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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

changing from special education to regular education

changing from special education to regular education

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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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LPS's picture
Cross Categorical/self-contained - Teacher

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.

Marys's picture

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.

Deven Black's picture
Deven Black
Middle school teacher-librarian in the Bronx, NY

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.

Marys's picture

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?

Deven Black's picture
Deven Black
Middle school teacher-librarian in the Bronx, NY

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

LPS's picture
Cross Categorical/self-contained - Teacher

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.

Denise Scarlett's picture
Denise Scarlett
Cross Categorical Special Services

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.

nanette thomas's picture
nanette thomas
Currently, Special Education Teacher 3-5 year olds, San Jose, Ca.

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!

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