Is this your first year teaching? Maybe it’s just your first year teaching in a self-contained Severe-Profound/Multi Classroom. If that’s the case, then this post is for you! Here are 9 things to know for new severe-profound teachers.
1. Every District Has Different Procedures
Every district has different procedures. The procedures followed at your student teaching school may not be the same as your new school. Make sure to ask what the procedures are for records, scheduling meetings, contract hours, and IEP procedures. Some districts have it posted on their website. My district has a lot of great information readily available on the district website.
2.What If You Don’t Have A Mentor Teacher?
Without a mentor teacher what do you do now? As severe-profound/multi teachers we may be the only teacher that does what we do. Look for your local professional group! I can guarantee there is one. I live in Oklahoma, if you live in OK check out this group, #OKSPED. These people will help you answer questions and get assistance on everything from IEP goals to how to balance work and life. If you can’t find a professional group, try the Simply Special Ed Community. Honestly I didn’t have a mentor teacher. I wanted to make sure I brought this up as one of the 9 things to know for new Severe-Profound teachers. I love helping out new teachers. Feel free to contact me any time!
3. Know What To Do When You Get Injured At Work
If you did get injured at work make sure you see a doctor right away. A good example is if you get bitten you need to have your school give you the paperwork to go to the doctor and get antibiotics. Make sure to take care of yourself. If you are injured, don’t tough it out. Get medical attention.
4. IEP Meetings Are Not The Worst
You can do IEP meetings! As long as you follow the district guidelines you will do just fine. Make sure to just follow the IEP from the top to the bottom. Don’t forget to add present levels (how your student is currently doing) and to make sure that your objective statement is fleshed out. Imagine if the student moved today, what would the next teacher need to know? Put that in your objective statement. Check out this post on how to plan for IEP’s by Alyssa.
5. Don’t Keep Doing Things That Don’t Work
If your students aren’t responding to a specific lesson structure, change it! It’s okay to not get it right the first time. It’s actually okay not to get it perfect the 2nd or 3rd time either. Go easy on yourself. You are doing a great job! It’s important to be as flexible as possible. Things can change very quickly!
6. Reach Out To Therapists
The therapists probably know your students very well. They can give you ideas on how to work with your students. They can tell you what they know works and doesn’t work. You don’t have to start from scratch. Make sure to reach out to these people for support. If you don’t know who they are, check your students IEP. They will be listed as team members.
7. It’s Okay To Cry
It’s okay to cry sometimes. Teaching is rewarding, but it can be overwhelming. Some days you won’t know if you are coming or going. For instance, your day could go like this: student B has a seizure, while student C’s pump starts leaking just as student D has a major blow out. This is all okay! It’s okay if you feel overwhelmed and it’s okay to sit and cry. This doesn’t make you weak. The first year is the hardest. It does get easier the longer you do it. Don’t be afraid to reach out to other special education teachers for support.
8. Don’t Re-invent The Wheel
If someone has already created a lesson or material, don’t do it again. Use what’s been created. There are great resources already out there. For instance, I like to use Simply Special Ed’s first 10 days of school kit. It’s already planned for me and it gives me time to get to know the students better. Check teacher pay teachers, paths to literacy, blogs, and Facebook groups.
9. Presume Competence
Assume that your students CAN learn. Throw functioning levels out the window. Give your students reasonable and high expectations. I promise they will begin to meet them. The best part is that you will learn so much from your students. It will get to the point that everyday fills your heart to the brim, no matter what kind of interruptions you had in your day. Believe in your students ability and they will show you what they’ve got!
I hope you enjoyed this post about 9 Things To Know For New Severe-Profound Teachers. Let me know if you have any questions I can answer!