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Haley23 Haley23 is offline
 
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Do you feel respected as a sped teacher?
Old 11-01-2017, 04:36 PM
 
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*If you don't want to read my long vent, you can skip to the last paragraph*

I hope no one from my school reads, because if so I'm totally outing myself. My school is getting a new building for next year; it's currently being built right now. My school has two sped teachers, but they only built one classroom, and it's about 1/4 of the size of a "regular" classroom (picture if there are two kidney tables, they'd literally be less than 3 feet away from each other).

We met with the architects last year to review the plans and told them that didn't work. Two teachers in a room (and a tiny one, at that) is too distracting for kids. Many, many of our students have ADHD in addition to learning disabilities. A couple of years ago I had to share a full sized classroom and hated it- I had to limit the activities I could do with kids due to space/noise, my kids were always distracted by the other lesson going on, and I could never focus during my planning/lunch time because the other teacher was teaching during those times. We were told they'd "work on it."

Well, we met again today and they didn't change a thing. I was told that my choices were to either share the quarter sized room with the other sped teacher or have my own room that is literally (not exaggerating at all) a closet under the stairs. They asked me how many kids I typically saw at once, and when I said up to 6-7, they said that many won't fit . I asked if I'd have things like bookshelves or a white board, and they said those things won't fit. My P was in the meeting and she just said, "We're all going to have to think about the materials we really use and downsize" and she told me there is a "flex space" in the cafeteria that I could take kids to. Maybe they could have white boards there that I could pull over. So basically, best case scenario I'm using the closet for storage and teaching from a cart in the cafeteria.

I am furious! I understand that in existing buildings, when enrollment increases or whatnot sometimes specialists end up sharing because of course they can't just have an entire grade level class without a room. But how incredibly disrespectful is it to literally build a new building without making a space for everyone that currently works there? What does that say about how they value my position? It took every ounce of willpower to not turn to my P and say, "Would you treat a classroom teacher like this?" Her attitude was completely detached and she obviously didn't see any of this as a problem at all. If she'd even said something like, "I know this isn't right, but I don't have any control over this," I would have appreciated it.

I am so tired of being treated like a second class citizen as a sped teacher. It's not only this incident, but also the fact that gen ed gets constant new resources, curriculum, etc. and I am always completely forgotten. We got a HUGE literacy grant and classroom teachers and title 1 teachers got tons of new resources. I literally didn't get a single thing and admin acted like I was nuts when I asked why we weren't using any of that money to buy tier 3 programs.

I am so irritated that part of me wants to move schools, but I'm afraid sped is like this everywhere. So after that long vent, my basic question is, what about where you work? Do you feel just as valued as the gen ed teachers? Do you feel that your position as seen as just as important as the others?


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Old 11-01-2017, 05:35 PM
 
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No I do not feel respect at all!
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I hate that for you
Old 11-01-2017, 05:57 PM
 
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as it is never a good thing to feel less valued.

So far, I've worked in 3 districts in elementary, MS and HS positions from pullout and push in to self-contained. All three school were small rural schools in small towns.

Most of the time, I feel at least equal and/or highly valued in relation to my peers. There have been a few individual cases where I felt demeaned or less than but they were exceptions. (And too, the one being uppidity was generally that way to others as well.)
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I guess I am lucky
Old 11-01-2017, 06:02 PM
 
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I am "just a sub" now, but doing a long term in my old building and in my old classroom. Three of the students were in my classroom during my last year of teaching. The building has a principal who values the resource teachers and the self-contained teachers and includes them in all decisions regarding what's best for our students. The Sp. Ed. administrator is a huge advocate for the children. She isn't a "warm and fuzzy" person on the outside, but she shows her appreciation in other ways. It wasn't always like that. We have a new Ex. Director of Sp.Ed. She seems to be more "hands on" than the previous one. We'll see.
Kathy
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Old 11-01-2017, 06:05 PM
 
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I was in a way too small space when I was a behavior teacher for seven years. Those kids need their space, but at least all my cabinets had locks on them! My current school where I am a resource teacher is just six years old. For the first five years I had a big beautiful room, but I always knew it would eventually become a classroom. I am now in a nice and fairly spacious classrom but it's right off the cafeteria and adjoining the music room--big enough, but noisy. My guess is I will lose this space next year and then??? There are Resouce teachers in my district in very cramped spaces and a few share rooms. So I have just be lucky.

