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Monkeyflower Monkeyflower is offline
 
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resource room (pretend choices)
Old 06-11-2022, 07:29 AM
 
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Dear All,

I've been a K-3 resource teacher. I'm hoping to get some perspectives and ideas for an issue that I am having with my principal. He's a nice enough person, and we do get along, and I do well on my evaluations.

I have 5.25 hours of para support split between 2 paras. Among us we do 18-20 groups a day. The paras are either working in the resource room with me or pulling students in the pod or a little room. The point is that we are busy all day along with our groups and moving between groups.

My principal asked me if I would consider doing the upper grades because there's more focus on academics and less on behavior. The upper grade resource teacher has been on medical leave all year, and hasn't said what her plans are for next year yet. However, I don't think she would be happy with switching grade levels.

Yesterday, I told my principal that I wanted to remain with the lower grades, because of the momentum I have already gained with them, and that I thought it was a positive for the students who I had already been working with for years to have someone new.

He hemmed and hawed a bit before implying that the switch may not be a choice, and the issue was how I was not doing enough to oversee and ensure behavior plans get followed in 1st grade. He thought that I should have things running so smoothly with my groups that I should be able to leave a group instantly without interrupting any learning to go deal with a child who is blowing out. I can do a quick transition if I have paras in the room at the time, but I can't leave students alone for unknown amounts of time while I deal with a situation. He claimed that lots of other resource room teachers are able to do that.

If that is true, can someone give me some pointers. Also, what responsibility do core teachers bear in following the behavior plans? If they are not following them, or communicating with me when there are problems, what can I do to make it better? Currently, I am the one who does all the majority of checking in with teachers, and it has always been that way.

This has been making me think about how I can tighten up my program in terms of teacher communication, behavior plan follow through, data collection, and efficiency.

Your thoughts and ideas?


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Old 06-11-2022, 02:45 PM
 
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Hang on, your principal thinks that if you're in the middle of teaching a small group and another student is having a behavior issue in another class.. you should be able to leave your group to deal with it AND the small group will keep "learning?" Dear lord, what planet is he on???

Seriously. No. That's not how it works. Yes, sometimes our learning center teacher has to deal with a behavior, so her small group gets sent back to their class. But behavior plans should be written so that the gen ed teacher can deal with the student most of the time, and someone else is the back up. That might be you, but it could also be someone from the office/counselor/etc. When you constantly have to be sending small groups back to their class those teachers will not appreciate you being pulled away. Use this to your advantage. Document the time you are not able to provide the specially designed instruction your students are required to have on their IEPs. If necessary also use the documented time to advocate for more resources for the student having the behavior issues.

We all know that teachers are stressed and when we give them more "stuff" to fill out it's not often met with tears of joy. But, talk with them about how documenting behaviors can help advocate for more resources. Make a super easy to use data sheet that they can tick whenever there's a behavior that you're tracking.

Your principal is nuts. Also, switching a teacher out on medical leave without talking to her first is just shady and rude. I'm so sorry.
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Old 06-11-2022, 03:00 PM
 
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I'm in agreement with pdx. I have had certain groups of students who happened to be extremely well behaved, and hypothetically it's likely nothing would have happened if I left the room. I would still never dream of it for liability reasons. I also do K-3 and my interventions/lessons are very teacher-directed- systematic, direct instruction is required. It's not physically possible for "learning to continue" if I leave the room.

If your P is claiming other resource teachers are doing this, I would ask him to put you in touch with those people so you can talk to them about what it looks like. Possibly even observe. I would also bring up concerns about a) liability issues if something happens when you're out of the room b) not meeting IEP minutes/not providing services as listed on the IEP. If your service delivery statement is detailed enough, it's not going to "count" to just have students sitting in the resource room.

Under my previous P, as a sped teacher I was expected to be "on call" for severe behaviors in the building, even if they weren't my official caseload students. If I got a call for support, I was expected to send the students I was seeing back to class (or, not pick up my next group of students) and attend to the behavior issue. When I pushed back, my P acted like I was crazy and said, "We can't ignore a child in crisis (the student having a behavior meltdown)." The state checks up on paperwork being completed, not minutes being met, and our parents wouldn't know to complain. Even the rest of my sped team didn't see a problem with this. I was the only one constantly advocating for actually meeting IEP minutes.

I was younger/less experienced then, and coming off of an experience in a previous school where the P hated/targeted me, so when my protests were ignored I went along with it. If this happened now, I would email P and sped director "for clarification" and state my concerns about IEP services not being provided as required by the law. Absolute worst case scenario, it gives documentation if they make you do it anyway and try to throw you under the bus if something happens. If you have a union, I'd also reach out to them. They may not understand the IEP services piece, but they can certainly understand liability/safety issues with leaving K-3 students in a room unsupervised.

