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musicmeg222 musicmeg222 is offline
 
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musicmeg222
 
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Frustrated as a new special ed teacher
Old 04-04-2019, 11:10 AM
 
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I am a new special ed teacher and am just finishing my third week teaching 6th grade at a middle school. I took over for a teacher who had to leave in the middle of the year. I don't want to complain too much during this post, but I really don't know what to do.

I do have a new teacher mentor, but she is helping out new teachers at 15 different schools. Seems to me like the district needs to find more mentors. I meet with her once weekly, but this week was unable to since I wasn't at my school campus - I had a training that day. I contacted her to let her know I need help with IEP writing and lesson planning. She told me to ask one of the other special ed teachers at the school. We normally have a class period where the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade special ed teachers meet together to discuss IEP meetings or other various information. Yesterday during our weekly staff meeting, the principal cancelled our class periods where we meet with other teachers until the middle of April. We need to use this time for planning instead. It's difficult for me to meet with the other special ed teacher to ask about her lesson plans since we don't have the same planning period. I was also just informed that lesson plans are due every Monday morning by 8am. There is a format that we need to follow and it needs to be completed and submitted by 8am. I'm not even sure how to decide what I want to teach, have no idea how to find the state standards we should be following, or even completing this lesson plan form that needs to be submitted.

I also have a few upcoming IEP meetings where I need to complete IEPs beforehand. I'm STILL unsure of how to complete IEPs and enter the information into the software system. I was supposed to receive an IEP training before I started, but I needed to fill the position as soon as I could since the students have had subs for awhile. I also started toward the end of the year, so I didn't receive this training. IEPs are official, legal documents. I can't really just guess on how I'm supposed to complete everything and then hope it's correct. On top of all this, there are two new students who came to my school in the last few weeks and was told by the psychologist yesterday that two more new students are coming in. That's 4 new IEPs that I need to figure out how to do as transfers.

I'm going to contact my mentor again and see if she can assist me. If not, I'm hoping to find another one. I may have to call the district office to see who might be available.

I really enjoy teaching the students and making sure they learn and meet their goals, but I'm very frustrated. I just don't know what to do.


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Old 04-04-2019, 03:07 PM
 
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When I moved to Sped I had a similar problem. I had a AR before any training on the system. I finally called someone who walked me through the system at night when we were at home and it was quiet with no distractions.

I was able to ask questions and write an IEP all the way through. It was wonderful. Do you have a colleague who would be willing to do that for you? Thatís really all you need (learn the system).

As for the mentor, she has too many mentees. Thatís a systemic problem.
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Old 04-04-2019, 03:45 PM
 
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Yes, you definitely need help.

You can probably find the standards on the state board of education website. There may even be a link on the district website. It's worth checking.

As far as lesson plans go, you might ask other special ed teachers if they would be willing to share with you the format they use. I used an excel spreadsheet with boxes set up for each thing I was required to include. For each lesson I had a box for topic, objectives/standards, procedure, resources, and assessment.
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Old 04-04-2019, 04:06 PM
 
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Buy dinner or happy hour for one of the other sped teachers and ask them your questions then. Or ask someone to meet you for 20 minutes in the morning and bring them the Starbucks drink of their choice. If none of the teachers you work with are willing to do this, email other 6th grade sped teachers in the district. I'd take pity on you if I got an email like that. My district has several schools with only one sped teacher and I've unofficially mentored new teachers from other buildings before. I'd start with sped teachers, but if you have no luck there other service providers (SLP, OT, Psych, etc.) would also at least be able to help you out with the IEP system.

If you have no luck with any of this, I'd email the sped director and your principal stating your concerns about being untrained on the IEP program and ask them to provide you with training. That way, at the very least you have a paper trail stating that you asked for help prior to the IEP meetings, and you cover yourself if something ends up being entered wrong and they try to throw you under the bus.

You can easily google the state standards. I would ask the other sped teachers in the building if you can see what their plans look like so you at least have an idea to go off of. Obviously you're not going to just use theirs since it's a different grade level, but you can kind of see what it's supposed to look like.
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Drained...
Old 04-07-2019, 02:07 PM
 
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I'm working on my required lesson plans right now, so I can have them sent this evening and not have to worry about them tomorrow morning. I didn't think it would be as hard as it is. I'm filling out the template form and hoping it will be okay.

Between teaching lessons for special ed resource and going into various classrooms for inclusion assistance, IEP meetings, and running around the school campus, I'm exhausted! I would really like to use the weekend to relax and not think about teaching-related things, but instead, I'm spending my weekend creating lesson plans, grading papers, and trying to work on IEPs.

I'm not really sure how long I want to do this for. I'm just really, really bummed and frustrated about not receiving the help I should be.

Wish me luck. I'll need it....


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