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Ignorance is not bliss...
Old 12-27-2011, 09:33 AM
 
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Hello All!

I started teaching half way through last year and was thankful for the early experience. I felt that having my first year half as long helped me refine it for the next year quickly. However, I feel like I am always behind and that this year I am being asked to do too much. My frustration at the moment is that I can't decide if it is me making the task of teaching more difficult or if I genuinely have a difficult road and need to get more support from my administration. Being a new teacher I am ignorant as to what a "normal" load should look like and if there is too much being asked of me now.

This year I have 4 special ed. students and 3 on RtI. I only get in class support 30 minutes a day twice a day. All 4 of my special ed. students require me to read directions out loud, so I usually have my entire class listen as a read directions, etc. Two of my special ed. students also require one-on-one assistance all day. I usually try to link them with a peer buddy, so that I can help my other students that are struggling. However, I feel that the difference in rigor between 1st and 2nd grade is creating a divide with these students that my other students can't be held back for. I have their ARD's coming up and I feel like nothing is going to change. We have a new special education liason this year and going to her hasn't gotten me very far, as she is still trying to figure out her position. Am I asking too much if I wanted a co-teach? Or at least someone to help my autistic students all day? I student taught in a class equal to mine and there was a my mentor teacher, a co-teacher and one person for one-on-one support with a particular student. I'm assuming the budget cuts won't allow for this same thing in my classroom.

My schedule is pretty ridiculous as well with students in and out all day long for pull out programs and I feel like some students are getting left behind. How do you catch students up that are missing instruction without taking away from the higher students that are ready to move on?

8:00-8:30: Students 1 & 2 gone (conflicts with spelling)
9:00-9:30: Students 2 & 3 gone (conflicts with writing)
*I pull 1 of my RtI students at this time*
10:00-10:30: ICS reading (for Students 1 & 2)
10:00-11:00: Students 3 & 4 gone (in place of reading/conflicts with science)
*I pull reading groups and 2 of my RtI students at this time*
11:00-12:00: Lunch/Recess
12:15-12:45: Students 3 & 4 gone (conflicts with social studies)
1:00-1:30: ICS math (for Students 1 & 2)
1:30-2:00: Students 3, 4, 5, & 6 gone (conflicts with independent math work)

As if teaching effectively and surviving my day is not enough, I still have to carve out time to keep up with all of the paperwork for RtI as well as accomodations for special education and am currently burried in that as well. Please do not take this post as complaints, because I genuinely have a very hard-working, respectful classroom...I am just overwhelmed with the situation at hand.

I have already been thinking that maybe the problem is me and that I am just not cut out for this profession. Do you have any advice? Or has anyone ever overcame a situation like this? I can't shake the feeling that I am not being effective for all of my students all of the time and it is driving me crazy.


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Old 12-27-2011, 09:53 AM
 
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I don't think any teacher ever feels that they are being effective all of the time for all of students. It's too bad education didn't have more money because one on one would be wonderful! I think you just have to do what you can, with what your school gives you. Believe me it is not just you...I think every teacher feels this way! Hang in there. The first year is tough!
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Sounds normal!
Old 12-27-2011, 04:47 PM
 
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You sound like you are doing a FABULOUS job! I am a first year teacher, and I have a lot of the same things you do. I have 3 special ed. students, 1 more whose mom refuses all special ed. support...so of course I have to implement a variety of accomodations/modifications because it's not the girl's fault the mom won't let her receive pull out support, 3 ELL students, 3 students on learning plans (plans our school has for those not on IEPS), 3 pulled out for math support, 3 pulled out for reading support, 4 on behavioral modification plans, 3 who are EBD but parents refuse EBD support (we do not have EBD at our school, these students are supposed to go to another school for EBD but parents refuse), reading levels literally from grade 1 to grade 12 and beyond, etc, etc. etc. I have an aid 3 days a week for 1 hour, but honestly, all she does is sit on her laptop and play computer games or correct papers from another teacher...oh and she just waits until I make even the slightest mistake or do something different than another teacher and she jumps in and corrects me

What has helped me get more accomplished with my kiddos is doing all small group stuff. Yes, it is WAY more work for me, but with kids being pulled constantly and such a diverse range of learners, this is what I need to do to accomplish everything and what my kids need to learn at their appropriate level. I have tasks/menus of what students can do while I am working with a small group, then I teach a lesson (usually about 20 minutes but depends on the subject) to a small group while everyone else works on independent tasks designed for their level. Groups are different for every subject and lesson/unit/chapter...they are based on a pre-test, my observation, other teacher input, etc. There were behavioral problems at first, but once expectations were really established and enforced, things have been running very smoothly. It takes time, but I have found it well worth it. Now, if I had a husband and kids, there would be no way I could do all this work, but I live alone and have no one, so hey, that's my life
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Thanks so much!
Old 01-01-2012, 06:49 PM
 
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Thank you both for your help...I actually sat down and rearranged my schedule today. We already do small groups for reading and spelling. I started the year doing small groups for math but thought it was too hard to monitor the other 2 groups when I was working with the one, however I decided to go back to that. I feel a lot better hearing from people and I guess there is joy in company. I know that this is the career path God has for me, but I never dreamed it would be this hard. That doesn't mean I need to give up, and I am hopeful that through prayer this year will be even better. I will be praying for both of you and I will let you know how the small group math lesson works. I have made the decision to get better organized and to revamp my library to help us start fresh. I am very thankful for the respectful, sweet students that I have been blessed with this year as well! Here's hoping my new schedule will be approved and will work better.

Thanks again!
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