Life in Special Education is hosting a linky party discussing all that we've learned this year. Click below to join up with the linky party.
Now onto what I've learned this year. Considering how this has been my first year of teaching, I've had A LOT to learn!!!
1. IEPs are A LOT of paperwork!!! I just did 3 IEPs today and man I'm beat. Luckily, I only have 1 IEP left this school year. Unluckily, it's on the LAST day of school.
2. Watching a child master something you've really worked hard on is a priceless moment.
3. As a first year teacher, it's important that you build a relationship with someone at your school that can be a mentor/support system. The teacher doesn't have to be the same grade level/subject area to give you that support. There were some fabulous teachers at my school who were more than willing to help me out and just listen to me vent. Thank you to them!
4. Parent support/assistance really does make a difference. Lack of parent support/assistance also really makes a difference.
5. Learn to love those quirks in your students (sometimes this can be hard!). I have one student who tells me the same things every day. If he has to go to the restroom, he says, "I'll be back in 5 minutes." Everyday when he leaves my room he says, "I'll be back tomorrow." These are just a few things he routinely says, but he's very routine-oriented and predictable. I LOVE these quirks about him. If nothing else, I can count him everyday to give me some routine! And some days, I really need the routine!
6. Scheduling has been by far the biggest challenge for me this year. My kids are coming and going like they're getting on and off a merry-go-round. It's so difficult to try and teach when you have people showing up late, leaving in the middle for PE, coming early, etc. Not to mention, it sure is hard to teach a 2nd grader subtraction with regrouping while you also have 3 Kindergarteners that need to learn basic sight words at the same time. I sure hope this part is better next year.
7. Expecting special educations students to take grade level assessments is really unfair. There were times I felt like I was torturing them with assessments that were far above their abilities.
8. Kids really do learn a lot through the use of games. I've used games a good deal in my class, especially to work on sight words. There have been times that I questioned whether or not I was doing the right thing to use games instead of worksheets, flashcards, etc. However, I just have to look at their progress to see that it really has helped.
9. A computer program cannot replace the instruction I can give, especially when the computer program replaces instructional time.
10. Most of all, I have learned that there are some fabulous and creative teachers that are beyond generous with their ideas, resources, and materials. Teacher blogs have provided me with so many resources and ideas that I would have never known were out there. Thank you to all of blog land for being kind!