Thankfully when my current P came in 5 years ago she put a complete stop to that. She and my AP were SHOCKED that I used to be pulled from instruction to handle behavior. My current P is the only one of the four I've worked with who cares at all about IEP minutes actually being met. I'm not even CPI trained anymore!
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Principals Don't Get It
Old 06-11-2022, 04:36 PM
 
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I have worked with several administrators and I don't think even one of them has truly understood special education law. Classroom teachers rarely understand what special education teachers do either. Everyone thinks we can drop what we're doing at the drop of a hat. My first year in special education I fought against being pulled to support students not on my caseload. Personally, even if it means someone misses their minutes, I want to be called if one of my students is having a meltdown. Often I am one of a very select number of adults who can actually deescalate them. When I am not called often the situation spirals further out of control, the student is sent home, spends the remainder of the day in the office, gets more escalated and does things they can't take back, etc. I also sometimes have my students be allowed to essentially do whatever they want by whoever deals with it which of course makes behaviors worse down the road. Recently I've struggled with getting anyone to even tell me what has happened with my students. I'll be told they do not need a behavior plan but then they are spending large chunks of their day in the office, getting sent home and/or getting suspended. If I miss groups I make them up the best I can. Sometimes this means I pull two groups at once and we do some sort of review game. I try to document these incidents so that I can bring them up at meetings to get students more support. This all said, the classroom teacher should be implementing most of the behavior plan. We've struggled this school year because due to the substitute teacher shortage we got essentially no collaboration time with classroom teachers. It's hard for teachers to be prepared and know what to do without time to meet.
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Sounds crazy to me
Old 06-12-2022, 03:31 AM
 
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I'm a resource teacher and when one of my students is melting down, learning stops. Even the kids who can do the assignment somewhat independently are too distracted. Imagine if you were at a PD workshop and someone starts yelling at the back of the room - are you going to listen to the presenter or watch the entertainment in the back? The best you can do is to address the behavior issue firmly and try to get the class back on track as quickly as possible but the class is going to be sidelined until then.
Regarding behavior plans, I think it takes the efforts of both the special ed and general ed teachers to communicate and stick to the plan. My students have an assistant in the gen ed class that fills in the behavior charts the periods I'm not with them. It may need to become a routine, like every day at lunchtime or the end of the day the teacher sends you an email. Maybe they can photocopy or take a picture of the behavior chart at the end of the day and send it to you. Both parties are responsible for educating the children, though, so both parties should be held accountable for communication.


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Monkeyflower Monkeyflower is offline
 
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thank you all
Old 06-12-2022, 09:57 AM
 
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Dear All,

I'm ever so grateful for your responses. I used to post here all the time some years back as Blueheron, but have long ago lost my old login info. Anyhow, I knew that I could count on thoughtful responses to my issues.

My principal is on another planet a lot of the time. He's one of these golly-gee-I-messed-up-but-I'm-human types, but YOU go clean up my mess. I'm not opposed to changing grade levels, although it is not my preference. The resource teacher on medical leave would be very upset to have to move grade levels. My principal's argument is that one is not guaranteed to return to the same position or even the same school after a leave of absence.


The dropping the group thing is completely beyond reason when I am alone with a group. Expecting the paras to always be running their groups in my room is also not reasonable.

A several of other elements to this situation are these grade students who are now on my caseload have brand new IEPs as in May/June. The counselor and behavior technician have been the ones supporting while the cogs on the tier processes move along. They are the ones the core teachers and those students are used to. Adding me to the mix is something that we are all figuring out. I have not been part of the communication chain about students I haven't worked with, and it can be hard for the counselor and behavior tech to let go. That means that communication lines and whose in charge of what can get really murky.
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Old 06-12-2022, 01:38 PM
 
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I wouldn't voluntarily move grade levels. I would explain my reasoning to the P and leave it at that. If he makes it a directive, not much you can do, but I would make him take that step and not just give in voluntarily. At least in my building, K-3 and 4-6 are totally different jobs. K-3 is a lot more about direct teaching of foundational skills, and 4-6 is more about helping students access gen ed instruction. Does the current intermediate teacher have advanced knowledge in science of reading to be able to do this type of instruction? If not, that's something I'd mention in my reasoning. Most of the intermediate teachers I've worked with have not had this knowledge.

My P has mentioned several times wanting me to do all reading K-6 and the other sped teacher do all math. It doesn't work for a variety of reasons. Once I laid those all out, thankfully my P backed down. She brought it up again this year (this is what our interventionists will be doing). I explained again why it doesn't work. She backed down again.
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Old 06-12-2022, 02:26 PM
 
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Don't you have a duty of care? If I left a class or group unsupervised, my professionalism would be seriously questioned and, depending on the result, my job could be at risk. We aren't even meant to leave a group unsupervised with an aide, although that definitely happens.
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