I couldn't work in the small space you are describing in the plans for your new school and no way would I be able to do Resource Room on a cart! Do they just not get it???

i do get new curriculum--just not what I need for my students. I have every level of the gen. Ed math curriculum, but no intervention curriculum! I did get a phonics intervention curriculum with our new reading adoption, but have been too overwhelmed this year to even look at it.

My biggest issue is just how huge some of my groups are. I have a 4/5 math group with 15 students. So much for SDI.

I do work with a great and appreciative staff. I feel valued--they tell me all the time that they don't know how I do it every day!


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Old 11-01-2017, 06:15 PM
 
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Appreciated yes, respected not at all. Coworkers are respectful but main office made their view very clear this week. Not sure if that makes sense or not.

Without getting into very obvious details, I was furious enough that I will/may be looking for a job next year. There is a shortage of sped teachers in my area. I am also afraid of similar views elsewhere.

At this point, I'm not sure what I plan to do but it was incredibly upsetting on top of an already stressful time.
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Old 11-01-2017, 06:32 PM
 
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Oh, Haley, that is awful! I'm so sorry! I have often been frustrated that new buildings don't always take into account the growth that is occurring (if you need to pull in portables you weren't planning on the first year the school is open, you didn't plan well), but to not plan for current staff? I would feel disrespected, too.

In my previous schools, I would say that sped was often not seen as the same as classroom teachers. I think they were generally appreciated, but they didn't seem to be considered on equal level with other teachers. One year, the school yearbook had small font for all the sped teachers and large font for all the general ed teachers on their pages. The sped teachers were ticked off.
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Old 11-01-2017, 08:04 PM
 
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That is just short-sighted. I don't get why new schools don't have 2-3 "extra" rooms included when built. I know you don't want to have lots of empty rooms in a school, but you need to have a plan that goes beyond what we need "right now" and can accommodate some growth in student population down the line. Sure you can look at birth rates, etc, to get an estimate of what will happen in the foreseeable future, but what about in 10-15 years.
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Old 11-01-2017, 09:17 PM
 
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I never felt any respect for over 30 years! Your current situation is over the top. If you’re feeling brave, you may want to consider informing concerned parents of the district’s plans for providing substandard conditions for its special ed. students in the new building (paid for entirely by tax-payer dollars) - blatant illegal discrimination! Also, consider informing the special ed. administrator at the county level and even your local news outlets. You won’t necessarily have to identify/implicate yourself to them - if anyone cares enough, they will do the rest.
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Ugh!
Old 11-02-2017, 06:37 AM
 
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We didn't have sped in my school, but at DD school...

Resource teachers had desks and tables in the hallway. No proper room. So pull outs were done in the hallway.

The teacher that did Autism Intervention, had a room that was as big as my bedroom in my 950 sq ft home growing up. I think it was the custodian's lounge previously, and didn't even have a proper door.

Sped teachers are my heros for having to slog through all that paper work, and have negotiating skills of Machiavelli. It is not an easy gig. <3 <3 <3


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Doesn't this say it all??
Old 11-02-2017, 07:23 AM
 
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Quote:
Resource teachers had desks and tables in the hallway. No proper room. So pull outs were done in the hallway.


No time to respond in depth, but I feel more misunderstood (as in, most gen. ed. teachers and yes, principals and admin.) don't know what special ed. even is and how a sped evaluation is conducted. Even fewer know what proper interventions look like for a child they are deeply concerned about.

