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Shhh, I was trying not to scare off another one. ;-)
We have the same problem here. Seems like I spend a vast amount of time trying to get students qualified early so that maybe, just maybe, they won't need a special ed teacher down the line. Instead, they find a way to pass borderline kids along until they hit middle school where, surprise, surprise, they suddenly qualify for services. Gee, if they'd realize that elementary school teachers are also professionals, maybe we could get these kids the help they need before it becomes a major issue! Nah, that would be sensible and in the best interest of the child, god forbid we should do anything sensible or in the child's best interest! Our ED teacher had a third grader that sounds exactly like the child you mentioned.
Parents who don't care, suck! I have parents who can't be bothered to show up for IEP meetings, who don't return calls or respond to notes home, who then have the gall to fill out end of the year surveys saying that the school doesn't communicate with them or respond to their needs! What needs? How do I know you have needs when you won't show up for anything or answer your damned phone?
My favorite family in this regard is the one who has the following answering machine message....this falls under Mr. Wuhl's category "I sh** you not!"
"Hi, I'm an Ohio State fan and a Nascar fan. If you are too, leave a message after the beep and we'll get back to you. Have a good day and I love you."
They never return my calls or calls from the office regarding their daughter how may or may not be medically fragile...that's a story for another time...never show up for IEP meetings and they have 2 children on IEPs, never respond to notes home or sign the agenda required by all grades. They did however show up for court mediation for attendance issues and have the nerve to complain that we didn't communicate with them and why wasn't bussing on their IEPs. What? First, they live less than a mile from the school and the kids don't have special needs that make it a problem for them to walk. Second, I never knew that they wanted bussing in the first place because they've never shown up for a meeting. Third, no communication?? It was then that I was glad I keep records of phone calls made and notes sent home because when I handed the court mediator my file on these people the look on her face was priceless. I only wish I'd been involved in the original meeting so I could have presented it in front of the parents. It would have been something to hear their excuses.
I'd love to talk about the little girl sometime. It's a situation that has me extremely concerned and no one is willing to do anything about it because I have no proof, only suspicions. My suspicions are shared by MRDD and gen ed teachers from the last two years, too, but our hands are tied. Children's Services is completely useless. And my husband wonders why I don't sleep nights during the school year.
I'll bet you you know the song "Ain't It Great to be Crazy?" Makes a great theme song for special ed.!
The situations you're describing sound so much like my class! It feels to me that the goal of the administration is to provide as little as they can possibly get away with, across the spectrum of disabilities from mild to severe no matter what the issue is. I feel caught between parents and administration. My parents do at least show up for meetings, but the attitude for the most part is they want them in school so they are off their hands. I keep inviting them to observe or volunteer so they can see exactly what services their child is and isn't getting. Thankfully I have a PT and an SLA who genuinely care about the kids. This direct quote from the speech therapist for my class seems to sum up the general attitude. "I just hate my days in that (my severe) room when I could be with the gen. ed. kids that make progress." Steam is still coming out of my ears.
I had a 12 yo this past year who was hormones on legs. Big and strong, and all he wanted to do was self stimulate in the most inappropriate way possible. I requested and advocated for a Rifton chair for him but of course no. Instead my supervisor gave me a belt to tie him into a chair so hopefully he could sit at a table and work without dropping to the floor. It didn't work, and I informed her that unless we can provide a one-on-one (sure you know how that goes) it wasn't safe. He slid down up to his neck and it was very unsafe. At the end of the year the behavior consultant came in and I was showing him the set up and explaining why it didn't work. he told me it was totally illegal and the the co-op director would be furious if she saw it! It hadn't raised alarm bells for me because I just wanted the child positioned so I could work with him. My goal wasn't to tie him up in a chair. So I have learned to to document everything in writing with administration and parents!
It's also felt to me that whether it's a gen ed teacher referring for testing, or a severe teacher bringing up a concern, that there is a punitive attitude toward the teacher. Response is it must be something you're doing or not doing!
Sandy also share your frustration about having suspicions that you can't do anything about. I try to pray alot!
That's my rant for now. Have to take my son to band practice. Goal for the coming year; a sense of humor!
Boom, Boom, ain't it great.........Yeah, I'm familiar with the song, LOL!
