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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

What I've Learned in My First Week: Inclusion Teacher Edition

This year I have a new position as a special ed inclusion teacher! I work specifically with grades three through five. I visit seven different classrooms each day, except for my designated paperwork day. Needless to say, my days fly by. Getting to know this many students and teaching styles has been difficult, but I've also learned a few things that might be helpful to you!
  1. Have a trusty planner! I decided to try a year without my beloved teacher planner from Erin Condren for a cheaper, more special ed focused planner. I settled on "The Special Educator's Everything Binder" made by Teaching Special Thinkers. So far, I love it! It is editable and has pages for all sorts of special ed stuff (when re-evals are due, assessment logs, etc).
    The Special Educator's Everything Binder
  2. Plan out your paperwork as much as you can!This is my first full year as a special ed teacher, which also means that this is my first full year with the crazy amounts of paperwork. To be honest, I have a little anxiety about all of it, which has made my extra careful in making sure it's all planned out. I have my caseload printed out which I carry with me to all of my classes, but I've also planned out possible meetings and days to start paperwork all the way until January.

    This is my September calendar, as of right now:

    I have sticky notes to remind me when to start working on IEPs during that month. I've also written down tentative meeting dates so I can be sure to get my annual review meetings done with enough time left before the IEP runs out in case I need to make changes.

    I know that this will be one of my slower months in terms of paper work because it's too early for referrals, so I'm trying to get ahead!
  3. Talk to the Regular Ed Teachers Frequently.Since I spend my day going into the classrooms of others, it's very important to communicate with them about their lesson plans and what kinds of supports the special education students in their classrooms need. All teachers have different styles, and many of them are not similar to how I taught when I was a regular ed teacher. Therefore, you'll need to know their procedures, rules, and have a bit of an understanding about what type of teacher they are. Let them know of meetings as soon as possible as well.
  4. Ask Questions!Don't be afraid to ask questions, especially if you're new. I have a thousand questions a day and my co-workers don't seem to mind. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there. It's better to ask questions than make mistakes, especially with paperwork!

This is just a snippet of what I learned during the first week of school. I am beyond excited to see what this year has to bring and I can't wait to share it with you!

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