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PushInTeacher PushInTeacher is offline
 
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Brand New Push-In Teacher Here Needing Advice
Old 07-07-2017, 07:09 PM
 
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I've been offered a job as a Push-In teacher and I'd love to connect with seasoned special ed/resource teachers who've done this job before I make my final decision.

Frankly, I'm a little scared about it. I need to know the pros and cons.

I am an older teacher, went back to college after my kids were grown. I've 12 years experience teaching in private schools and I have twins myself with autism.

However, during my student teaching, I found that being a push-in teacher was little more than being a glorified para. The teachers don't treat the special education teachers as equals, and don't welcome input.

If you could give me tips, I welcome them! I'd also like to know what your day is like before I sign on the dotted line.

Thanks so much!



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Haley23 Haley23 is offline
 
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Old 07-07-2017, 09:53 PM
 
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I'm an elementary sped teacher, so you may want to take my advice with a grain of salt, but I personally cannot stand pushing in. As you said, you end up being treated like a glorified aide.

In my experience, the gen ed teacher does the teaching and the sped teacher is in charge of modifying work (if that's allowed in your area) and providing accommodations. What that looks like in practice is often the gen ed teacher at the front of the room teaching while the sped teacher floats around the room and redirects kids/keeps them on task/manages behavior and helps kids who raise their hands. I did do a middle school ST assignment in college and this was my experience there also.

I think it can often be even worse in secondary because typically the sped teacher isn't certified to teach the gen ed subjects as well, so there is an "excuse" for the gen ed teacher to be doing all of the "real" teaching. The gen ed teachers are also typically less willing to listen to your suggestions or treat you as an equal because you're not certified in their content area, so they think you don't know what you're talking about (this happens in elementary even though I AM certified in gen ed elmentary also). Are you only certified in sped?

Are there other sped teachers at this specific school you could talk to prior to accepting the position? Last time we hired a new teammate for me, she asked me some questions privately before accepting. I thought that was a smart idea! That would definitely give you a clearer picture of what that specific school is like.

I've also found that in my area, "full inclusion" is all the rage now and there is a huge shift towards pushing in vs. doing pull out/resource. Last time I was job searching I was limited to what I was willing to apply for because I only wanted to do resource. I accepted my current position specifically because it was all pull out. A few years later, my district is now mandating pushing in "as much as possible."

In my area, this is happening in every district so there is really no point in trying to find a different sped job elsewhere. I diligently looked all summer for an interventionist position, but didn't see one single posting for that! Anyway, my point is- if you don't accept this job, what is the probability that you would be able to find a job that's not push in? I feel like even schools who are still doing resource will not be doing so for long.
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Thanks for the reply, Haley23!
Old 07-08-2017, 05:28 PM
 
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You hit the nail on the head in your last sentence. What chances are there of finding any other type of position? None, really. I really wanted an elementary classroom job but apparently so does everyone. The only interviews I've gotten called for are for Special Ed. (I'm certified in Elementary K-6; Special Ed. P-12.)

There is the slight possibility that I could eventually get a Behavior Skills job in that same school. My case load would be only the really difficult kids behavior-wise, but I don't know how that works, do you? Isn't that still push-in? And wouldn't I just be going around putting out fires? I'm not sure.

Full inclusion is great, but a lot of kids need more 1:1 and the older the students, the less likely they are to ask for help. I'm so frustrated and I'm not even teaching yet!

Is there a way to have heart to hearts with gen. ed. teachers before school starts? In my experience, most are very territorial and not open to learning new ways of doing things.

Thanks again for answering me!

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Push In
Old 07-09-2017, 08:04 AM
 
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Sorry, I'm not push in, but I am the regular edu teacher who works with two teachers who push in. It can be challenging. I like to treat my co-teachers like as an equal. During the week, I have three co-taught classes. The teachers are completely different. One really is my "other" half. She will teach part of the class and I will teach the other part. I do make the agenda because we don't have any planning time together. My other co-teacher is more hit and miss. She is in and out of the room a lot. She will teach a little, but prefers to pull kids into small groups. Both teachers are very busy, so they are getting a lot of phone calls, emails, and pages to be someone else when they are supposed to be in my room. It is hard for them because I only have them every other day. So sometimes when we have a special project or longer exam, they will rearrange their schedules to cover this. Since they are not always in the room due to meetings, issues, and training, to the students they do seem like "helpers" at times. I make sure to treat them like teachers who have full authority.

One thing I really like is that both do not "only" help "their" learning support kids. They will help anyone in the class. They take kids out for testing according to IEP requirements, but will allow some other students to join. In middle school, no kid wants to be labelled or made to feel different.

Personally, I feel like our push in teachers are stretched way too thin. Their paperwork and requirements are incredible. Depending on the numbers, they sometimes have their own classes on top of pushing in. Our teachers are actually certified to teach multiple subjects. However, some teach more than others due to the dynamics in the classroom. I think it could be a good job if you don't mind running around a good part of the day. Each teacher in my school is supposed to be teaching the same thing at the same time, however, that rarely ends of happening. Communication is a huge issue. A lot of times we don't really have the time. In addition to just dealing with students and co-teachers, our sped teachers also deal with care aides, speech therapists, vision, and hearing professionals. Oh, they also deal with the psychologists, guidance, and a lot more parents than regular education teachers in middle school do.