I hear you about teachers and other professionals who seem to think our students are inconveniences in their otherwise perfect days. Back in college at UCF, I had a professor, Dr. Rosie Joels...I'll never forget this bitch...who taught reading instruction. We were warned to not reveal our major and none of us knew why, at first. One day she hit the chapter on special education and the commonly used reading programs at the time...remember DISTAR and CRP...her statement us shiny new teacher's to be "I don't know why we bother teaching these kids to read, all they do is grunt and spit anyway." That was the closest I've ever come to physically assaulting another human being. If it hadn't been for the clearer head of one of my classmates, an older and wiser woman, I would have slugged the bitch. I reported the incident to the dean and to the special ed dept supervisors, after I'd completed and gotten a 4.0 in her class (for the record). I was told to let it go that it was nothing but sour grapes on my part. Sour grapes for what, I'm not sure, since I got an A, but that's what I was told. That was over 25 years ago and it still makes me see red when think about it. Not sure where Rosie is now, but there's a special place in Hell waiting for her, if she's not there already.
I'm amazed that your supervisor had you belt up this student. Good grief! I wonder what other sage advice she's giving people. I've had similarly stupid supervisors (stupervisors is the word I use) and I've learned to get everything in writing from them. This is why I love email; I ask questions and keep the responses in a file so when she decides she never told me something, I can pull out the file and prove that she did. It's served me well for many years, especially with this woman who changes her mind with alarming frequency, then swears up and down she never said whatever it is we claim she said or, and this was my favorite excuse, that she must have misunderstood the original question. Harder to get away with that nonsense when it's presented to you in black and white. If this stupervisor gives you anymore brilliant advice, email her/him with what she told you to do and have her confirm that this is the course of action she wants you to take. This gives you better documentation because now you have her words on paper instead of just your words describing the situation.
There is definitely a punitive attitude toward teachers who bring up a concern and it's gotten so bad at my school that many teachers won't bother going through the process anymore. I was on the IAT (intervention assistance team, you may call it something else) for some time and it annoyed me that everything seemed to come back on the teachers. To make things even more frustrating, those teachers would go for six weeks, follow the suggestions, document progress and if any progress was noted, no matter how small, then the team would just say keep up the good work. That doesn't help anyone! Big deal, so with extra effort the kid now knows 4 more letters of the alphabet and he's in second grade. Whoopee! He still can't read and all we're going to say is keep up the good work? Test him, for crying out loud! Oh no, it's a big hairy problem to do that! Instead, we wait until 3rd or 4th grade, when "the test" becomes important and then it's a problem and why didn't we do something earlier? Insert screaming here.
A sense of humor is a must! I keep signs and things in my room that I only I can see, to remind me to laugh when I want to choke someone. *g* Below is my favorite. I printed it out on pretty paper and laminated it. It's taped to the inside of the locker behind my desk.
2. I have the power to channel my imagination into ever-soaring levels of suspicion and paranoia.
3. I assume full responsibility for my actions, except the ones that are someone else's fault.
4. I no longer need to punish, deceive, or compromise myself, unless I want to stay employed.
5. In some cultures what I do would be considered normal.
6. Having control over myself is almost as good as having control over others.
7. My intuition nearly makes up for my lack of self-judgment.
8. I honor my personality flaws for without them I would have no personality at all.
9. Joan of Arc heard voices, too.
10. I am grateful that I am not as judgmental as all those censorious, self-righteous people around me.
11. I need not suffer in silence while I can still moan, whimper and complain.
12. As I learn the innermost secrets of people around me, they reward me in many ways to keep me quiet.
13. When someone hurts me, I know that forgiveness is cheaper than a lawsuit, but not nearly as gratifying.
14. The first step is to say nice things about myself. The second, to do nice things for myself. The third, to find someone to buy me nice things.
15. As I learn to trust the universe, I no longer need to carry a gun.
16. All of me is beautiful, even the ugly, stupid and disgusting parts.
17. I am at one with my duality.
18. Blessed are the flexible, for they can tie themselves into knots.
19. Only a lack of imagination saves me from immobilizing myself with imaginary fears.
20. I will strive to live each day as if it were my 50th birthday.
21. I honor and express all facets of my being, regardless of state and local laws.
22. Today I will gladly share my experience and advice, for there are no sweeter words than "I told you so!"
23. False hope is better than no hope at all.
24. A good scapegoat is almost as good as a solution.
25. Just for today, I will not sit in my living room all day in my underwear in the Hollywood Cafe. Instead, I will move my computer into the bedroom.
