Advocating vs. Complaining - ProTeacher Community




Home Join Now Search My Favorites
Help


      Special Education

Advocating vs. Complaining

>

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Haley23 Haley23 is offline
 
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 5,790
Senior Member

Haley23
 
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 5,790
Senior Member
Advocating vs. Complaining
Old 08-02-2018, 04:39 AM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #1

I'm sure I can't be the only one who has experienced sped being ignored/forgotten, or simply not seen as being as important as gen ed. I am a reserved person by nature and when I was a newer teacher, I was more the "go along to get along" type.

Within the past couple of years, I have gotten more comfortable and confident with my position and have spoken up more. However, I would say that I do still think carefully about what's a hill I'm willing to die on and what I can let go.

We got a new P last year and without writing a novel, I'll just say that IMO she has extremely high expectations for sped. As such, I felt like I had to put my foot down on some things- lack of materials/resources, not meeting minutes because I was being pulled for severe behaviors, etc.

In some ways, my "complaints" were heard and things did improve. The issue is, I feel like I've also developed a reputation as being a "complainer" or being negative. The SLP that I work with never asks for anything (she's completely under the radar as far as expectations/data goes, so IMO she's not in the same position as me) and the P would just go on and on about how wonderful and "positive" she was, even to the point of saying, "I wish everyone had SLP's attitude." At most, I got, "Thank you for your dedication to our sped program."

How do you find a good balance between advocating for your department and students and not being seen as a whiner, especially when just being "under the radar" isn't an option? My P wants to "focus" on sped this year .


Haley23 is offline   Reply With Quote

WGReading's Avatar
WGReading WGReading is offline
 
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 736
Senior Member

WGReading
 
WGReading's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 736
Senior Member

Old 08-02-2018, 07:24 AM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #2

As an instructional coach and literacy coordinator, I have to advocate for literacy with my principal, and I also hear requests/complaints/viewpoints from teachers as the person who addresses them and works with teachers on how to approach our principal with concerns sometimes.

2 main things that I think are important:
* Have a rationale that is backed by best practices and/or data
* Come with a suggested solution, even though it may not ultimately be the one chosen

Complaining does not include a solution. If you have concerns but can offer an idea or two for how to improve or address the situation, then it becomes problem solving or advocating.

When I go to my principal with an issue, I always think ahead of time about a possible solution so I can suggest it as an idea. Sometimes that means saying, "one idea I have is _____, but I think we can probably come up with something better".

If you are worried about being viewed as a complainer by people other than your administrator, then I would say you should probably evaluate who else you are talking to about your concerns, and whether those conversations are helpful towards the problem solving. If your concerns are administration level, then try to be careful to only discuss them with your administrator, and maybe a close colleague or two who can help keep you sane. For me, it's hard to do that sometimes because I have an urge to want people to understand me or the things I'm doing, but ultimately it isn't their business and can open up the door to drama.
WGReading is offline   Reply With Quote
WalkDontRun WalkDontRun is offline
 
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 331
Full Member

WalkDontRun
 
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 331
Full Member

Old 08-02-2018, 08:03 AM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #3

I have become much better over the years in advocating for my contractual rights as a teacher on certain issues. I now refuse to give up my contracted planning time to deal with behaviors, etc. unless there are extenuating circumstances such as admin being out of the building. No other teachers are expected to give up their planning time or lunch--they would grieve it so quickly with the union. I have the same contract and pay the same union dues. I was a martyr my first few years as a special Ed teacher and came close to total burnout!

I am also careful like you about choosing the hills I'm willing to die on. I try not to complain about meetings and professional development that aren't relevant to my position. I also just suck it up with the ridiculous number of meetings we attend or hold as special education teachers.

