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subasaurus subasaurus is offline
 
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Special education: Too many aides in one room
Old 10-18-2018, 02:15 AM
 
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I was tossed into a high behavior SPED room yesterday via bait and switch.

("Can you go to this other classroom instead of what you signed up for?")

The ratios were insane. 12 kids to 7 teachers. Why on earth do they need that many aides in the room?

Ironically, despite there being seven of us there, the kids were acting up the whole afternoon regardless. One student would not stop tantruming all day and nothing was done about it. One of the aides just continued to go back and forth with the student, causing his anger to escalate.

I left with a horrible headache and feeling upset.

I'm a firm believer of "less is more." The SPED department in this school might want to eliminate some of their staff. Just because there are a lot of teachers in the room, it doesn't mean they know what they're doing. And it sure as heck doesn't mean the students will "behave better."

Quantity over quality is always a bad idea in my book. And yelling at a student with special needs all day certainly won't "fix" their behaviors.

Needless to say I won't be back.


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Old 10-18-2018, 03:25 AM
 
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Uh huh, I stay away from jobs with not enough work. This includes settings where there's enough adults to run the class similar to what you had described. In settings like this, I do realize that there are times when a classroom might have plenty of adults to "support" students and it becomes a social hall. If that's their culture and being a guest, okay but I include that in my notes. And then there are times when there's not enough. This can be a case of too many chefs in the kitchen.
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Old 10-18-2018, 04:29 AM
 
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Getting in ANY student’s face, yelling at them and expecting them to calm down is crazy. I sub in Sped fairly often (but only at one school), and I was a Sped teacher for a few years. I’ve never seen or heard of having 7 teachers with 12 kids,and I agree with you that less is definitely more. Something is “off” in that situation.

Ya gotta love the ol’ bait and switch, aka bend over and smile.
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Old 10-18-2018, 05:04 AM
 
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I consistently sub in a room (as both teacher and an aide) that has 7 adults for 8 students. This a a low functioning middle school SPED room. I find the students benefit from the extra help, and the adults benefit from the support of other adults.
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I am ok with lots of help
Old 10-18-2018, 06:55 AM
 
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Since I do not accept special Ed assignments, yet have occasionally found myself in a situation with special ed kids or put into their classroom, I greatly appreciate as much help as possible!


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Old 10-18-2018, 07:03 AM
 
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If some students have a one-on-one aide, that increases the count. If there is a concern with a student becoming violent or running, it requires extra people. They have to be staffed to handle incidents like that while still keeping whatever minimum staff is required to stay with the other students. Also they have to ensure coverage while aides take their lunches. I've been in a class that I thought was way overstaffed until one student had a severe behavior. Relocating the other students and calming them down over the whole thing definitely required teamwork from all of us.

We are not privvy to the IEPs, and it could well be that that was dictating the (lack of) intervention on a tantrum.


I sometimes work with people who I don't believe handle things right. Not much we can do but get through the day the best we can.

It sounds like this room was just not a good fit for you, and you might mention it to the sub coordinator so she can switch someone else next time.

I think we all have days where we can't wait to get the heck out of there!
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Old 10-18-2018, 05:24 PM
 
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Similar situation, but for a whole day. Literally nothing to do, but stare at the clock or pretend to be doing something. No lesson plan. Nothing. The aides ran the show. I think if I had left no one would have noticed.
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Same thing happened to me yesterday!
Old 10-18-2018, 07:43 PM
 
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Yet, this class, the kids, the main teacher, and the aides, are all so nice and welcoming, I quite enjoy it. But there are times I feel useless. I mean, if each aide is really connecting with each kid, keeping them calm and on task, I say the more the merrier! But if not, then it's just a little silly.
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@yaya
Old 10-19-2018, 02:19 AM
 
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"It sounds like this room was just not a good fit for you"

Staff gossiping and yelling all day while students are out of control...

Nope, not a good fit for me!

Reminder: I didn't sign up for that job
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@subtastic
Old 10-19-2018, 02:22 AM
 
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Exactly. They wouldn't have noticed if I had walked out. They were too busy gossiping, yelling, and getting the kids riled up.

It was a circus to say the least.



Last edited by subasaurus; 10-19-2018 at 02:46 AM..
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Old 10-19-2018, 02:37 AM
 
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You understand my pain.

I've only worked with a maximum of four aides in a room in my life. Seven teachers is excessive, and overstimulating for the kids.

It's obvious to me they're not hiring competent staff at this school if the students are tantruming all day and nothing is being done about it.

If eight adults total can't get twelve children to sit and be calm for a minute, it's definitely a staffing issue.

I was thrown into a circus.
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Old 10-20-2018, 06:53 AM
 
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Remember that you saw a snapshot of one day.
  • There are often IEP's in place that require one-on-one aides for students.
  • Multiple teachers sometimes have to share a space for co-teaching.
  • Aides don't always receive the training they need, so they may lack the skills to deal with behaviors appropriately.

