They say that there is no tired like teacher tired at the beginning of the school year; to which, I say, “Who are ‘they’?” Because ‘they’ are wrong. It’s not tiring; it’s downright exhausting.
But it is the most rewarding job on Earth! I dare you to try to prove me wrong! :) And that is why we do it every school year. Because we love it - exhausting, as it is!
Our students positively drain us on an hourly basis, and the most essential function of our jobs is our students! So it is important to TAKE CARE OF OURSELVES FOR OUR STUDENTS.
So let’s make what ‘they’ say true! Let’s ONLY be tired at the beginning of the school year; not exhausted! :)
Each summer I keep a notebook where I jot down all of the beginning of the year “TO DOs” that pop into my head… bulletin board ideas, lessons for the first week, printables I will need to copy, etc.
Then, when the summer rolls to its end and I’m ready to tackle the school year, I review my list, crossing off the ideas I’m over, making final decisions, etc.
Next, I make a checklist of what I need to accomplish.
Checklists help us get and stay organized, identify and focus our energies on our goals, motivate us, increase our productivity, and alleviate our brains of having to do EVERYTHING - or at least a few things!
I organize my checklist into main topics: Classroom, Instruction, and Administrative. Each item from my list is placed in order of importance under a main topic.
Prioritizing a checklist enables us to give the most important tasks MORE of our attention, energy, and time. Once the bigger items are checked off, we can feel less anxious. In addition, the remainder of the items typically require LESS of our attention, energy, and time.
General Education teachers have a few items that are on the EASY end of their checklists. They are often provided with class lists and schedules at the start of the school year. They are aware of the students in their classrooms who participate in Special Education services, but it is on someone else’s checklist to get them the student’s Special Education information.
That ‘someone else’ is the Special Education teacher. But what else is on the Special Educator’s TO DO?
As a Special Educator, it’s often difficult to know where to begin at the start of the year!
No worries! I’m here to help!
I present to you… (insert drumroll here)
The Special Education Teacher Beginning of the Year TO DO Checklist:
For each IEP, you should create a snapshot of the IEP, typically referred to as an IEP at a Glance. This is an abbreviated document that provides a quick reference to a student’s IEP.
Let’s be real for a moment! Elementary classroom teachers have between 15 to 25 students on average in their classrooms. Middle school teachers, high school teachers, and special area teachers such as music and physical education teach as many as 100 or more students during the year. How can they possibly keep track of every single student’s needs?
And never mind the number of students, teachers teach, there are so many moving parts in a classroom that teachers can be overwhelmed during every minute of the day. I would be thoroughly impressed if a general education teacher could list a student’s goals, accommodations, or cite a service delivery grid off the top of their head. In fact, if a classroom teacher of 25 students or a Special Education Teacher with a caseload of 15 students could do any one of these things, he/she should get an award!
We don’t need to memorize a student’s IEP, and we should not be expected to! We are human. So just like our students, we need some accommodations to support our achievement! An IEP at a Glance does just this. It provides teachers with a quick reference tool during lesson planning, assessing, and/or managing their classroom.
Therefore, think of an IEP at a Glance as the cliff notes version of the IEP.
Here's what to include:
You can grab this IEP at a Glance Editable Freebie HERE!!
You can download this list as a FREEBIE here!
I hope you guys have had amazingly enriching AND relaxing experiences this summer, and I hope that you have an amazingly enriching AND relaxing experience this school year - partially thanks to this post! :)
~By: Miss Rae
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Hi! I'm Miss Rae! I'm a Special Education Coordinator with a passion for creating research-based resources for DiVeRSe learners and helping teachers make their lives easier! #teacherrealtalk #missraesroom