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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lisagrade8's picture

Do you lose seniority even if the transfer is within the same school district? Does this affect pension at all?

lisagrade8's picture

Where do you work Mary? In my district, we no longer teach self-contained. We only have inclusion where we co-teach (gen ed teacher and a spec ed teacher). All students are in the mainstream classrooms.

lisagrade8's picture

Thank you LK for your information. I tech 8th grade Special ed and my district is ALL inclusion so there are no longer any small group teachings or pull out. I got into Special Ed because I liked the pull out (small group classes) that Special Ed teachers got to teach. I do not like coteaching with a Gen Ed teacher in the gen ed classroom for many reasons (mainly though because we are treated like and feel like an Instructional Assistant in the class). We are expected to co-teach however the Gen Ed teachers are very guarded when it comes to "their classrooms". Even the students see you as not a real teacher. We are seen as the helpers. I would love to transfer to a Gen Ed position, but not sure what grade level and I'm unsure of this would make me have to take additional college courses. I am certified K-6 in gen ed and Spec Ed K-12. My professional licensure is in 5-8 Spec Ed. If you can teah in small sub-separate classes then that sounds great but as a Special Ed teacher, I dont know if you would want to co-teach all day with 1 block off for a prep. What do you think?

lisagrade8's picture

I am all for inclusion and totally agree that students benefit from being within the mainstream classroom with their peers. However, as a Special Education teacher, we now have to co-teach all day long with the gen ed teacher and we feel like Instructional Assistants. Not all teachers are open to sharing THEIR classrooms and it can be a very bad experience for the Spec Ed teacher. Students think that we are not real teachers and just "helpers". I am also wondering if Gen Ed is the way to go for me as well because of this. Special Ed teachers are treated badly and as second class citizens.

Seoul's picture

Is there anyone can help us. Our son was enrolled in a Sped school for 4yrs. And we found out that a General education teacher is the one handling them. Their reason was, there's a small number of sped teachers applying for the job. And if we really wants a sped teacher to teach our son, we need to put them under one on one session which is not levelling. Does it sounds reasonable? Pls help.

Katie Schellenberg, JD, MA's picture
Katie Schellenberg, JD, MA
Advocate, Lawyer, Teacher and Founder of Beyond Tutoring

Hi Seoul,

I would request a conference and discuss the reasonableness of the accommodations and how your son's education can be more suited to fit his needs. Talk to the teacher, talk to the principal and admin contact -- you can be your son's best advocate.

Good luck!

slwolf's picture

If you want to transition out of special education to general education, the move is lateral. NO, general education is not as tough as special education. Being a special education teacher can be as psychologically damaging as being a special education student. You need to start planning your move NOW. Stay at your job for the time being. You gather all the documents that you need to apply for a general education licensure. You'll also probably need to create a document that states that your administrator is aware that you are transitioning and applying for that license. I am doing something similar right now. I have a plan. I attending professional developments to meet and greet with people in my district (network). I had the following experience: Becoming a special education teacher was awful. I was a co-teacher with two different teachers (one of them was the lead). They were both initially rude to me. I had no desk. In one of the classrooms, a teacher had a desk but it was for a teacher who was not even in the room. There was no collaboration AT ALL eventhough I tried so hard. They would belittle me in front of students. They talked about me. They stole things from me. I tried to approach the administrator about this and the administrator evaluated me just above unqualified after the administrator evaluated qualified for 3/4 of the school year. The administrator would not acknowledge that what was occurring was actually quite common. I was forced into staying in job that I dread going back to. No, the students do not see you as a "real" teacher. I am getting out of this. I am getting out of this school. If you want to get out, plan for it now. Get your things your things together. Keep your head down and push for it. Don't tell ANYONE at your school what you are doing until you have to. For whatever reason, people on here will not tell you that. The damage to a person psychologically is NOT worth it to stay. I get that there's a pressing need...but until someone is willing to stand up to the injustices that special education teachers have to face done to them by other staff, there is going to continue to be a huge turnover rate in the area of special education. Best of Luck

Katie Schellenberg, JD, MA's picture
Katie Schellenberg, JD, MA
Advocate, Lawyer, Teacher and Founder of Beyond Tutoring

HI slwolf,

Thank you for telling your story and your persistence in staying education after you have been maltreated. I am glad you have a plan to make yourself happier within your district -- I am sure you will succeed! Please keep us posted and let us know if there is anything we can do to support your journey.


Cynthia's picture

I am a special ed teacher in a foundational classroom. I also thinking of transfering out of special ed back to a regular ed classroom. I love my students and my job, yes it can be trying at times. My issue is they are closing my class after 10 years and I am now a surplus teacher! Which mean when the district finds out what program/classes are available I get to choose where I go.. I already have my general ed credential, however only subbed as a general ed teacher. I asked my principal if he consider interviewing me for an one position at my school and he said that I would have a lot to learn. Common core strategies and all. Didn't sound very positive. With the way special ed is heading I am not sure I want to stay any longer. Need advise! Would it be that difficult to switch? And is common core that much different?

John S. Thomas's picture
John S. Thomas
First & Second Grade Teacher/Adjunct Faculty Antioch University New England, former Elementary Principal

Cynthia, You have already been teaching to meet the Common Core State Standards. You may be using materials and programs which are different from those used in the regular education classrooms, but the standards are the exact same. Common Core does not dictate teaching methods, it is only standards that you need your learners to meet. So I'm guessing what your principal is referring to is the programs (math, phonics, reading, etc.) and curriculum areas that are outside your SPED teaching responsibilities (social studies, science, health, social/emotional learning, etc.) Not all programs and curriculums are the same nor do they use the same methods. So even a teacher from a regular education classroom moving school districts might have quite a bit to learn. So I would agree that you have much to learn when it comes to programs and curriculum but it can be done. You are much farther along than a new teacher who has very few hours in a classroom or school. A plus is that I assume you are very skilled when it comes to interventions and supporting students when they struggle. As a former administrator myself, I believe that is so important. It isn't the typical learners that are challenging- it is those higher flyers and students who struggle to meet the standards. So differentiation is key and I would think your SPED experience helps you here. I think there would be three major areas you would need to work on getting familiar with: 1) programs like Eureka Math, Everyday Math, Fundations, Words their Way, or whatever your district uses. 2) curriculum areas for science, social studies, health, etc. 3.) classroom management (large group as I assume you are fine with small group experience.) So it can be done .Even if you aren't able to for next year, knowing what you need to learn more about would provide you with some things to review and learn more about. Good luck and let us know how we can help support you.

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