Every day in a special education classroom can be different. So much can depend on how the kiddos are feeling, what’s on the schedule for the day, even whether the weather keeps us cooped up inside! We all know that there’s a high rate of burnout among special education teachers and it can only help to have some tips for managing a special education caseload. Here are some of our favorite tips for special education teachers:
Stay familiar with the IEPs.
Keeping track of the details of each student’s IEP can help you feel confident that you’re meeting each student’s needs and helping them to succeed. It may also help serve as a reminder to you of how much progress a student is making!
Connect with other special education teachers.
Not only is it important to share tips and tricks with others in the field, it’s great to bounce ideas off someone who is familiar with the types of students you serve. Teaching special education classes can be overwhelming at times, and it certainly helps to share frustrations and triumphs with people who really get it.
Connect with your students’ general education teachers, too.
With more and more efforts to include special education students in the general education environment, many mainstream teachers are getting more experience with these students, but some may still be unsure and even uncomfortable. They may take their lead from you, so be prepared to educate them. Be sure they understand how the time spent in their classroom will help your students meet goals on their IEP. We all know that when students with special needs or disabilities are included among their typically developing peers, everyone wins!
We’re not just talking about being able to touch your toes, although there are great resources out there for yoga in the special ed classroom. It’s inevitable that things change: school schedules, students’ needs, etc. It’s up to us to stay flexible and be able to adjust when necessary, but still stay structured.
Although most teachers have gotten used to keeping data for IEPs, daily notes, and even communication with other support staff and students’ parents all on paper, many have found success in using technology to keep everything safe and in one place. Birdhouse for Special Education Teachers lets you document and securely share student info with everyone on the team, including parents, set goals and reminders, and create charts of the data you’re keeping. Keeping it all together helps you keep it all together!
As always, we tip our hats to all special education teachers out there working every day to make a difference in the lives of some truly incredible kids!