Let’s talk about 5 must haves for a successful special education classroom.
Are you a new teacher? Do you want to know how to have a successful classroom as soon as possible? Keep reading!
1. Home/School Connection
As a new teacher, the first step at having a successful special education classroom you should take is to build relationships with your students and their families. A little can go a long way in the eyes of our students’ families.
One way to build relationships is to consider contacting the families prior to the first day of school to introduce yourself. Also, give the families a way to contact you when they have questions or concerns. Take the time to talk to them, because it really does make a difference with the relationship.
Another way to strengthen your home/school connection with your students’ families is to send home some kind of communication page each day. A lot of times, our students don’t convey to their families how their day was and a communication page is a great way for families to understand their day. I love the Simply Special Ed communication pages because they include an English and a Spanish option. If you have Spanish speaking families, this is an easy and respectable step you could could take to strengthen that relationship. I use Google Translate to help me.
Take a look at how Whitney communicates with families here.
2. Build a Team
A great special education classroom is only as successful as its team. If you do not have the support of your team, you will not be able to do much, as Helen Keller said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
First, your team needs to know your expectations as well as their duties and a great way to communicate that is with the Simply Special Ed Paraprofessional Binder.
Also, don’t expect your team to know what you are thinking, so communication is key here too. And always remember to tell them how thankful you are to be working with them. An occasional thank you note or a personalized gift can really help build your team and result in having a successful special education classroom.
3. Structure & Routines
A successful special education classroom thrives on its structure and routines. These don’t come naturally though, they must be taught to your students starting on day one. You need to teach your students the routine every day for at least two weeks.
Every second in your classroom must be planned for or else the classroom can quickly fall apart and behaviors may occur. A solid routine is so beneficial to everyone in the classroom, including the paraprofessionals!
Try your hardest to always stick to your structure and routines and your special education classroom will be successful!
In order for a successful special education classroom to run on it’s schedule and routine, everyone must have a copy of a schedule – including the students. The students in my classroom all have their own individual schedule to follow throughout the day. Schedules are a great way to teach your students your routine!
Giving students their own schedule allows them to see what is expected of them throughout the day, anticipate upcoming events, and increases their independence. Schedules can also decrease behaviors within the classroom.
It is amazing to watch my classroom run off of our schedules!
5. Behavior Management
Behavior management is a major component in having a successful special education classroom. It is imperative that you find systems that work for each of your students.
Behavior management can look vastly different, Arielle explains the types of positive behavior interventions in this blog post.
The best advice I can give you is to not wait until behaviors occur to practice using these resources and techniques. They are best when taught and used every day. Behavior management tools not only reduce behaviors, they encourage more positive behaviors – which helps to keep the classroom environment positive!
You can do this!
This may all seem like a lot to do as a new teacher, but I promise you that if you take the time to get these 5 must haves in place, you will have more time for teaching and fun things in the near future. It is worth it!
Another great resource is the Simply Free Library– join here to get the password and instant access to over 70 free downloads, perfect for new teachers.
What are you most excited about for you new classroom? Let me know in the comments!