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Haley23 Haley23 is offline
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 6,187
Senior Member

Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 6,187
Senior Member

Old 05-25-2019, 07:54 PM
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Welcome! Since you're K-5, are you the only sped teacher in the building? I'm confused about the K-5 part and then saying you'll have a caseload of only K students. If you're not the only one, your best resource is going to be the other sped teachers at your school. We can offer general advice here, but every school and district has different expectations. If you are the only resource teacher at the school, is there another elementary in the district that has a teacher you can reach out to? We have that situation in my district and I've mentored teachers from other buildings before.

One thing to know with working with multiple gen ed teachers is that you need thick skin. When I first started, I wanted everyone to like me and I took everything personally. You will never be successful that way. I work with 11 gen ed teachers. Literally any decision I make, one of them is mad about it. Just one small example, I could start pull out services on any day at the beginning of the year and at least one is furious that it's "too early" while one is furious that it's "too late." It's not you, it's them. If you have anything to do with testing/evals/deciding who's referred and tested, that can create a lot of tension as well.

For the resource/pull out piece, you need to find out from someone in your district:
-Will you be expected to focus on only IEP goals, run your groups like intervention groups, or piggyback off of the gen ed lessons in your room?
-Will curriculum be provided, are you supposed to use the gen ed curriculum, or create your own activities?
-Who creates the schedule? If it's you, are there any rules about pulling at certain times?

For the co-teaching piece, IME it's extremely easy for the sped teacher to fall in a position of being an aide when "co-teaching" is supposed to be happening- doing things like just walking around keeping kids on task or helping kids who raise their hand while the gen ed teacher teaches. Hopefully you have some common planning time with whoever you're co-teaching with so you can actually plan together and talk about which parts of the lesson you'll each do. If this isn't the case, I'd advocate for "station teaching," where you go in during small group time and both you and the gen ed teacher pull different small groups. That way you're both teaching and being utilized effectively.

Whatever the scenario is, make sure you know up front what the school/classroom rules and expectations are. You don't want to be stuck in a situation the first day where a child asks you if they can use the restroom and you have to say, "I don't know, ask Mrs. gen ed teacher." That will set you up as "not the teacher" in the eyes of the kids right away. Make sure you introduce yourself as another teacher in the room, not something like, "I'm here to help you guys out during reading." Talk with your co-teachers about what both of your expectations are going in and deal with any misconceptions immediately before you start teaching together.
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