Monday, September 3, 2012

The First Day of School

It amazes me every year how fast the summer goes.  As the first day of school approaches I always find myself full of emotions-excitement, anticipation, and fear.  As a special educator in Baltimore City, I usually don't find out what I will be teaching until the week before we go back.  This adds a special type of anxiety into the mix.  This year I had set some goals for planning for over the summer even though I didn't know what grade levels I would be teaching.  However, the week before school started, I found out I would be in a much different position than I have ever been in or that I anticipated being in.  Previously, I have worked in a co-teaching situation in a full inclusion classroom and last year I was a resource teacher for grades 3, 4, and 5. This year I will be a self-contained teacher for 2 hours each morning teaching math and reading and then in the afternoons I will be co-teaching 6th grade language arts/social studies and science with the majority of the students with special needs that I teach reading and math to in the mornings.

This will be the first year where I am solely responsible for teaching my students reading and math, exposing them to grade level curriculum as well as work on their IEP goals.  My students are in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades.  It is overwhelming to try to think about how all of that will be accomplished in the time that I have with them.  My administration tells me it is the "curse of the special educator" to figure out how to accomplish this. I am determined to help my students achieve and to help them advance more than a year this year.  It will be an interesting ride figuring out how to do this.  My first obstacle, after meeting them this week, is behavior. They are all over the place and constantly start arguments with themselves over really minuscule things.  There are also the regular routines and procedures that need to be put into place.

Now that you have met your students, what is the biggest obstacle you need to overcome?