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musicmeg222 02-27-2019 08:44 AM

Special Ed Teacher Questions
I am a new special ed teacher that is taking over an inclusion position for the last few months of the 2018-2019 school year. I just obtained my intern teaching certificate and will start taking courses within a program that will allow me to obtain my teaching certificate. As a first year teacher and not having any experience, I have been thinking about a few things.

I understand students have goals included in their IEP that *should* be met by the end of the school year. I know special ed teachers can change their instruction and teaching strategies to break concepts down for those with learning disabilities. They can also find different ways to explain topics and concepts hopefully making it easier that students with learning disabilities can understand and hopefully master the concept.

I have heard that special ed students are normally not 'held back' because they don't understand specific topics or concepts or if their IEP goals are not met. I was thinking about it this morning. If students are not held back, but also don't understand concepts or aren't getting a specific topic relating to their IEP goal, it is noted that the goal is not met and the student moves on to the next grade level. I am placed within a sixth grade special ed inclusion position. What I'm curious about is students being moved to seventh and then eighth grade. What happens when students are still having difficulty with concepts from sixth grade when they enter high school? I know they can continue special ed services with an IEP within high school too, but how is this possible? Some concepts need to be understood to move to future concepts. It seems like it would be much harder to move on to the next grade level without understanding a previous taught concept last year.

Also, how long should a special education teacher continue to teach or help reinforce concepts before moving on and realizing students will not be able to grasp specific concepts? Is there a specific rule or is it subjective depending on a special education teacher's opinions and decisions? How does this relate to my situation by taking over a position toward the end of the school year? Should I continue trying to 'teach' and help students understand concepts this far into the year?

I apologize for the long post, but I'm curious about this. I'm sure I will think of many other questions too as I continue to learn more about this position and be as prepared as possible.

Any other tips or suggestions? Thanks!

Lottalove 02-27-2019 10:49 AM

With input from the
the IEP team members, the goals set are S>M>A>R>T goals--specific, measurable, ATTAINABLE, relevant and time specific. You look at the whole child when choosing goals. If the child has a goal that cannot be reached within an IEP cycle, in spite of best efforts of student and teacher, that goal was not attainable and was too hard.

In the case of a true disability, another year in sixth or any one grade will most likely not help significantly.

Most kids with IEPs get social promotions across the grades. We don't want a big 15 yr old in with your sixth graders. Plus, Some kids with academic issues also have social issues. But to be separated from the kids they already know (and who know them) could cause a setback or add to frustration and resentment.

musicmeg222 02-27-2019 10:52 AM

Hello Lottalove,

You made a few interesting points. I had forgotten about attainable goals. That is a important point to think about.

Also, I didn't think about a 15 year old in the same class as sixth graders. That's also a very good point.

These are interesting and helpful tips. Anything else you can suggest or provide? Thanks!

elspeech 02-27-2019 11:24 AM


I understand students have goals included in their IEP that *should* be met by the end of the school year.

One thing to remember, as well, is that IEP goes for one calendar year, which often does not match up with a school year, so it is entirely reasonable that a student has not met his goals in May, if his plan starts mid-year.

It also depends a lot on the disabilities you will be serving. A student with Intellectual Disability may never master certain concepts and the goal isn't necessarily to get them to grade level, but rather to teach them functional life skills.

Tracy IDSE 02-28-2019 08:52 AM

Students with IEPs
So it sounds like you are describing students who can attend reg. education classes but have a IEP to address learning disabilities. Most students with learning disabilities at high school level will have at least one class period with a special education teacher to work on concepts like study skills, basic math, vocational, and really most basic academic skills. Yes, some cannot really write or read very well, but still have an opportunity to graduate with a diploma, they are just on a different path (not necessarily college prep). It can be tricky being in special education and seeing them move on when you know they are really not ready. There are still strides to be made in this field, however inclusion is a major idea/theme in our modern day education. Inclusion is great but bridging the gap can be difficult.

I can say that being special education teacher for ID severe students (students with significant cognitive impairments) it is really hard in high school. I really get annoyed wondering what my students are working for when my community has no day program for my students. However, I do try to have my students be immersed in the general population as much as possible.

Main thing to remember, that I have seen in other replies, is that the IEP TEAM DETERMINES APPROPRIATE goals for the individual. Some parents want more than what is realistic and that is why you have to have the data to prove how their want is not realistic/ achievable. You can only do so much to help each student, so just determine the most valuable concepts you believe each individual needs to continue to next grade level.

Question to others: What kind of technology do you use with your students with significant cognitive disabilities? Is there another subscription type website, besides News2you, that has curriculum for students in self contained EC classes?????????????????????

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