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What will a daily schedule be like for a special education teacher?

Hello I am Casey Gaffney, a junior at Boston Collegiate Charter School. I have always wanted to be a teacher since I was a child. I am specifically interested in Special Education. I want to focus on Down Syndrome and Autism. I am curious about how teaching students with special disabilities will be like? What will the class structure be like? What should I expect? What sort of curriculum is given to these students? teacher educator special-education disabilities autism down-syndrome

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Kelly’s Answer

Casey, I pretty much agree with Dr. Rinaldi but there a bit more. For students your are responsible or monitoring, you will need to provide grading updates every three weeks, if you are on a 9 week grading period. You will also be responsible in making sure ALL your students teachers receives copies of IEP paperwork, including modifications. Also, that they understand stand that paperwork. At least annually, you will have to attend an IEP meeting and prior to that meeting, you will have to do testing to determine where that student is academically and to suggest goals and objectives for the IEP to consider. Also, during that meeting you will have to justify why or why not something is being done or not being done should the parent/guardian asks. You will also be responsible on providing report cards for the students you are monitoring but you will also be responsible for updating the IEP, making copies and sending the reports home. Should the student be failing, you will also be responsible for setting up additional meeting with the parents to review what changes should be necessary. Oh, and if it is decided that additional service or more restrictive environment is needed, you will be responsible with getting all that paperwork together. Also, every three years a student is required to have a review to see if any additional testing is needed. You will be responsible to obtaining all that information prior to the meeting. At the elementary level, its about 30-35 students but at secondary it more like 60-75 students. While doing all this, you will still be expected to take care of that schedule that Dr. Rinaldi mentioned. Oh and dare I say that teacher you go in to support in the classroom, asking you to watch the class while she goes to the restroom , drink a cup of coffee and smoke a cigarette. Oh, I forgot something. You will also be responsible for something called "RTI." It's not special education but it is intervention that you have to provide individually for regular education students suspected having learning difficulties. They are not part of your monitoring load but you will be required to see them as often as daily.
Some might question, but I was a speech-language pathologist. I had to do all this for all my students that were "speech only." In addition I was expected to continue to see a caseload of 75 students twice a week not having what Dr. Rinaldi called a teacher assistant or two. Guess you know why there are drastic shortages of speech therapists in public schools, but I can only talk about Texas.

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Claudia’s Answer

Hi Casey, a daily schedule for a special education teacher is similar to any teacher with variations on the number of students you will work with and whether you have a class of your own or not. If you have your own classroom you will probably have no more than 14 students and you will more likely have an assistant or two depending on the needs of the students. If you support students in regular classroom you will visit many classrooms throughout the day. You can also have a mix.

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Jason Aaron’s Answer

As Claudia mentioned above, a daily schedule of a Special Education teacher varies just like any general education teacher.
Depends on the school, the students and personnel involved. So many variables. As a paraprofessional who is in graduate school to be a Special Education teacher, I can tell you that a daily schedule involves a lot of communication. Communication with parents, collaboration with students, teacher assistants, occupational therapists, General education teachers and other special education teachers as well. Reason why a daily schedule involves so much communication because some of your students can be in other classrooms such as inclusive classrooms with general education students, students can be in another class with Teacher assistants, they can be at an offsite facility working with a transition program, or many other places during the day. So it is your job to make sure that the work they are doing is in line with the goals of the IEPs (Individualized Education Program). You also have several hours of the day where you are teaching lesson plans, planning periods, and other meetings.

I wish there was more of a general template to discuss with you but each school district and class are different. Wish you the best.