It would not be a job I would want, but many of our sped teachers seem to really love it! Most have very close relationships with their kids and the other sped teachers.
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Thanks for the reply, Mshope!
Old 07-09-2017, 04:55 PM
 
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Thank you so very much for replying! Yes, I am a little scared how I'll manage so many responsibilities, but I am hoping my principal will be patient during my learning curve time.

I hope I am paired with teachers such as yourself. As a first-year teacher in that school I know I'll need to kind of go with the flow until I learn the ropes. I don't want to step on toes, but I also don't want to be a pushover.

I'm a nontraditional first year teacher as I'm older. So I'm hoping maybe I'll at least look like I know what I'm doing. . It seems overwhelming and I am obviously going to be on a huge learning journey. My case load will be over 45 kids.

I agree with you that SpEd teachers have way too many responsibilities, but no one but teachers seem to understand that. We need better funding. (I'm a mom of twins with autism, now age 22, so I know a lot about it!)

I do want to create a resource room that's fun and inviting, but I don't think I'll get to use it much, will I?

Thanks again!! I welcome any and all tips on working with gen. ed. teachers!


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Old 07-09-2017, 08:27 PM
 
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Have you already accepted the position? If sped jobs are plentiful in your area and you're comfortable in elementary anyway, I might try to at least get a position at that level. I think there are still many challenges, but at least there are some structures already in place in most elementary classrooms (like a lot of small group teaching) that better lend themselves to "real" co-teaching. I also think it's not really reasonable to expect to be able to do any lead teaching if you're not certified in the content area. I know that personally I just don't remember things like middle school math well enough to just walk in and teach it.

As far as meeting with the teachers, I think it's important to be very clear up front that you expect to be in a teaching rather than a para role. Ask them what they envision co-teaching to be like (if you can, I'd call it "co-teaching" rather than "push in" because this implies more of a teaching role right off the bat). Each of you should talk about your expectations and see what compromises you can make.

Make sure you understand the teacher's rules and expectations for kids before the first day. Ideally, you'd be making these rules together, but assuming you work with multiple gen ed teachers and will only be with each teacher for a small amount of time each day, that unfortunately may not be feasible. You don't want to get in a situation where a kid asks you if they can go to the restroom and you have to say, "I'm not sure, ask Mrs. gen ed teacher" because that sets you up as "not the real teacher" right away. Make sure you introduce yourself as another teacher in the room from day 1. Avoid phrases such as, "I'm here to help you guys out during your English block."
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Old 07-11-2017, 08:18 PM
 
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Haley 23,
All the special ed jobs available are in Middle School and high school. I did accept the position today and it's for Middle School.

I like your ideas about the rules thing. That was a big problem during my student teaching.

I definitely do NOT expect to teach as in teaching the content as a lead teacher. But I would like the opportunity to interact with the students, maybe in stations or something and be able to differentiate and share my ideas. Having said that, I am certified in General Ed. K-6 and I'll have 6th grade students so I would be able to teach the maths, etc. And of course, I'd be able to teach the 7th & 8th grade math due to teaching high abilities math in general ed. during my long term sub position. Even so, there's no way I want to step on toes in a teacher's class. I want to help kids with an IEP succeed.

BUT, I do NOT expect to be "in charge" of a teacher's curriculum/class. I just want to give input and be treated as an equal. I want to be heard if I have an idea of how to differentiate. I guess this is going to put my diplomatic interpersonal communication skills to the ultimate test.

One plus is that the admin. has a background in special ed. so I hope if I have issues she'll help me by giving good advice.

I also like your suggestion to use "co-teacher' language at the first. That's an excellent suggestion!
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Old 07-11-2017, 09:44 PM
 
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Congrats on your new position! It sounds like you're ready to make the best of it. Check out the SPED board as the year goes on...it's not super active during the summer, but more people will post as schools start back up again .
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Where is the sp ed board?
Old 07-12-2017, 04:33 PM
 
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I looked for the Special Ed board but couldn't find it. Can you reply with a link. Thanks so much!
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Here it is
Old 07-12-2017, 07:50 PM
 
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http://www.proteacher.net/discussion...splay.php?f=39


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Old 08-03-2017, 06:09 PM
 
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Hi! I'm a returner to the classroom, as well, and will be a middle school co-teacher. I'm excited and nervous. I last taught from 2000-2002 aside from some preschool teaching.

I feel similarly that it will be hard to jump in content-wise, but I hope I can be an asset to the classroom. I'll be on the SPED forum a lot, I think, so look for me there

Congratulations on landing a position! Hopefully we both are successful and find it rewarding.
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Can teach with a b.a?
Old 08-15-2017, 03:51 PM
 
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I only have a B.A. degree in World Literature. I'am an on call K-12 Substitute Teacher, during the school year. I saw the some of the teachers I subbed for, only had their B.A. degrees and teached regular classes, with no teaching certification or masters degrees. I"am interested in teaching with my B.A. degree, I do not have money for a teaching certificate online or to go back to school. I will appreciate help.
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