I have become more vocal about the challenges of meeting the needs of my students. Some might consider this as complaining but administrators and general Ed teachers need to understand the constraints that I teach under. Most of my groups are too large to provide the individualized instructions my students need to make progress. I often have two different groups at the same time and students have to work independently as I rotate groups. I was able to get a full time paraeducators last year because I continued to speak up on behalf of my students and my sanity--plus I was way over caseload cap!

I work with a fabulous SLP, but it does frustrate me how she is able to fly under the radar. She is supportive but doesn't completly get the pressure resource teachers are under so I do try to limit my venting to her.

My advice is to continue advocating for the important things for your students and yourself--sounds like you are already doing that! I am sorry for the pressure you are feeling as your principal "focuses" on special Ed this year. It seems like it's no longer enough to show that your students can learn and grow even if they don't meet increasingly high standards.
WalkDontRun is offline   Reply With Quote
ElemSped13 ElemSped13 is offline
 
Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 569
Senior Member

ElemSped13
 
Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 569
Senior Member

Old 08-02-2018, 02:56 PM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #4

I have also grown into the role and will easily advocate for my kids. I agree that it is not complaining if you offer solutions and it sounds like you are doing that.

The only suggestion I would have is to change the wording or framework. Agree when you can but throw it back on her. I would love to implement X for you, we will need x,y, and z to make that happen. I can take behaviors during this hour but then where are you going to move my plan? She probably just wants a yes person but we both know that is not realistic. Keep looking out for your kids and your needs.
ElemSped13 is offline   Reply With Quote
Haley23 Haley23 is offline
 
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 5,790
Senior Member

Haley23
 
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 5,790
Senior Member

Old 08-04-2018, 12:37 AM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #5

Thanks everyone for the advice. I do try to offer solutions and that is how some of the issues got better, but with other issues it just fell on deaf ears.

Quote:
I have become more vocal about the challenges of meeting the needs of my students. Some might consider this as complaining but administrators and general Ed teachers need to understand the constraints that I teach under. Most of my groups are too large to provide the individualized instructions my students need to make progress.
This is my biggest "complaint" that I feel like is not being heard at all. We have more title 1 staff than sped staff, so they're often able to actually provide more/better interventions. Teachers were fighting tooth and nail to get kids on an IEP so they could move from a 3 student, 45 minute title 1 group into my 6-8 student, 30 minute group. No one gets it. They think there is some "magic sped thing" that is happening in my room that somehow makes it better for kids to be there.

While I did get curriculum and resources last year, which I was appreciative of, title 1 uses the same curriculum. So it's very frustrating for me that I'm suddenly expected to get the kids to make growth with the same materials, a larger group, and less time.

I feel like a broken record with this issue and I know some people, including admin, got frustrated when I continued to bring it up. But I don't feel like I can just let it go- as part of my evaluation, I'm responsible for my kids making one year's growth.

Under ESSA, title 1 teachers can meet sped minutes and I keep proposing that we really work together on making sure the identified students get the smallest group and the most time- at least something more than they got pre-sped referral, even if it's not me that has the smaller groups.

I feel like towards the end of the year, my P started to finally understand the concept that the IEP isn't some magic piece of paper, but I'm not sure about her "solutions." At the end of the year she kept talking about wanting us to push in .

After doing some reflecting, I think I am such a quiet person by nature, especially around admin or in big meetings, that I tend to really speak up in those settings only if something feels really important to me. I could see how might be construed as "only complaining." I'm going to make an effort this year to be more vocal about the good things too and hope that makes a difference. In 1:1 meetings with admin, I always do say I'm willing to try whatever ideas they have, but I often feel like just b/c I'm a sped teacher they're expecting me to have all of the ideas!


Haley23 is offline   Reply With Quote

Join the conversation! Post as a guest or become a member today. New members welcome!

Reply

 

>
Special Education
Thread Tools




Sign Up Now

Sign Up FREE | ProTeacher Help | BusyBoard

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:18 AM.

Copyright © 2019 ProTeacher®
For individual use only. Do not copy, reproduce or transmit.
source: www.proteacher.net