sometime, but since this is an inclusion position, maybe they have remained in their general ed class, but haven't received the extra help they need since a special ed teacher has not been available. I don't have too many details relating to the previous teacher of this position, but I'm sure I'll find out very soon.

Right now, I'm mostly worried about 'jumping' right into things and not having much time to review IEPs (to find out about main goals) and familiarize myself with students. I will have to do all of this while also providing inclusion instruction and keeping up with paperwork. I'm hoping IEPs aren't 'expired' or due right away either.

I'm going to keep my head up and stay positive and really hope this goes well!

Thanks again for your helpful thoughts. I appreciate it. :)

Haley23 02-24-2019 08:30 PM

I would ask for contact information for your teammates so you can ask your specific questions. Don't bombard them, but you can ask about seeing the IEPs and anything that would be helpful to prepare ahead of time.

I honestly wouldn't get your hopes up about having your own classroom space for an inclusion position. Hopefully you'll have an office, but in the vast majority of inclusion set ups I've seen, this would be a shared space with other service providers, unless the school just happened to have extra space. In some buildings I've also seen where you might have a desk in one of the gen ed rooms you'll be working in. My dad is also a sped teacher and he told me when I was first starting out to be thankful if I was given a space to hang my coat!

We had a new building built this year and the district and architects did NOT want to build a space for sped or other services (EL, title, etc.) because they wanted to set it up for an inclusion model. First of all, I do all pull out. Second of all, even if that weren't the case, they simply did not understand the need for a space to do paperwork, make phone calls, do testing, etc. They wanted to give me a little filing cabinet thing on wheels that I would push around and attach to "any free desk" during my planning periods :rolleyes:.

I ended up getting a small room to myself, but only after throwing SEVERAL fits and getting the union involved. If I ever find myself in the position of interviewing for new positions again, one of my first questions for the school team would be what kind of classroom space I'd have.

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