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KSullivan KSullivan is offline
 
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What to do!!...NERVOUS!
Old 07-25-2006, 05:16 PM
 
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This is going to be my first year teaching, and I am teaching resource room k-5. I am the ONLY sped teacher in the school! I am going to have 12 different kids throughout the day. I am feeling VERY overwhelmed, and I was just looking for any advice anyone has on how to prepare for the beginning of the year! What are some of the things I need to think about before school starts?? Do I plan a lot for the first week? I don't even know how long I am going to have each kid each day!...Any advice will be helpful!


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Old 07-25-2006, 07:45 PM
 
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It's more than likely that your school has some sort of system set up already. Why don't you give your principal and/or the person you are replacing and ask how things were set up.
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Old 07-25-2006, 08:42 PM
 
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Not all schools work their resource room the same way so it's difficult to really say what to do. Your first week will probably be spent scheduling times to see the kids on your case load. You will be meeting with the regular ed. teachers and try to fit the required times on your kids IEPs to how many minutes/hours you have available. I would not plan a lot for the first week. Most schools have the kids go to the resource room for an hour or less at a time, or you go to their classrooms to help them there. I would check their goals on their IEPs to get an idea of where they are functioning. Get ahold of some reading passages or whatever your school uses to check and monitor progress with. You probably have someone in your school who is responsible for setting up meetings. I like to know when the first one will be and keep a record of when the next ones are due. Get ahold of any extra teacher guides for reading and math that you can. I think finding the resources such as manipulatives and tests is important right away too. Start separate folders for each kid you have. Maybe put some worksheets that relate to their goals in each one so you have something.
Some regular ed teachers will be happy to help you. Unfortunately, some may try to take advantage of you. If you're not sure about something, don't feel bad about saying I'll get back to you on that. Don't try to take on more than you can just to please them. You will be busy enough with what is required of you. Good luck!
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Old 07-26-2006, 03:07 AM
 
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I agree with the other posters. My whole first week is kinda shot between figuring out which kids actually showed up and when you are going to take them, as well as reading through IEP's. Be careful though I've found that students who came from other school sometimes have IEP's that make no sense. I swear they were meant for another kid. It will have a goal for double digit multiplication and the kid cant add!!! Anyway, I do try and get each kid for a little bit of time that first week to get to know them. Have some simple activities coloring pages, read them a book, ask them questions about their family, etc. You will do fine!! I also teach in a SPED rescource room K-5 only I have 30 kids throughout the day!!! BEWARE: I too started with 12 my first year and somehow three years later I have 30!!!! If you have any questions when you start let me know I would be glad to share ideas with you!
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Old 07-26-2006, 04:51 PM
 
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I also teach resource for grades k - 5. It is good that you are beginning with only 12 students. I have 26 - 30 at any give time.

Your feelings of being overwhelmed is natural. Please don't let you mind get out of control with worried thoughts. As long as you embrace a good attitude of letting yourself make mistakes and learning from them, you will be fine.

Here are a few suggestions off the top of my head:

* IEPs: get to them ASAP to read them over. Make certain to read the entire file. In the beginning, I made the mistake of reading only parts of them. Get very familiar with not only the contents of each but also learn how they are laid out. Do not overlook any modifcations/accomodations written in the IEPs and notify the general ed teachers of them.

* Annuals/Triennials: As you look through the IEPs, jot down when each student's IEP needs updating and whether you will have to do standardized testing. Now, some schools have all their IEP annuals/tris at the end of the year. My school has them throughout the year. There are pros and cons to either way.

* Assessment Tools: Look around the classroom to see what is available. Looking through the IEP files will also help you know which tests your site uses. Do not be afraid to ask your special education director, too!

* Teaching Tools: Again, looking around the classroom will help you see what has been used before. You might not have much of a choice as to what materials you use. For example, I am told to use SRA reading programs. I do; however, I slip in other materials to meet my RSP students' needs.

* Secretaries: They have been my saviors! I treat them very respectuflly, and, they in turn treat me like they are my personal secretaries. They keep me posted all the time about things I need to know. Plus, they give me information that is quite helpful that I didn't even know existed.

* Standards: Get familiar with the standards for each grade level. I have to write standard-based goals for the IEPs. From my understanding, this is the case no matter where you teach in the U.S. But I could be mistaken.

* IEP Forms: If you are not already familiar with them. STUDY THEM! Some of our forms are written in tiny, tiny print. There is so much info on them!!!! At first, I overlooked some parts - important parts.

I hope this gives you some useful info to consider. GM


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resource room?
Old 07-26-2006, 06:17 PM
 
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Help me out here, are we not using the inclusion model? We are practically not allowed to pull-out into a resource room. I also have k-5 and it would be so much easier scheduling if they just came to me. I had 27 at the end of last year which was considered a light load.
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Old 07-26-2006, 06:28 PM
 
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My school is tiny - only 1 class per grade. As far as I know, they will be coming to MY classroom for a good portion of their day. I was told that the old sped teacher did not do any inclusion at all, but it is something that they would "like to try". So I am supposed to set up the schedule of when/how many I want to have at a time, and then schedule time to do inclusion as well. I'm really not sure of what I am supposed to be doing...? I'm hoping to find out more next week when my principal is back at the school.
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Old 07-26-2006, 07:20 PM
 