26. Who can I blame for my problems? Just give me a minute ... I'll find someone.
27. Why should I waste my time reliving the past when I can spend it worrying about the future?
28. The complete lack of evidence is the surest sign that the conspiracy is working.
29. I am learning that criticism is not nearly as effective as sabotage.
30. Becoming aware of my character defects leads me naturally to the next step of blaming my parents.
31. To have a successful relationship, I must learn to make it look like I'm giving as much as I'm getting.
32. I am willing to make the mistakes if someone else is willing to learn from them.
33. Before I criticize a man, I walk a mile in his shoes. That way, if he gets angry, he's a mile away and barefoot.
Sandy, first of all, I admire your restraint. A college professor? And with the endorsement of the rest of the staff? Pretty good illustration of what we're up against.
Stupervisors, I love it! Do they all go to the same school? This past year I learned to use e-mail the way you suggested. We got a memo from the co-op telling us not to use e-mail to discuss verbally because e-mails can be called up in court and can be "hard to explain." I've never written an e-mail that I would find hard to explain! So I'm going to keep e-mailing away. I've also had the denials and "misunderstandings." Wish they had to sign a statement of what they said. In my co-op, everyone is terrified of the administration. I finally realized though, that I really do have job security because they haven't been able to keep a teacher in this room, so if I'm advocating for the kids, I'm not holding back. The sad part is that the biggest obstacles are first the administration, and second the parents. If they'd let us just stay focused on the kids, how different it would be.
Also with the belt, I've gotten some of my best feedback from substitutes who have been in other rooms. Thankfully it's usually good, ("Wow, it's so different in here!") One remembered one of my kids when she was in an earlier grade with a teacher with 17 years experience that is held up to me as an example. She said this child who pulled hair was belted in a chair and barricaded into a corner w/furniture and dividers. I wasn't there so I don't know for sure of course, but this teacher is best pals with my former mentor, Ms. "Why do I have to do this?". It's made me wary of looking for support from my district, even though I know not all the teachers in the co-op have that kind of an attitude.
In my school they started a General Education Intervention (GEI) that sounds like your IAT. Not something I'm involved w/ with my kids, but I got a snootful when I worked for the parochial school and referred kids for testing from there.
Love the affirmations, and how true, how true. What a sensible response to the school system, and one that can be done with a secret smile. ;-)
Never underestimate the power of the secret smile. LOL!
The thing about special ed is that we do have more job security than we're led to believe because frankly, there aren't that many people out there who want our jobs. I was quiet my first two years, letting a lot of things go unquestioned, or at least unquestioned to anyone in charge, because I was afraid of causing trouble and losing my job. Now I know better. The distrct can't keep special ed teachers for any length of time as evidenced by the fact that this will be my 8th year and I'm high on the seniority totem pole. That the stupervisors and the co-ops are saying to discuss verbally instead of using email because of the court issue tells you right there that something's rotten in Denmark.
I've had great, supportive principals, so far, which has made raging against the machine a little easier. This year things could change. The new guy has quite the reputation for being a butthead (bi-polar, doesn't take his meds, really hates women) so we'll see what happens. I'm meeting him tomorrow at our summer in-service. Apparently I intimidated the hell out of the guy we had last year, I still canit figure that out as I a may be a formidable opponent, but I'm not especially intimidating, but maybe some of whatever intimidated the last guy will stick around to nail the crazy one, too. LOL!
Yes, I think all stupervisors must be graduates of Mony Python's College of Educational Stupidology. I believe the headmaster is John Cleese, with Eric Idle and Michael Palin the deans. Students are required to have full-frontal lobotomies, wear shorts with suspenders and must sport a jaunty handkerchief with knots tied at the corners. School mascot, the Larch. School motto "My brain hurts." They do, however, get to dress up in nice suits for graduation. Here's a picture of the most recent graduating class. A fine bunch they are, too. http://www.intriguing.com/mp/_pictures/compdiff/uppercla.jpg
Doing what I can to keep that sense of humor. ;-)
I've been wondering where my supervisor got her degree! A question answered, I'm sure it's her and my principal on the end in the yellow vest.
