A place for teachers and other providers of special education services to support each other, share information, and discuss topics, including assessment.

changing from special education to regular education

Andrea Teacher, 5th grade

Hi All!
Has anyone transferred out of spec. ed. to reg. ed.? I am thinking of trying to do so and wonder what others' experiences have been. I really would like to hear others' perspectives.

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Cross Categorical/self-contained - Teacher

My son was in Self-contained

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My son was in Self-contained for 6 years and then moved into GE for some subject areas with accommodations and modifications to the curriculum. (e.g. highlighted text, notes from the teacher or note taker, modified assignments). By highschool he took regular GE classes with continued support and accommodations. (e.g. for research projects he worked with a partner and did the artwork and talked about what the found out.)

I have found that if intensive interventions are provided early enough then it is more likely for students who may have OHI/ADHD/SLD/SED diagnosis may be able to be successful with the rigor of the GE curriculum. I think it is important that the student be functioning at grade level or pretty close to grade level standards without support and with minimal accommodations. The progress will need to be well documented in order to avoid potential issues (e.g. after 6 weeks the parents, teacher(s), or the student find that it is not an appropriate placement. You don't want to see it fail with the potential for a fair hearing or lawsuit. A transition plan can be written into the current IEP and once the student is no longer receiving SPED support for more than 2 hours a day and is making benchmarks/SOLs for the grade level then you might transition to resource only. At the following IEP if the student has maintained/gained skills that meet grade level expectations then resource can either exit the student or provide support in the areas of need. My feeling is to set the student up for success.

A few of my colleagues have

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A few of my colleagues have transferred out to regular ed. Most say it is easier, less stress, alot less paperwork. Since they have dual certification, they can be asked by the district anytime to take on a special ed class. (Also be aware that when you change your teaching area you have to re-earn tenure in your new area. You also lose any seniority you may have earned. Check with your union.) Good luck.

Middle school teacher-librarian in the Bronx, NY

My principal is switching me

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My principal is switching me from special education to general ed and I'm not particularly happy about it. He's doing it because we are losing special ed population and there is a powerful movement to put sped students in inclusion classes. That means we don't need as many sped teachers.

While it is true that I don't have to write IEPs for the 12 students I would have as a sped classroom teacher, I now have over 100 students in three different grades for whom I need to score tests, read papers, correct homework and conduct classes. I'm working much harder than when I was in sped.

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Really? I teach self-contained at the high school level and have to teach 6 different classes for a mixed group (grades 9-12). I plan daily lessons, correct papers, do progress reports, report cards, do transitional planning, monitor kids in the mainstream. IEPs is the least of my job. Our spec. ed. population is growing. Most of my classes are at the maximum if not over. Where do you work?

Middle school teacher-librarian in the Bronx, NY

I work in a middle school in

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I work in a middle school in Bronx, NY, part of NYC.

Cross Categorical/self-contained - Teacher

I my Elementary Endorsement

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I my Elementary Endorsement as well as 2 SPED endorsements. I do get to go into different grade levels but to be honest I would not want to do what the regular ed teachers have to do. Especially with sooo much emphasis on standardized test scores. It is tooo political. I know so many GE teachers are fed up with the demands and are retiring or leaving the field. Our Superintendant got out of "Dodge" before the district goes belly up. I think a lot of Admin will be leaving as well. I am pretty much guaranteed a job especially with such a hig population of students with special needs. Our GE teachers have a tough job. I do too but it is different. We have scared off our fair share of Substitutes and TA's. Fortunatley, I have an awesome team, and they are definately not paid a fair wage for what they do. I am a zero tolerance for bullying, aggressive, and destructive behaviors.

The GE kids know it too. I just don't have the patience to deal with the disrespectful behaviors of the General population. There are only a few teachers who can deal with the behaviors. It seems to me that there are more kids that are functioning far below the grade level expectations. Some say it is due to the cultural differences. 60% Native American and 35% Latino/Hispanic. Our breaks are in line with the main Tribal Celebrations. There is no music, PE, or Art programs available through the school. (cut those programs) Huge ELL population. So many kids with so many needs!!?? I heard today one monitor say she really respected all that teachers have to do. I love what I do and don't expect to go anywhere for a long time.

