Co-Teacher Must Haves #2 (Understanding)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Sorry, let me elaborate. By understanding, I mean you gotta know the basics of special education. We'll hit up the whole "understanding each other" part another day.

Understanding special education is a requirement. Even though there is a general education teacher who is the master of scope and sequence, they are still a part of the team. How do you expect your partner to be an active participant if they have no clue what the student needs are?!

Let's face it, general education teachers typically have 6 credits/ 2 classes in special education.

Whats 6 credits in special education 101/ 102 look like? Remember the first time you saw an IEP and then attempted to write one? Yeah. Anxiety everyday, everywhere. So, in an effort to bring awareness to the fact that "hey, you work at a fully inclusive school - maybe you should know what the Learning Specialist does/ the system better," I was given an IEP-At-a-Glance worksheet to fill out and hand out to all my co-teachers.

The IEP-At-a-Glace's purpose is in its title. It's a shortened, bare bone, version of the IEP for the general education teacher. I filled out each section, located my co-teacher, and began the talk. Why must we talk to them? Homefry, you know they aren't gunna read it if you just handed it to them! They need the talk, don't take no as an answer. If they say no, they weren't made for this gig. They NEED to know, for the sake of the student and for the sake of team work.

The handout that my Inclusion Facilitator provided.

The IEP-At-a-Glance has the following components: the student's name, their disability, their most recent testing scores, services, minutes per subject, goals, and how the goal will be met in the classroom. This is what my inclusion facilitator felt was the most important for co-teachers to have on hand. I've found that it's super informational and it justifies what the learning specialist does in the room. Also, it opens a gateway into talking about co-planning and incorporating the students learning needs into the curriculum.

For example, one of my co-teachers had a mini-meltdown when we discussed the IEP. She admitted she never opened up the students IEP, didn't know how to read it, didn't know what to look at/ how to navigate it, and found it repetitive (no argument there). I used the IEP-At-a-Glance to address these issues.

During one of our co-planning dates, I had 2 -3 ready to discuss with her. They were all one page long since we all know that anything more than one page is too much information to discuss in one sitting. I walked her through what everything meant. I gave her contact info in case she needed to reach the social worker or the OT. I showed her example readings that the student could read independently. We also spoke about goals, what they meant, and how we could meet them. I also showed her how to navigate our IEP database.

Using this has made a world of a difference. My co-teacher knows what the student needs to success and what to focus on with the student. It explains who the creepy lady that waits at the door once a week (a service provider) does, why the student needs it, and when to expect the student out the room. Why is it important that our lovely co-teacher (gen. ed) knows all this? Because when you're gone, the high standards are still in place. You must make sure, as the learning specialist, that even when you're gone, they know what to do. Also, it leads to the co-planning process. It's a win-win situation!

How do you keep your co-teacher in the loop?


Post a Comment

Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top