I wonder if the intimidating factor for a stuperivisor is a sense of integrity, and a voice of reason and compassion. I hope it works on the new crazy one! Good luck at the inservice! Keep us posted! I guess I should consider myself lucky that I have 2 more weeks before I have to face it all.
Both of you made me laff. I loved your list, Sandy. Im just gonna have to make more t-shirts, lol. Susan, dont you know that when they give the new principal their keys, the soul inside dies? I swear, it cant be anything else.
Im very fortunate in my principal. She hated me the first year. I had never taught ED or elementary and I had an aide who actually thought she could teach and who made up sh*t about me. She even tried to turn me in for testing, saying I did not follow protocol! Fortunately, I had 2 aides and the other backed me up. I had a very difficult time that year between her and a death in the family but I survived. Got rid of her, had a psych who raved about my classroom and my principal now loves me. Besides, they cant keep people in our job. I was told when I first graduated to not worry about getting a job. Having special ed creds meant I could pick and choose where I go. Its true.
As for the rest, youre right. DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT! The only way to survive. I had a principal want me to do illegal things during IEP meetings and when I didnt, tried to sabotage me. Ive had good ones, bad ones and indifferent ones. The only thing that is true about all of them is that I usually know more than they do about my class and kiddos and after awhile they always go away. Then you just break in a new one. LOL.
But this year is going to be great! After all, we are in control. We can ignore the BS. We can just do whats right for us and our kids. Always remember whats important. US!! lol
Susan, I promise a full report on tomorrow's meeting.
I think we have the makings of one heck of a support group here, so would you guys be interested in keeping this conversation going throughout the year? I know I could use a place to vent and bounce ideas off people who understand and aren't directly involved with my group of kids. Sometimes we get too close and lose perspective.
Lorene, I want to do one of those pictures of myself where I'm looking ahead and in profile in the same shot and use the "I am at one with my duality" line underneath.
Sandy, great idea, both for the support group and the shirt. I would love it. Especially since I am now assigned to mentor 2 new teachers, elementary and middle school. Im thinking of having myself cloned. Then maybe one of me can just teach, lol.
The support would be great. No one, even in sped, really has a clue about ED kids and what its like in the classroom. Lady next door to me always tells me I dont know what its like "doing real teaching because I only have 5-10 student". I always tell her she can trade places and see what its like when one kid is screaming at such a pitch that I swear brain cells die! (mine, not his) and when I am ducking flying chairs while trying to restrain and also get the rest of my kiddos out of the way and yet staying on task! Thats what I gripe about the most. Regular ed teachers who think we dont really work. Hah!
Sandy, absolutely! I've found this conversation has made a huge difference in my morale already!!
Lorene, I've got a screamer too. I truly believe that if they tested our hearing (staff and children) when we started last August, and then again in June, there would be a noticeable difference. I've definitely felt the brain cells shrivel too. There were times it was so loud, I've said we can't work, and turned on the tv as a reinforcer for the nonscreamers. So far only toys have been thrown in my room. Hands out of the pants and poop is the biggest issue I want to tackle this year. I have 8 boys and 2 girls. That's where it stood at least when I left in June. Glad you got rid of that terrible aide, and survived that dreadful year. My two aides are hard workers, but tend to be very needy. Sometimes I feel like I need to be everybody's mommy.
Sounds like a key to managing principals is endurance. That does make me feel more optimistic about starting year 3. And speaking again of principals, hope Sandy your day is going tolerably well.
Sorry, my computer went nuts (really it wasnt me! As I was saying,
Susan, I hope poop is all you have to deal with. I teach 4th and 5th this upcoming year. I will start low with 5 boys and 1 girl. However, all but 2 are foster kids. That's pretty low for me. Usually all my kiddos are. The bad thing is my class is suppose to be the transition to regular ed/non-ED sped classes . I usually have to fight to get them placed back in my home school.
I am very fortunate however in that I have 2 great aides now. In fact, I have told them I will quit if they break up our team. And we are a team. Although I do all the paperwork and do have final say, my aides are my equals in every thing else. Thank God for a great team and support from my principal!