Cross Categorical Special Services

sped to regular

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I had this experience years ago, when my sped student asked me...When are you going to be a real teacher? I was one year in and told my principal that I needed to experience the other side of the coin. I did and had the best years of my teaching career. I taught regular ed and gifted ed and loved it. THEN WE MOVED. And sped was my only way in and I see no way out at this time..Take the plunge and experience regular education classroom.

Currently, Special Education Teacher 3-5 year olds, San Jose, Ca.

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Yes, I've been pigeon-holed too. I have been teaching SPED classes for over 25 years. I worked with SH, SLD and currently non-cat preschool (whose real disabilities have not yet been diagnosed). I worked briefly as an ELD coach and a Language Literacy coach with the regular ed teachers/students and~ WOW! I witnessed sooo much growth and progress using the specialized instruction techniques that many SPED teachers have tucked away. I would transfer to GE in a heartbeat if I had an option, however if one loses tenure and seniority, then it would not be worth it. Good luck to you!

I have been looking for a

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I have been looking for a teacher who has recently moved from regular ed. to spec. ed. or from spec. ed. to regular ed. to speak to about the differences. I haven't found anyone in my area to talk to about it. It seems like a rare occurrence in my area/district...maybe because there don't seem to be many teachers here with dual certification so they do not have the option.

I originally went into special ed. many moons ago and never thought about teaching in a regular classroom. I didn't really want to get certified in reg. ed. but the college I attended (and maybe this was true in most spec. ed. programs at that time) required students to get elementary certified with the special ed. added on. I later got my masters in special ed. and taught in resource settings at the high school and elementary levels. This was before IEPs grew to what they are now and just before the big push toward inclusion.

I moved to another part of the country and couldn't find anything in spec. ed. except for a second grade position in a private school for students with learning disabilities. Of course the kids had all kinds of disabilities but the school (being private) did not have to follow federal requirements including IEPs. It was a difficult adjustment for me because I was used to resource and this was close to regular self-contained classroom, just smaller numbers of students in each class. The pay was very low so I moved to a public school district the next year. I had never pursued regular ed. but ended up teaching sixth grade for several years. The class sizes were large and it seemed each year my subject areas and/or team changed as the size of the population changed.

All this time I kept looking for a resource position, but a fellow teacher who was teaching sp.ed. rescource at the time kept slapping my hand asking me if I was crazy. She could not wait to get out of special ed and teach sixth grade social studies which she finally did. She was very burned out by the IEPs, the parent complaints, the heavy caseload, dealing with the teachers whether she was pulling out or going in for inclusion.

Her experience and advice had an impact on me and I wasn't so sure anymore about going back to special ed. I moved again to another state and have been a regular ed. teacher in third and fourth grade since that move, still on the look out for the type of position I enjoyed so many years ago. But when I attend IEP meetings for my students and see the new paperwork and the push for all inclusion, I'm not so sure I should make the change. I have found regular classroom teaching very difficult, don't feel I fit in with most regular classroom teachers, but I do feel a sense of autonomy that I'm not sure I would feel in special ed. The hoops that have to be jumped through to get a child placed where they belong takes so long. There doesn't seem to be a cut off on case loads. The constant meetings!

I just finished a very stressful year in fourth grade in a mobile classroom and there are some special ed. opportunities in my district right now at all grade levels K-12, so I'm trying to decide whether to push for one of those positions or stay put. From everything I've read in this discussion, it sounds like it varies so much from one school, one district, one state, to another. If anyone can offer me some perspective who has done both, I'd love to hear it.

5-8 Language Arts and History Teacher

When I did my undergrad the

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When I did my undergrad the school I attended only had general education with a special ed endorcement. They cut the special ed endorcement my junior year because of state law, and quit offering any special ed. I always wanted to do special education, but I just settled on my degree in elementary education. I couldn't find a job in elementary, so started working as a para in a severe disabilities classroom and loved it. Last year I finally went back to get my license in special education. All of a sudden this summer a general education teaching job came about, and I was in a debate whether to teach general education or be a para in special education. I took the teaching job in general education 7/8 grade combined, because right now teachers are being cut, so getting offered a teaching job with my own classroom in general education outweighed being a para again in special ed. There were so many cuts this year it could be a few years before there were openings again. It will be a new adventure to go back to general ed after working in special education the past 5 years. The setting of general education I am going into is a little unique because it is a multi-age classroom where I can use some of my special education teaching strategies, adapting material for different levels and such.

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