I know it is a PITA to be switched from the assignment you anticipated, but remember to think of it from the school's perspective. Yesterday we did not have enough subs through no fault of our own. We were left with the choice of dividing out students into other classes, multiple teachers covering during planning time, or moving the one sub we did have. The high-maintenance kids are not going to do well with change, so moving them to another room or having different adults each period would be more of a distraction.

Sorry you had a bad day.
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Old 10-22-2018, 11:16 AM
 
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This is not just a response to user Ima Teacher. This is for everyone joining the thread, especially the subs...

I agree with most of your comments... Yep, IEPs. Yep, crazy unexpected events happen. Yep, we need to be open-minded. Definitely true and definitely understandable. Let's face it, we always need to expect the unexpected as subs.

Now, I know this is going to sound really cold: But the school's perspective doesn't really matter to me in this particular instance.

I accepted a lead regular ed job for an AM assignment only, and then was asked to stay for the full day for another gen ed class. I was not informed they were "high behavior students" until after I agreed. Felt very bait and switch.

Literal yelling for an hour from a student that could have been avoided if staff didn't engage and continue to provoke them.

I would have said "Sorry, no thank you" had I'd known the situation in advance.

The way they weren't forward with me (and especially the way they talked to the students) was unacceptable in my view.

As I mentioned previously, I won't be back to this district. I choose to vote with my feet.

I've been subbing for a decade now, I'm quick to detect when I'm probably being taken advantage of, or something feels "off" in a classroom or school environment in general. This classroom was definitely "off," and sadly, my willingness to be flexible didn't matter. No thank you's received.

Just because we're subs doesn't mean we have to take every job thrown at us. In fact, we're always given a choice on aesop. No need for schools to treat us like servants.

Don't be afraid to say "no thank you" sometimes, especially if the job sounds like one you wouldn't be qualified for. I've said no to countless elementary jobs because I'm not very good with first graders. (Just don't say no to a planning period they ask you to cover. Then they'll probably not be too happy with you, lol.)

Remember: "Helping out" sometimes turns into liability!

Sometime it's wiser to avoid getting "banned" from a district and just go home!

Subs: We need to protect ourselves at all times, never forget.

Last edited by subasaurus; 10-22-2018 at 01:01 PM..
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Two things
Old 10-22-2018, 01:18 PM
 
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First, no matter how many aides are present, they need a warm body with a permanent or sub TEACHER certificate. Most paras can do the work and then some. I have one that could control my class better than a sub but she doesn't have the correct credentials yet. For liability purposes, a credentialed teacher or sub has to be there as the teacher of record.

Secondly, they most likely did not intend to trick you or set it up as a bait and switch--they are not out to get you. It was probably legitimately a last minute fill in. They probably needed you more in the high needs room than in the gen ed room.

There were probably other people who got swapped out that day as well and were no more happy about it... There was probably a part time teacher, interventionist, or other support staff who had to cancel their own classes to take the gen ed class for the day. They do get pulled often-- If the support staff has a gen ed degree or cert, they will get that class.

That is part of subbing. No big conspiracy. I subbed for years and now teach. I've seen both sides.
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Old 10-22-2018, 01:37 PM
 
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I didn't say it was a big conspiracy but yes, they may very well have tricked me because someone didn't want to work in that room.

It was a bait and switch. I was there. Staff were passing the buck. Admin were giving off strange vibes. No one had their stories straight.

I've subbed at numerous districts over the decade. I know what odd and normal feel like.

Also, I had my own classroom for a year and also have been an aide, so I've seen both sides of the coin too. Also subbed for ten years.

I don't believe all districts tell the full truth to their subs. Not buying that.

Anyway, I know what I went through, was just looking for some tea and sympathy.

Devil's advocate posts have begun, so I'll leave it at this. Said my piece. I've complained enough.

Happy Halloween all.

Last edited by subasaurus; 10-22-2018 at 01:53 PM..
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Old 10-23-2018, 03:45 PM
 
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Sub in SpEd a lot. Even with very competent aides, there has to be a licensed teacher in the room. I started asking the secretary to email staff that I'm available to correct papers or cut out lamination. This gives me something constructive and helpful to do while still being available to the aides in the room.
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Old 10-23-2018, 04:47 PM
 
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I am sorry--I didn't mean to come across so snarky. I reread it and see I am in the wrong. Of course, you may vent. I was wrong to react like that.

Though I do believe my two points have merit, it was not my intention to disregard your complaints/concerns.

Hope you got your tea. And sympathies.
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The More The Merrier
Old 10-28-2018, 05:19 PM
 
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I would have to disagree. Whenever I have the bait and switch, sped classes are short of adults, so I get put in there praying there will be at least an aide. When the class is short of adults, I have to take full responsibility. I feel much better if there's a few aides and others in the room with the students.
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