Met the new principal today and I am not impressed. He was on his best behavior, but you know how you can read a student and see that which lies beneath? Well, this guy is an open book that I'd love to be able to return. He was in the local paper today, front page from what I'm told (I live outside the community where I teach, so I don't get their local paper), because of an ongoing investigation as to why 12 of 37 teachers requested transfers under his principaldom (like that word?*g*) last year. Also learned that he's been caught, several times, taking meds from the school nurse's office....meds that belong to students! Oh yeah, on top of being bi-polar, he's also diabetic, so medical condition upon medical condition upon mental stability issues. Oy!
I'm trying very hard to stay calm, but I've looked at my caseload and I'm freaking out. Right now I have 17 students, with two more in 3rd grade to be tested by the end of Sept., both of whom should qualify. My supposed limit is 16. The breakdown is 4 kindergarteners, 1 first grader, 3 second graders and 9 third graders (soon to be 11). On the flipside, we're getting the deaf/hard of hearing unit. The teacher for that unit has 3 students and each of those students has an interpreter. Do you see a small disparity here? The other sped teacher has 10 students between 4th and 5th grade, but that group always grows to at least 15 by Dec. Always. At present I have no class lists for kindergarten and won't have until after Aug. 13 (remember, school starts the 9th) and there's some question about who qualified the first grader because we didn't test him and he was in our school last year. Because of these issues, I can't even begin to make any kind of schedule and I had to explain this to both second and third grade teachers, because they didn't get it at first. Now they do, thank goodness.
I spoke with PB (or Psycho Boy, my pet name for the new principal) and he got on the phone with one of the sped stupervisors. The stupervisor said that it was her understanding that the new HI teacher was supposed to be taking care of the kindergarteners as well, but when the HI teacher spoke to everyone this morning, her statement was that she "might" be able to help out with K-1 students. Heavy emphasis on the "might". The stupervisors were having a lunch today, so they'll be discussing the matter. I made sure PB reiterated the fact that I was already 1 over caseload, so they'd get the point that I was not going to let it slide. We'll see how it goes. All I can say that HI teacher better plan on taking these kindergarterners. I'd love it if she'd take the first grader as well, seeing as how there's only one; it would make my scheduling so much easier. On the other hand, this little guy is autistic and I've had very little experience working with a true autistic child, so while scheduling we be inconvenient, the experience would be valuable. Not to mention that if he stays in district, I'll be working with him through third grade, giving him the consistency he'll need.
Lorene, that lady next to you needs a wake-up call. Maybe you should suggest switching jobs with her for an afternoon so she can experience life in an ED room. I've done that, plus I've worked with some of the ED kids in reading, so I have a clue and I know I don't want your job! I am not suited to dealing with that stuff on a long term basis and frankly, I know that I would be more likely to escalate a bad situation most times. People always comment on how much patience I must have to work with sped kids, but baby, no one has to have to patience like an ED teacher. You guys are saints.
So the support group is a go. Yea! I know I'm going to need it.
Our ED teacher went all of last year without an aide and she fought tooth and nail to get one. At the end of the year they promised her she'd have one for this school year and now suddenly no remembers having that conversation. Unreal!
Oh Sandy !! How can someone like PB get to be a principal when teachers get disected under a microscope?
HI might take care of the kindergartners? Sounds like she's got the same kind of gall that Ms. "Why do I have to do that?" has in my school. A very high functioning autistic 1st grader was placed in my room beginning of last year. The plan was that he would go to her in the resource room to get reading with kids at his reading level. She fought tooth and nail, and I fought right back in spite of being reproved by the principal. Her excuse; his behavior would hold the other kids back. Then she kept canceling the group he was in, and wouldn't even let him use the BR in her room. After 3 months of fight, fight, fight, he was finally placed in a class w/kids at his level. Resource room also has a severe autistic child w/strong advocate parents that want her in gen. ed. with a one-on-one aide. I've walked by the room to see three of them hovering over her, and yet they refuse to even hold the door open when we're struggling with a wheelchair because the severe room is not their job.
Know it's probably too much for the stupervisors to back you up, but we'll be behind you. Mantra for this year is "I'm right, and I'm not backing down!!!"
