Monday, June 12, 2017

THE FIRST DAYS OF SCHOOL: Helpful Advice for New SPED Teachers



We Teach Sped, a collaborative group I'm a part of, frequently gets the question, "What is your best advice for a new Special Education Teacher?" With a new year coming up, we thought it would be a perfect time to answer this question for everyone. 

Here is what some of my "We Teach SPED" friends had to say. 

"Start off slow and build from there. Rome wasn't built in a day! You can only do so much at once!" ~Simply Special Ed

"Mark when all of your IEPs and METs are due at the start of the year and mark 30 days out from the due date so you have time to assess, schedule, and write up the paperwork." ~Fun in ECSE

"Skim over IEPs in the beginning of the year but get to know the student as a real person instead of as words written on a document." ~Learning Lab

"Always make a point to keep good communication with your student's families because when problems arise you will have them there by your side supporting you to help their child." ~Teach.Love.Autism

"Have a plan/route in place for every part of the day. Teach your students and staff the routines so you aren't being interrupted every 2 seconds. You should not be the only person in the room with all of the answers!" ~Mrs. P's Specialties

"Focus on setting up your classroom for student success. Provide all the visual supports they may need. Set up work stations and centers for students to use. You can always decorate bulletin boards and "make it cute" later." ~You-Aut-A-Know

"Start with a schedule but be flexible and know it will probably change as you get to know your students and their needs." ~Breezy Special Ed

This is all such wonderful advice! All great tips that will definitely result in a smoother start to your year! And now my own advice to you and a very crucial one..... 

"Starting with a solid and consistent classroom management plan in place on day 1 and teaching and practicing it with your students will help your year run almost seamlessly. Of course many of us will still have our challenging behaviors to deal with and our students will not master our CM procedures overnight, but with persistent consistency they will; and it will be so worth it in the long run! Classroom Management is the most important and is the foundation of running a positive and effective classroom efficiently, building a relationship with your students, and the #1 governing factor to student learning." ~The Bender Bunch

"Effective classroom teachers manage their classrooms. Ineffective teachers discipline their classrooms." ~Harry Wong

Being proactive and consistent is the key! Without a solid classroom management plan, you can forget teaching and learning! New teachers, or any teachers that still struggle with this, this is so important! 

Your classroom management plan will consist of many things you'll need to think out, like when or will you allow bathroom breaks during certain times, how will students ask for a drink of water, how will you line students up, where they will put their backpacks upon arrival, etc. You must have a procedure for everything and you MUST teach it to your students. It may seem like alot and overwhelming at this moment, but implementing a solid and consistent CM Plan on day 1 will make your life so much easier.



"Spend the first week or two teaching and practicing these procedures with your students." Role model and role-play. Set academics aside for the first couple of weeks and practice, practice, practice until your students understand the procedures and routines.

Download the checklist that I use to teach beginning of the year procedures to my students here.

I also highly recommend every new teacher read Harry Wong's book, "The First Days of School." I just love this book. It will prepare you for what your teaching program did not prepare you for! It is so powerful and was a very valuable resource for me when I first started out. It will answer all of your questions and help you start out grounded!


Harry Wong's Book is available on Amazon here.
AND 
I'm also giving one away for FREE!!


To enter: 
Comment below with your biggest challenge or fear! A winner will be chosen on 6/18 and the book will be shipped to the winner! 

(Unfortunately, this giveaway is open to U.S. residents ONLY.)



You can also read some other helpful tips that I cover in this previous post here

Be on the look out next month as I'll be blogging about part of my classroom management program and how it looks in my classoom. On the 20th, I'll be blogging about necessities you'll need for your classrooms! So don't miss it!



21 comments:

  1. My biggest fear is not being effective and having an impact on my students as an educator. I'm passionate about teaching disabled students and want them to reach their full potential, regardless of cognitive and physical disabilities.

    -Alicia Head

    marcquittah78@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marcquitta,

      If you are passionate about being an educator and it sounds like you are very much so, the rest will come natural. Just stand your ground and continue to advocate for them and fight for what you believe in!

      Delete
  2. My biggest challenge is trying to get my schedule to work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. With all of the related services, scheduling can be challenging. Are there any specific scheduling challenges I can help you with??

      Delete
  3. I would love to read this book this summer. I just finished my second year of teaching and my biggest challenge is differentiating lessons to meet the needs of various levels. I also want to keep things fresh year after year - decor, lessons, mindset, etc.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Here is a post that may help with differentiating your lessons and centers.
      http://www.thebenderbunch.com/2017/02/how-to-differentiate-your-centers-easily.html. If you click on "centers" in my right side bar under "files," you can also read about how I run my centers.

      Delete
  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  5. My biggest fear is that I will not be good enough for my students. This is my first classroom and I am not certified in special education yet and I will be going to school and teaching at the same time and I am worried I won't give my students all that they need to be successful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you have other special educators at your school to reach out to?? If so, reach out to them. If you do not, please don't hesitate to send me any questions you run into at tracibender@thebenderbunch.com. I wish you the BEST!

      Delete
  6. My biggest challenge is figuring out how to organize/plan curriculum and schedule groups at various levels.

    Jpowers89@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe my lesson plans will help and give you some ideas!!! And btw, you won the "First Days of School" book Giveaway!!! Please look for an email from me.

      Delete
    2. Sorry, I forgot the link: http://www.thebenderbunch.com/2016/07/special-education-lesson-plans.html

      Delete
  7. My biggest fear is that I will fail at being a teacher. Things fell apart at my first teaching job, but most of it was not my fault... in the middle of the year I was switched to teaching a classroom for students with very severe behavior disorders, which I wasn't trained or prepared for, and I was given very little support. I've taken a job in a different school for this year, but I'm afraid it will all fall apart again, and I'll find out that I'm just not meant to be a teacher! :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Miss Butterfly,

      What are you teaching this upcoming year? Is it again behavior disorders? What are your biggest struggles? I would love to help you and make suggestions. Email me at my email link above.

      Delete
  8. My biggest challenge has been behavior management as I go from class to class for my students who are mainstreamed into an Inclusion class.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gloria,

      Email me at tracibender@thebenderbunch.com and I will send you my "Ultimate Behavior Toolbox Kit."

      Delete
  9. My biggest fear is that I won't be good enough. I know that I have a passion for sped, I love kids, but am I good enough for this. I will be a first year in Texas and I am so blessed but I am still so nervous

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kaaja,

      Just relax and get to know them. If you have the passion you speak of, the rest will come natural. Just love them and get to know their needs. Take it day by day. As one of my teacher friends recently mentioned, "Rome wasn't built in a day."

      Delete
  10. My biggest fear is not being prepared enough and not having a good enough plan! This is my first full year as a teacher in a level 4 setting for students with emotional and behavioral disorders.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Abigail,

      I teach students with EBD and have several blog posts and resources to help you. Just search behaviors or click on "behaviors" on my right side bar under "my files" and you should be able to easily retrieve these posts.

      Delete

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