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Since they said they want to try inclusion, it sounds like you'll be doing some of both. You will more than likely set up schedules with the teachers. You may not have too much choice of times. Usually, if you need to pull out students, you will not do it during their Reading or Math times. If you are working in the classroom it will be during those times. Keep your groups as small as possible. Sometimes when you are in the room, the teachers think you should have more kids because they do. However the kids on your caseload will need more individualized help. The first week, some teachers won't mind that you don't start seeing your kids right away because they are trying to get their classroom management in order then. If you're not working directly with them yet, it may be a good time to stop in and check out the classroom expectations for yourself and meet the kids briefly.
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Old 07-27-2006, 07:49 AM
 
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How great for you. I'm sure you know that pulling kids out of class is not always the best plan (especially the bigger kids...peer embarassment and the fact that even though it's not "supposed" to be during core curriculum time, they "do" miss reg. ed. instruction) and also that there are times where it's the only choice due to the child's severity. This could be a wonderful opportunity for you to co-teach with other teachers using the inclusion model while pulling aside those that really require direct remediation. Change is always hard when people have been doing something a certain way for a long time. I would talk to the teachers and see which ones would be open to you being in their classroom for a couple of periods per day. The benefits can be seen for the whole class, especially if you do groupings within the class during that time.
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Old 07-27-2006, 01:17 PM
 
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This will be my 4th yr teaching, but my first as a K-5 resource. I previously taught self contained. I am so glad to hear I am not the only one a little overwhelmed. It just seems like a daunting task to try to schedule around so many different students' needs and so many different teachers' schedules. But like a previous poster said, I am just trying to keep the attitude that throughout the yr things will change frequently and I will learn as I go. Once I get into the swing of things and get to know the kids I think I will feel more confident. My school also wants me to do pull out and inclusion (whatever fits the needs of the student). As the year progresses we should have regular postings for all resource teachers, with advice, new ideas, etc. Hey we have to be masters of collaboration, right?


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The joys of RR
Old 08-01-2006, 05:18 AM
 
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Last year was my first year taching K-5 Res. Room. According to my studentss IEP, they all had pull out instruction. If you are doing pull out then you are responsable for those subject grades that you teach for those students. If you are doing inclusion then you are not responsable for grading.

Your students IEP's should determine what kind of resource services they get. If they school would like to change things and "try" inclusion... I would double check that that is acceptable. In NJ, program changes cannot be made on a whim... the parent needs to be notified and a new draft of the IEP has to be made and signed by all parties. In the end, it is our job as Res. teachers to follow the IEP's, remember they are a legal binding document.

In terms of scheduling, I found it easiest to find out who all the reg ed teachers were who had my students. I then went to the main office and had copies made for me of those teachers schedules. Based on their schedules I made mine. It is difficult, but it helps to know when they have gym, lunch, art ets. because you can't pull them from those classes unless stated in the IEP.

Be comfortable with the fact that you will mistakes. You aren't perfect, not matter how much you want to be. It was hard for me to grasp at first because my student teaching experience was so drastically different from where I am teaching now.

I have found that book stores like borders, barnes and noble, computer/office supply stores all give discounts to teachers. I know borders is like 20% off anything you use for the classroom (books, cd's tapes, teaching workbooks...) Walmart/Kmart are my saviors! I went there a few weeks back and got pocket folders for a penny each! So, keep your eyes peeled for great deals like that.

I hope you find some of this helpful!

Best of luck.

)
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Old 08-05-2006, 07:58 AM
 
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The first week of school my principal has allowed me to not take students. This week I focus on collaborating with the classroom teachers to work out a schedule for the students coming in and out so I don't have too many students in the room at once...also so they aren't missing something that can't miss from their class. I also spend some time in each students room observing them and collaborating with the teacher to see how this student fits in the classroom and what may need to be modified or accommodated. You will want to make sure you are familar with all of their IEPs. That will dictate how long you have each student per day. Set up assessments to find their benchmark. There may have been regression since last spring. You will need to be able to document that. Then start lesson planning for week 2. If your principal says you must start on day one and you are able to set up a schedule prior to school starting...I planned fairly light the first couple of days...getting to know you activities, teamwork activities if you have students working together, and routine/rules overview...and them of course assessments...otherwise you don't know where to start the students. Good luck! Keep asking questions. This is a great support system.
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Dont be Nervous
Old 08-18-2006, 09:06 PM
 
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You are going to be fine. Nervousness is normal. I get butterflies still and Ive been teaching for 34 years and still loving it. !! There are lots of websites that give ideas for games and things to do during the beginning weeks in school. In our school in Maryland, we do co-teaching. I go into the classroom (thats really their world) and work along with the classroom teacher. Sometimes I take over and teach lessons to the whole class..but I always remember that the classroom is the general ed teachers domain and I follow her lead.
Remember the BREATHE!!! Since you are the only special ed teacher who will chair the special ed meetings??? We have SIT and SST meetings with parents and it requires a leader? Just wondering if u have to do that too?
Relax and have fun with it. Dont take it too seriously and dont take it home with u. Be committed, love those kids, but dont let it stress you and dont take what others say personally. Everbody is on a different journey and comments that they make are from their experiences. Its not about you. Just remember that!!
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