If you do get autistic student, let me know. 7 of my 10 that I know will be in my class are autistic. Several are very intelligent but w/autism are also very low functioning. Best resources I've found are from Mayer-Johnson. But we can talk more about it if you'll be working with him.
Hope you can leave PB, stupervisors, and HI at school and have a good weekend!
Sandy, you have my deepest sympathy. If you ever need to get even without getting caught, let me know! I know a bunch of ways, all non-physical and all non-traceable. Im not Sicilian for nothing!
My neighbor wont switch for an afternoon. She knows she will be proven wrong. It just drives her nuts that I also have 2 aides. She is always asking them to come over and help her. Occasionally I will let them if they are willing because she does invite all my students on a special field trip that she sets up.
Let me know as well about the autistic kiddo. I have mainly had high functioning Asperger's kids but I have access to lot's of resources and can let you in on any I can get that you can use.
Best advice.....voodoo dolls! Can get small ones at Borders and stick pins in them whenever they tick you off. Surprising how much better that makes you feel, lol.
Oddly enough, I just happen to have a voodoo doll a friend sent me from England. Must dig that up this weekend. Lorene, I might just take you up on that offer of revenge ideas somewhere down the line. *eg*
I'll defintely be asking for all the advice I can get if I do end up working with the autistic boy. I had one diagnosed as PDD-NOS a few years ago., but he really wasn't exactly PDD either. His doctor gave him that diagnosis for the sake of getting the kid sped help. He was truly unique, that one.
Thought I'd pass on the link to the article about PB. The posted comments are interesting, too. One day I'll have to tell you stories of the other people mentioned in the article. Oh boy.
Having done this, I am now officially leaving all of this nonsense at work, at least for the rest of the evening. Andy and I have plans for tomorrow...hitting a big flea market in the area and buying a guitar for our youngest so he has his own to take to college with him. He has no idea he's getting one, so it'll be a huge surprise for him, especially since he thinks we just didn't bother to get him a graduation present. LOL! We purposely let it slide so that we could shock the heck out of him later on. Torturing your own can be so satisfying. ;-)
Wow, the comments after the article! Are people really that blind that they dont see between the lines? Its the same ole story, dont fire someone or say they are doing wrong, just promote out or up or offer them another place to try again. God forbid you fire someone for firable reasons. I have known teachers who have thrown students into a wall and were sent home for a day to think about what they did, Guess all those teachers complaints were not as important as losing an admin.
Whoo-hoo, girl, I like your parenting style! I love to shock them myself.
Hmm; comments seem to be missing the point?! A principal in a district near hear was suspended and then either quit voluntarily or was let go after he was arrested for publicly assaulting his ex-wife. Turned out he had a criminal record. Wasn't checked. And how do some teachers (and therapists) get away with being abusive and/or lax? I feel like I've been checked out and observed up one side and down the other. Is it getting seniority or tenure that protects them?
Too cool about the guitar Sandy. I found one for my son (HS junior) at the Goodwill that's he's been very happy with. He bought an electric guitar secondhand from our pastor, and has been gradually building his drumset. He's a very cool dude on a budget. He wants to be a teacher (music) so getting him started on those frugal habits now!! Have fun shopping. :-).
Lorene, your teacher next door sounds like someone who would say, "I've made up my mind. Don't confuse me with the facts."
Borders has voodoo dolls? Will have to look more carefully when I shop. Maybe they'll put them out for Teacher Appreciation weeek.
Tracey, I've always said that kindergarten teachers are our first line of defense and it makes me crazy that the issues you guys catch are often ignored or left to the wait and see attitude. Catch the problems early, so that we don't end up with so many kids being identified in third and fourth grade. The foundation for everything is laid in kindergarten and first grade, yet teachers at that level are the most ignored. I don't understand it. For our sake and for the children's, keep forcing the issue, please, and maybe someday adminstrators will start listening.
Isn't it amazing that we have to be fingerprinted at hire and every so often afterwards, yet principals don't appear to be checked at all? Talk about abuse of power! We had a principal arrested a few years ago for gross sexual imposition on a minor and it wasn't until after his arrest that anyone discovered it wasn't the first time he'd been charged with the same crime. I can be fired for taking a prescription medication on the job, if they decide it's impairing my abilty to teach, but the principal can diddle a student? Good grief.
Got the guitar at the flea market and Sean was thrilled!