Thursday, October 6, 2016

How Special Ed Teachers Get Marginalized in ICT Classes.

This is my fourth year as a teacher. I have two degrees in education, five teachers licenses, a passion for my content, and I love teenagers. This is my first year teaching under my SPED license and last week when I walked in to target and saw that they were hiring I was really tempted to apply. 

ICT partnerships either work or they don't. It's an arranged marriage of sorts where the administration gets together and decides to pair teachers based on their strengths and weaknesses. This year, in a new school, I was paired with a content teacher to teach a prep class to students who have failed the regents. I've taught this kind of class to students who don't know a word of English, to students way below reading level, and general education students for 3 years. 

And now, at the beginning of my fourth year I am being treated like a secretary or at best an assistant. I get the lesson plans the night before, well after I've gone to sleep, and with little time to differentiate them. During my prep when I'm supposed to write IEPs or meet with parents or differentiate a lesson I'm handed work and asked to go make copies. I was asked by administration why I thought it was necessary to have a desk. You know, a place to store highlighters to show struggling readers how to annotate, or keep things for students with ADHD to fidget with to help concentrate, or a place for a well educated adult to do their paperwork and other administrative tasks...? The common planning time I have with my co teacher is right after lunch and oftentimes they decide to use the periods back to back to go run errands or go out to lunch. Which, I wouldn't have a problem with if I had any idea what I was supposed to do tomorrow. In meetings when I speak I'm asked who is my "lead teacher". As if I have no idea what I'm doing. I tried to fix a mistake in the online grade book and a window popped up saying I needed permission from the lead teacher to make changes. 

During lessons together the lead teacher takes the pen to the smart board around the room with them so I can't even write on the board without permission. When I try to address the class because I've seen the same misunderstanding happen with a few students, they speak over me as if what I am saying is not important. On Fridays I'm handed the entire file from the week and told to go home and grade while the teacher discusses all the fun things they're doing this weekend. Before and after school I clean the classroom because a clean and organized space is important for all students but especially for special education students. The other teacher sits there and won't even help when he's asked. 

I've tried having conversations with the co teacher, the administration, and other teachers I know about how to handle this situation and the general consensus is that this is just how it is. 

I hear target is hiring.


Anonymous said...

Well, that sucks. Teachers should be able to teacher, however each individual does that best.

bronx northeast said...

No, this is not how it is.... nor should it ever be. Advocate for yourself and your students. You must impose yourself because your evaluation depends on it and your students depend on you. Sometimes CTT is a great experience and sometimes it is miserable. Your best bet is to look to the models of team teacher - station, parallel and small group. Google - 6 models of team teaching. Also use a Lesson Planning CTT template... this is a good planning tool so that you can ensure you are a part of the lesson.

Paulina Cameron said...

I guess every teacher sometimes struggles with something. Since the job of the teacher is very challenging, it is natural for the teachers to lose faith in themselves sometimes and to lose every hope of any chance to influence on the students. But I agree with the comments above. We should hope for the best and we should do our best to justify the choice that we have made, to be a mentor for the students and to inspire them with every techniques and tools that we have. We should update our knowledge and make our lessons modern and entertaining. We should be modern ourselves to let the students write a personal narrative essay online and this way lead them towards their successful future.

Carol D. Angeles said...

I may be wrong but i understand this like you`re a "patsy". For me it sounds like they (lead teacher and others) are just using you. From place where i grew up we often saying "In order to do nothing it is necessary to sit high". If you don`t understand, this phrase comes from one small tale about crow and a hamster. (Crow was sitting on a branch of the tree, looking at the sunset. Hamster saw crow and asked what crow was doing, crow answered "nothing". Hamster said "i too want to do nothing" and found a place to sit under the tree. Little snake saw the hamster and eat him. Moral of the story: In order to do nothing - it is necessary to sit high".) Same phrase perfectly fit in to the position at work. I think it comes perfectly into your "problem".
I don`t remember the tale perfectly so if you are interested - you can find it here
I wish you good luck and lots of patience!