I think, since I've been in my building for many years, I'm respected as a professional and everyone who knows me knows I work very hard. I just don't think they think I work 'as hard' as they do because I don't have as many kids at a time. Also, gen. ed. teachers here and IRL think they have the same amount of paperwork to complete. IME, that is not correct. Not even close. I do academic testing, observations, evaluations and write them up, and IEPs. This is just a sampling. Right now, I am working on a change of placement to life skills and doing almost all the paperwork because I'm case manager and have had the kid for multiple years.

It's frustrating. I'm sorry .
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Old 11-02-2017, 08:46 AM
 
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Many frustrated teachers write about their challenges, receive moral support and suggestions, but we rarely hear about the outcomes. Most of my former colleagues seemed resigned to accept whatever ____ came their way. Not surprisingly, the muck often accumulates to such a thickness that it becomes unbearable. So, what have you decided to do?
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Old 11-03-2017, 05:09 PM
 
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Thanks everyone for the thoughts. Today we were in a PD with a state level person who helps with the literacy grant that we got. After her PD we were supposed to stay in the room and plan. She asked my teammate and I if we wanted to get our manuals and come back. She acted surprised when we told her we don't have any manuals, as we've never been given any curriculum. We tell her this every time she comes . Every time, she goes on and on about the programs she's going to be getting for us and how great they are. I just nod and smile at this point .

I'm still upset about the room. Today as I was doing all of my groups I couldn't help but think about all the activities I do on a regular basis that I won't be able to do without space. I am trying to focus on the fact that it's November and next school year is a long way away. Of course I need to see how the rest of the year goes but I imagine I'll definitely at least be looking to see what's out there as far as other jobs next spring. I had my previous P write me a letter of rec before she left last year, so I could use that to apply. If I chose to teach sped at another school I think I'd have to ask A LOT of questions first. Last spring/summer I checked job postings frequently looking for a literacy interventionist position (figuring that was my best shot out of sped) and there literally wasn't even a single opening to apply for!
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Sped is not respected
Old 11-07-2017, 08:00 AM
 
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I'm sorry about your situation. I have never felt respected as a special ed. teacher. Even though I always worked extremely hard and had good evaluations, every school district has non-renewed because I am sped. I have had to watch new and young gen. ed teachers get the best desk/classrooms, best materials and glowing evaluations. Meanwhile, I don't even HAVE a desk...nothing!!. Not even a place to hang my coat. I have to drag bags around all day and everyday I wake up with a stiff neck and sore lower back.

I have tried to find jobs in general ed. but I just can't and I think it is because I am an older teacher. I am currently in a new sped position with two general ed. teachers who are much younger than I and they treat me like an aide. They don't plan or collaborate with me, even though they are supposed to. They also won't share plans with me and blame me when something goes wrong. Sped teachers are NOT treated or respected as real teachers. Even though we have the same degrees and more, we will never be treated with respect.

My supervisor is also very young and LOVES the young teachers just ripped me apart on my formal observation. It wasn't the best lesson, but the sped kids were having issues that day - lucky me - and of course, I am the blame for everything. I feel so worn and weary that I really think I am awful teacher and can't do anything right. After my meeting about my observation, I can sadly see where this is heading and I realize now that it won't work out for me in this district.

I have decided to break my contract and submit my letter of resignation at the end of the month. I know I will be non-renewed and I just can't go through the humiliation of it again. I went through it twice already and I have just had enough. I hate feeling like outsider all the time and I am also really tired of hearing how everyone knows what is best for the sped kids, when none of these experts have any formal training in sped.
I am taking a big risk for when I quit I won't have any income or health insurance, but I just can't take it anymore.

I won't take another sped job and wish I could find a job in the private sector again. Good luck, I hope you can find a better position - you deserve it!
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Respect
Old 11-08-2017, 09:19 PM
 
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I don't feel respected by admin at all!
I do feel respected by most kids and parents.
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Old 11-11-2017, 04:25 AM
 
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No respect whatsoever. Both principals I've had knew zero about sped. They didn't really interact with me much at all. Now the worst most disrespectful thing to happen was for HR to pick me up from my elementary resource job and give me a days notice to report to middle school and teach life skills. Now I hear my old principal is complaining and telling them she wants me back. I guess I'm appreciated more now that I'm gone.

