TIME is vital in any classroom. Teachers need time for lesson planning, time for organizing the classroom, and time to teach! In a special education classroom, teachers need time for all of those things…and MORE!
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SPED Classrooms are very busy. SPED teachers need:
TIME for Students: Every student in a SPED classroom has unique needs. Through “check-ins”, “accommodations/modifications”, or consistent support, every student needs one-on-one attention at some point throughout their day. General education teachers may have the ability to save a little time by generalizing most of their curriculum to meet the needs of the majority.
Special education teachers are constantly tending to the individualized needs for each student. Working with every student at their own level requires quite a bit more time during an average school day.
TIME for Staff: No matter what style classroom you have (special day class, resource room, learning center, etc.) a special services classroom has additional support adult staff members that need your time. As a leader in a SPED classroom, a SPED teacher needs to provide the necessary time for training, answering questions, and supporting instructional aides.
Instructional aides are your most valuable assets in your classroom. If they are not properly trained, your class could become chaotic at any moment. It’s tricky for a special education teacher to make time for them because often the support staff is on an hourly salary. This means they work with students from the moment they arrive at school until the moment they leave. When can both parties meet? Time is necessary!
For a more detailed look at working with paras, click on this link “How to prepare your Para”.
*NOTE: I do something for my staff or buy them small gifts of appreciation every once in a while to make sure they know how much I appreciate them.
TIME for Emergencies: Imagine you are teaching a lovely lesson. Everything is going smoothly when all of the sudden, one of your students has a meltdown. The meltdown disrupts your entire class. You now have to have someone cover for you while you take time to help calm your student. Depending on the students in your classroom, this could happen every once in a while or multiple times a day. Since emergencies are not always predictable, it’s important to make time and plans in case this does happen.
TIME for Assessing: Between progress monitoring, updating goals, initial IEPs, triennial IEPs, time is necessary. Another tricky situation for a sped teacher. How is a teacher supposed to have time to teach and assess within the same school day? It’s important to find time to assess. Quick, time saving assessments can be a good place to start. I created this Special Education Assessments BUNDLE for fast assessing grades 4-8 in Reading, Writing, and Math. All assessments may also be purchased separately. Read more about Baseline Data assessments by clicking HERE.
TIME for Parent Meetings and IEPs: On top of everything else, special education teachers need to make sure they have enough time to hold all mandated meetings, IEPs, and parent requested meetings. There is a large amount of time that special education teachers have to hold their meetings after school. Learn more about the IEP process HERE.
Open letter to everyone that works with SPED Teachers:
As a special education teacher, I do the best I can to prioritize throughout the day. I always put the student needs and supports first. Please understand that you are extremely important to the success of every student in this room. This job couldn’t work without you! I will do my best to schedule routine meetings for us to communicate. I will do my best to give you the time and attention you deserve.
All I ask of you is: if you see me deep in thought or working methodically with students, please give me the time I need to complete the task (unless it is an emergency). I have lots to manage and may forget to complete tasks if I stop in the middle. If you try to have a formal conversation with me during the school day, please do not take it personally if I can’t give you my undivided attention. Thank you for understanding that I need time to do my job. I appreciate each and every one of you!
Your Special Education Teacher”