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berrygirl berrygirl is offline
 
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Panicking!
Old 07-01-2010, 01:22 PM
 
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Hi all!

I just got my first real teaching job (8th grade Special Ed) and I'm thrilled. However, I just found something out that is terrifying me.

I live in NJ and hold a certificate of eligibility for Sp. Ed. What that means is that I have alt. route certification and can be hired to teach special ed. but haven't gone through the coursework yet. I went through a gen. ed program but not sp. ed. So, I thought that upon being hired I would have something like 3-5 years to complete the coursework. But I just found out that I only have 2 years! It's 8 classes! That's 2 classes per semester and I have to begin immediately.

I'm so nervous. Is that crazy to take 2 graduate level courses right away as a first year teacher? I'm afraid that I'm going to be overwhelmed and it will affect my job performance.

How crazy is it your first year of teaching special ed? Do you think it's humanly possible to do a good job while at the same time taking on graduate courses?



Last edited by berrygirl; 07-01-2010 at 01:56 PM..
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Old 07-01-2010, 01:54 PM
 
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Can't you do some of it during the summer? Another option is that some colleges offer short-term courses between semesters. Before you panic, talk to a couple of colleges and check out the alternatives.
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Don't panic
Old 07-01-2010, 02:35 PM
 
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I did my entire master's program in 14 months (out of financial necessity- I was the sole earner.) Sometimes I had 2 classes, sometimes 3, and I was lucky one summer to be able to take 5!

You CAN do it, you're not nuts, but you may be sleep deprived!


Seriously, I had two little ones, and I would go to sleep when they did, about 8pm unless my class went late, then I would get up at 3:30-4am to do homework, and all day I would work and focus on my school job.

Looking back, I don't know how I did it, but at the time, it was manageable because I HAD to do it! You can, too!
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Good resource
Old 07-01-2010, 06:01 PM
 
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You will be very stressed, but you can do it. I think the courses and professors will be your support group and people you ask for help in your daily teaching. good luck!
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Old 07-02-2010, 04:27 AM
 
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I'm from PA and there are some great programs that are completely online! I would be happy to give you more info if you'd like.

During my first year of teaching I had to complete and defend my thesis. This is my 6th year and I'm finishing my third masters. Yes- I'm a little crazy, but it can be done!

I teach 6th/7th grade (self-contained). What do you know about the position? Do you know what type of class it is (self-contained, co-teaching, learning support, etc) and what subjects you'll be teaching? How many students on your case load?

I would be more than willing to offer some suggestions that I found helpful!


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Old 07-02-2010, 05:46 AM
 
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I'll be teaching 8th grade resource room - L/A and SS. I don't have much information yet. I just found out that I got the job but not too much detail yet other than I'll have about 9 students at a time of varying ability levels throughout the day. As long as we're on the subject, I was just offered the job this week. Any advice as to when I should contact the principal to find out details about my students, curriculum, etc.? I don't want to be pushy but I want to know these things as soon as possible.

If you know of any accredited online programs - please PM me! I have two kids and between them and this new position, I'm really nervous about the amount of time I can devote to finishing up my coursework.
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Old 07-02-2010, 06:19 AM
 
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I did my entire Master's degree in 3 semesters and I started it simultaneously with my first year of teaching. I always made sure I put work first when I felt I had to choose. Those were real kids who needed the best education possible, so I took care of them first. I still made straight A's in grad school and somehow managed to balance a family. (To be literal, it was family first, then work, then grad school!!)

It's a little stressful but it can be done, definitely. I would definitely try to do some of the coursework in the summer and online. You don't have to go to an online school. Most universities have some classes online or "web assisted" so always look for those!
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manageable
Old 07-03-2010, 03:54 AM
 
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Last year was my first year teaching spec ed. I started taking online classes at Indiana Wesleyan University the same time that I started teaching. I had been a gen ed teacher for 11 years, then got a resource (3-5) position. I have taken non-stop classes online since last August. You get some breaks for Christmas, Spring break, 10 days in summer. You have to be organized and disciplined for sure. I have a family with 2 young boys too. The classes are helpful and interesting, but it does get stressful at times with projects. You can do it if you put your mind to it. Good Luck.
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Don't panic Berry Girl...
Old 08-19-2010, 03:10 PM
 
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Hi! I just completed my courses for Spec Ed at Kean. Not sure where you plan to go, but I would highly recommend only taking 1 course per semester during this first year in your Spec Ed position because, while it's manageable, it can be very stressful taking two. Then take 2 (or 3) next summer, 1 during the Fall & Spring again, and finish during the following summer. I took 3 courses over the summer and it was fine. Not much fun when I doubled up during one session, but that's more manageable than doing it while you're working full time. That will be 2 years and help reduce your stress level. I do realize that some people manage it, with families to add, but everyone handles stress differently and I know that I personally need to pace myself to keep from burning out. Good luck!
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