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

new first teacher

maria mitchell

I am a new first year inclusion teacher, I am in a school where there isn't really a good support system. Sometimes I don't know what I am doing. Can someone give me guidance on what exactly I should be doing in the classroom, as the inclusion teacher? Is there something I need to be doing, I feel like I am just a teacher assistant rather than the OTHER TEACHER in the classroom.

Maria

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Special Ed English teacher, Anchorage, Alaska

inclusion

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You have a wonderful opportunity! The best way I saw this work was in a middle school team. The special ed teacher was part of the team planning. Then she went into the math and English classes. It was wonderful, because kids who didn't qualify for services still got help. Her TA went into the Science and Soc. Studies classes. All spec ed students on the team had a study skills class with this teacher, which allowed them extra time to complete assignments and ask questions. Then she had 2 classes, English only, for students who couldn't make it in the reg English class on the team. She was able to modify materials to work within the team units, so the kids always felt a part of their classes. I wish you luck, and a team willing to work fully as a team!!!

Cross Categorical/self-contained - Teacher

I started by attending grade

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I started by attending grade level team meetings at least for the first 3 weeks of school and then at least once a month until December and then about every six weeks after that. Our staff development time is when I get together with specific teachers or find out about what is going to be taught. It has taken me at least 3 years to become somewhat familiar with the various grade level curriculum. I make sure that I communicate frequently with the teachers, and then I may do several observations and task analysis observation to determine what modifications I may need to make. (e.g. I have one book that I may send home with the student that they keep at home and then have it returned when the class finishes that text.) I may modify or reduce assignments to meet the needs of the students. Usually in the classroom I will work with a small group of students while the teacher is working with another group with leveled learners so that studnts who are intensive or strategic also receive additional support. Again it is a team effort. It has taken me several years to establish positive relationships. There are a couple of teachers that I simply don't place students with because unfortunately they feel that Students from my program are "just visitors". It is not my issue and I will occassionally try a placement in their class to see if it will work. I have only had to pull 2 students in 4 years and place them in another classroom. Both students were "ED" and volitile with the GE teacher. Inclusion does work IF supported. There needs to be sensitivity training for teachers and the students. I keep a notebook with visual cues as well as additional modified materials. Usually it is working on similar work as peers with additional manipulatives. I work to train peers on how to help so that I can fade out for a few minutes at a time to do paperwork or check on other students. Inclusion is tough work. It took me a couple of years to get materials organized. (I walked in with only my materials, there was nothing in my room.) I have materials now, and will be working on organizing my materials into academic tasks. I use clear boxes for each student with their activities and any additional materials they may need. (e.g. white board, calculator, window place marker, overlays, etc..)

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Unfortunately you are at the mercy of the general education teacher. And there are quite a few that resent you being in there and are not willing to relinquish any power to you. I would suggest you ask the teacher how she would like your assistant. Take turns teaching, a week on, a week off, to reinforce her work, or be the second pair of eyes - walking around, monitoring the students, etc. It is a very touchy area and rest assured there are some wonderful teachers out there that appreciate you working with them. But we have a bad reputation because some ESE teachers are always pulled out at a minutes notice, some show up when they feel like it, etc. But stand your ground, do your work, make your presence known and it will all work out. The big down fall of ESE is we never know where we are going to be, with whom and what subject so it is a learning as you go process.

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