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93783224 93783224 is offline
 
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What would you do? - long
Old 12-20-2014, 10:15 AM
 
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I'm debating whether or not I should go talk to our SpEd director or not. We have a new teacher in our Life Skills program. She is truly struggling with what to do. She has four students, two full time aides, and one part time (so at times there are four adults in the classroom). One of her assistants voiced concern because she said, "all we do in there is play and do arts and crafts, there's no instruction going on." She was assigned a mentor, plus there is a district mentor. District mentor is very seldom in SpEd classes, more regular classroom teachers, so campus mentor has tried to help by sharing her lesson plans so she can see what they look like and how to plan.... she just copied and did what that teacher was doing

District admin have come in and attempted to help set up centers, lessons - she tries while they are there, but when they leave she doesn't carry through.

Their current schedule is circle time in the morning, then independent work for the four (they have their own work bins with their assignments for the day) and then they do some type of craft/activity. After that they go to lunch, then PE. They are back from PE at 1:30 - from 1:30 until 3:00 dismissal, they do nothing but play! The problem with this, there are two children in there who can not function in that type of unstructured play - and they end up running all over the room, knocking things over, getting worked up and won't follow directions... and she just goes and sits at her computer and leaves the aides to take care of them... and the aides are getting fed up with it. I have witnessed this personally last week when I walked into the classroom and the students were everywhere. I commented to one of her aides (she wasn't in the room) that they need something to do, the reason they get rowdy and run is because they literally have nothing to do. The aide replied, "Yes, we know that, but she (teacher) said she can't figure out how to have enough stuff for them to do for a whole day." I talked to her mentor teacher yesterday, who is afraid they are going to blame her for not helping (even though she is trying), and she told me the same thing - that she said she doesn't know how to plan enough to take up the whole day...

I've been in this district MANY years, and feel comfortable going and talking to the director and tell her she needs help, not to try to get her in trouble, but the girl SERIOUSLY needs help!! She only has four kids right now, two of whom have been out the last week so TWO students, and she still can't manage them. I think she has good intentions, but she is becoming so frustrated that is starting to yell at the kids (I've heard it, parents have heard it and complained in the cafeteria, other teachers have heard it). If you were me, would you contact the director and let her know the girl is struggling and NEEDS more supervision/mentors/something!?


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gradymidget gradymidget is online now
 
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Old 12-20-2014, 10:39 AM
 
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Does your principal do walk-throughs? To me, it is the rsponsibility of your administrator and the district administrators to handle this. Although you are concerned, unless you are sharing a student with this teacher, I don't feel you should be contacting anyone. I am sure they are aware of what is happening. Or the aides should be going to administation, but not you.
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93783224 93783224 is offline
 
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Old 12-20-2014, 11:03 AM
 
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This campus is under new administration due to low test scores and other issues, and principal's primary concerns are regular classrooms in general, and testing grade levels specifically. Classes that don't effect those scores are not high on the priority list right now, so as long as no one is complaining, no one is looking or bothering.

Aides have contacted admin, but with the exception of one, they are new also, and are very unsure about what to do, and have said they don't want it to look like they're calling to tattle - literally teacher and both aides started on the same day, two or three weeks after school started, until then the class was being run by three subs... it's just been chaotic.

I do not share a student with her, but I am frequently in the classroom because one of my other jobs is technology, so I have been in to help with printer, programs, gradebook/planning software, etc. She comes to me for help with that sort of thing... and even commented once that she has to evaluate her older students, and asked how am I supposed to do that? I told her, you just have to evaluate them at the level they are, find a way to address those standards at their level. And when I asked her what level are they working at, she told me "infant." I've been in there enough to see they aren't "infant" level...

Would it be appropriate for me, just in conversation when she's complaining about how out of control they are, that it would help if they had more structured lessons all day long, and that I'd be happy to help her plan some if she's interested?? Would that be better?
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How is she connected? Hard to fill job?
Old 12-20-2014, 12:18 PM
 
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I like the idea of waiting for her to bring it up in conversation. Then I would offer suggestions. Just suggestions, don't do it for her or give her materials.

I am guessing this is a hard to fill position and that admin just wants a body in there. She may also be related to someone within the district or may have taken this job until a resource position opens up.

As far as the parents and aides, many complain when the teacher IS doing a good job, so, unfortunately, when the teacher is struggling, it may not be taken seriously.
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Old 12-20-2014, 04:27 PM
 
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Well, she claims connection - her parents know someone in district, not related to anyone. It was a VERY hard position to fill, it requires some special certification, at least two before her were considered on condition of passing the certification test, and failed it. Then the ONE assistant who was assigned to the class quit before school even started because she didn't want to be in that class. And third, before they finally found a teacher and new assistant - they got a new student who was profoundly deaf and partially blind and in a wheelchair - so they now needed two assistants. You can see the dilemma. You are correct in the assumption that as long as there is a warm body in there and no one is having to intervene, no one cares. The assistants are wonderful, better with the students than the teacher is. I've never heard either of them lose their patience or yell at the kids, but I have heard the teacher screaming at the kids when she gets frustrated. This is her first full time teaching assignment, she has done long term sub positions since she graduated and I really don't think she had any idea what she was getting into.

Thanks for your suggestion, I'll be sure to have some ideas to suggest next time she starts venting.


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Old 12-26-2014, 07:42 AM
 
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This sounds like a difficult job to do if it is a new teacher and a new class. Plus I think Life Skills is hard to do (my opinion).

It is nice of you to want to help as obviously she is floundering. A lot of times schools do not prepare you for this type of class or assume you have some program that covers the day. I have a license in this area but did not feel adequately prepared when I started to teach as they assumed you had a huge budget and programs that covered every student need (ha, welcome to the real world).

It sounds like she has some materials - does she need more and have a budget for them? Could you give her some extra materials or give her a catalog? Is there a program for these students in your district that she doesn't know about?

It is hard to know what to suggest since I don't know the kids' levels. Do they have IEP goals they could be working on in the afternoon?

I agree the admin should be involved but they often don't care about this type of classroom. The mentor needs to help her on a more detailed level if she doesn't have any ideas of her own - she may need to start with something prepared for her.

This teacher obviously needs more hands-on help than she is getting. Whether or not that is right, that is the way it is. At first she needs help filling that afternoon time. Could the kids do literacy (she reads a book to them and they answer easy questions with picture boards), shape bingo or color bingo...is PE the only special they have - seems like they would benefit from music also.
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