Monday, June 25, 2012

The Many Hats of Special Education

As a Special Education Teacher, you know that you are incessantly required to plan and collaborate with numerous professionals on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis. For me, this is what makes the job so rewarding, so interesting, and so fun. I love the opportunity to work together with others to create an education program that is so dynamic for my students. Besides, the reality is I can’t be an expert in every area, so this collaboration is key to the success of my students.

The challenge of this collaboration, however, is that as the Special Education Provider, you are the “Middle Man” between all of these fantastic professionals. It’s your job to teach differentiated curriculum, execute behavior plans, follow through with motor and speech and language benchmarks, create and track progress reports, write IEP’s, and on top of all this and more, be prepared at a moments notice to share and demonstrate evidence of student progress in all of these complex areas to parents, specialists, and administration.

Yes, it’s a lot. And you can feel as though you are being pulled in dozens of different directions. You attend a meeting with behavior specialists and leave with a whole new mindset of managing student behaviors, only to attend a literacy meeting that reminds you of how often you need to be instructing and assessing reading strategies. Well, which do you do first? Where should your focus lie? Where do you put most of your time and energy?

I speak from experience when I say that there is nothing worse than feeling so accomplished by your recent focus in one area, only to realize you have been slacking in another. There needs to be a balance in all of the areas you are required to support your students in. Your hats need to be readily accessible, and they need to fit correctly when you put them on. You owe this to yourself and your sanity, but more importantly, to your students.

So, as I continue with my incessant planning for my new position as a self-contained classroom teacher, I am trying my hardest to get organized now and create some tools that will help me to stay on top of my game, in more than just one area.  

My personal goal for myself this year: To Better Juggle My Many Hats of Special Education.  

If you can relate to this post, and would like to better learn to juggle your hats as well, I encourage you to check back to my blog this week! My upcoming posts will outline a few ideas I have created thus far to share, along with images or links to the documents for your feedback and or download.

Come back to visit on Wednesday for an idea to help you track and report on student goals!

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