Tuesday, July 29, 2014

New Position, New Opportunities!

What a summer it has been!  I've had a lot going on both personally and professionaly.  Most notably, it has been determined that I am changing positions in my district.  I will be transferring to one of our four High Schools to help revamp the program to increase student success! I get the opportunity to create a new program that incorporates our students with severe Autism and significant behaviors in with our Life Skills students.  Our focus is on really matching activities to transition planning and ensuring we have post-secondary placements ready when students graduate!  
I am super excited.  I am teaming up with another teacher that I've worked with in previous years and seen a lot of success.  We are splitting subjects (I will be ELA/SS, he will take Math/Sci) and then will share the load with vocational, daily living, etc.  We were allowed to hand pick our paraprofessionals and have put together a "dream team".  
It is a big change for me.  I have been a Middle School teacher for 14 of my 16 years teaching!  I LOVE middle schoolers.  High school is a rather daunting age to me.  I feel a significant pressure to ensure student success.  High school is the end of their public education, which means we have a lot of work to do!  
Anyway, just wanted to share.  If you have any advice, favorite high school blogs, etc, please share!  I can't wait to see what this year holds!  

Monday, July 7, 2014

Special Educator Bloghop

Jamie over at Tales of a Carolina Girl is hosting a Special Educator Bloghop!  Figured I'd join in as I LOVE to see other special educators blogging.  Click on the button below to head over to her bloghop!

Here's Mine!!

Name: Erin

Job Title: APPLE Teacher (teacher of children with Autism and severe behaviors)

Grade: Middle School (6-8) 

How Long I've Been Teaching: 15 years (my husband just said "have you really been teaching for 15 years??  Good lord you're old!"  Thanks honey, thanks a lot!)

Advice: I have two things:  First:  Beg, Borrow, Steal, and Create!!!  As a special education teacher, you are often expected to teach all subjects and multiple grade levels.  It is IMPOSSIBLE to be a master of every subject on your own.  Find others who you can get ideas from.  Find others who will help you create items.  Follow bloggers who share their activities, ideas, and printables.  Collaborate with others.  You are not in this alone.  There are those few teachers out there who will not share.  Do not let those people get you down.  Move on and find others who will share.  When you look through my classroom, you will find that over half of my materials are items I have found through others!  If it is an item I created, I probably got the idea from someone else and built on it!  Just always remember, you are NOT in this alone, there are others with the same passion you have that are more than willing to share their ideas so that your children can thrive!!!  

Second:  Behavior, behavior, behavior.  If students behavior is not under control, you are not having true success.  As you plan for your classroom, determine how you will manage behavior.  Create reinforcement systems (or find good ones from others - see above).  Create behavior charts (again, see above).  Determine what behaviors you will focus on and what techniques you will use.  When school starts, implement your interventions, assess their effectiveness, and make adjustments!  

Thanks for the bloghop Jamie!!  I can't wait to learn from other bloggers!