I do feel respected by the other teachers though.
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Old 11-15-2017, 09:11 AM
 
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I'm sure I'm late to the thread here, but oh my goodness, that is a terrible solution.

Why couldn't you teach from a cart into other people's classrooms during their preps? My first school did this for sped teachers. It's not ideal, but it is at least better than sharing a tiny room while another class is actively using it, or being literally treated like Harry Potter.
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yes
Old 11-21-2017, 09:45 AM
 
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I feel respected. I work for a wonderful school.
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Respect
Old 12-08-2017, 05:27 PM
 
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I have felt respected in the past. Once they realized I get results, they are satisfied. But... at my current school NO!! In fact the special ed coordinator recently cut down my using Orton-Gillingham for teaching reading! Another district I worked at paid for all the special ed teachers to get the training. It’s expensive and it involved not only training but observations and collaborating with teachers all over our district. I’ve used it with many non-readers successfully and love it! It really ticked me off that she said “we have to use research-based methods.” What???!!!
The school decided to add another grade level next year and we are out of space. But wait...they could use the special ed room. Sure. “We could put up a room divider and use part of a room somewhere”. No, no one cares. No one even gave special ed a thought in their plans. I don’t want to teach highly distractable kids on a side of a room or wherever they find a postage stamp sized space. I think someone should file a lawsuit really. This is a form of discrimination!!! They get funding $ because of our kids. That’s all our school seems to give a crap about. The special ed teachers don’t even get a prep except for one day. If we “missed” a class, we have to use our prep time to see the class even though it was due to an IEP meeting or behavior etc. Our special ed directors/coordinators etc need to be advocating for us and students with special needs. They get paid the big bucks, so should get their act together.
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Re fashion girl
Old 12-09-2017, 01:09 PM
 
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Sorry they don’t seem to understand your job and how important you are. I’m sure you’re a good teacher though. It doesn’t help I know, but want you to know I understand as do most here.
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Old 01-08-2018, 06:49 PM
 
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What's funny about all of the disrespect is that we have legal documents that can lead to high dollar lawsuits attached to our jobs... But you're right, let them try to meet minutes for 15 students in a single pull-out group from the coat closet. Good grief.

Haley, I agree with what a previous poster said. You need to make sure district admin knows. Tell your SpEd director and see if s/he will step in on your behalf. Your job is too important to be reduced to teaching off of a cart!

As far as disrespect, I definitely see the differences between the way I get treated and regular teachers do. First year teacher here. When I first moved into my classroom (spacious enough but still smaller than a regular classroom), the entire back half was being used as the location for morning announcement broadcasts. So like, utilized for the first ten minutes of the day and never again. I fought to get that changed and finally got my wish granted during the second week of school, thankfully before groups really took off.

My principal doesn't really understand what I do, so I kind of get the freedom to run my classroom the way I want it to. There's times where I could really use his support and guidance, but I've grown more as a professional because no one's babying me and I appreciate that. I've also grown as an advocate for myself and for my kids, so there's another positive spin.

I create my own curriculum for both reading and math, so that's kind of a drag. I could probably find unused curriculum to steal from other programs in the district, but I like my minimalist approach better, to be honest. I've learned a ton about the developmental reading continuum and how to strategically teach math.

Most teachers are good to me (I've earned their respect at this point) but a couple really don't have a clue. I think they're jealous of the fact that I teach small groups, only have their ornery students for 30 minutes at a time, and I have the coveted freedom to use the restroom whenever I want. Ha! There's an entire team that whines to me all the time about "all of" their "needy" students (I just laugh and roll my eyes when I'm back in my room by myself). One of them has thrown me under the bus in front of admin and other teachers, but I think everyone knew she was lying to cover herself. Same teacher told one of my paras that she wanted her old student teacher to have my job "before they hired TeachInKansas"... so that was nice.
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