This is the end of my second year as a TA in a self-contained language classroom and I LOVE working with my students, several who’s primary diagnosis is Autism. They are some of the most wonderful and rewarding children I have ever worked with but there are many things that bother me about the way our education system is set up. I am lucky enough to have professors that have been in the field as administrators but they also tend to give me what I like to call, “Beat around the bush political answers.”
My school uses (or tries to say they do) RtI. Wonderful Idea. I love the concept…but we are losing a teacher, and possibly 2 TA’s next year because our numbers are too low. Uhhh, okay. Isn’t having low numbers of children with special ed minutes the point? And how are we supposed to continue a sucessful RtI program if we can’t provide the general ed teachers with the support and help they need to carry out their end of the deal? It seems to me that we should be adding staff members. Aren’t the kids and their success far more important than my paycheck? I’m not in this to make money. I’m here because of the kids and I’ll take a pay cut if it means we can hire more teachers and my students get the attention and assistance they have the right to recieve! I know the economy is bad, but one of these days someone is going to have to suck it up and stick it out so that others can have a chance otherwise no one will have a chance.
The discrepency to qualify for services….HA! It keeps getting wider. You have to have so many points between this and that and kids are STILL qualifying! As they should be no doubt, but how far are they going to spread it before we run ourselves ragged?! Despite these new(er) standards we have had 12 qualify for a Autism diagnosis in the past school year. 12. In one elementary school in one school year and we are losing staff because our numbers are too low?! uh, WTF? Throw us a bone!
LRE or Least Restrictive Enviornment. Again, concept wonderful. It keeps general education teachers from simply “putting out” the kids with disrruptive behaviors for no good reason. Thats great! I’m all for that! However, there is SO MUCH red tape to cut through even when it is obvious that a student is not in the correct placement. 1 teacher at my school has spent nearly an entire year getting a child replaced at a Phase 3 building for next year. This child would jump onto the long cafeteria tables and run across them, jump from table to table and throw furniture. Yet, until the superintendant said it was too dangerous for him to be there, we couldn’t even get a meeting with Phase 3. (Phase 3 buildings are all kids with IEP’s that have severe disabilities.)
I love my job but there is so much red tape to get things done because the system has been abused so many times. As parents or other teachers have you encountered the same struggles and how do handle them? As far as I’m concerned children deserve the best we as adults can give them, education wise but as the written standards increase, our physical capabilities decrease. We are mulitasking more often and not able to give the attention they deserve. Granted I don’t think we should over support. They have to learn to be independant, but shouldn’t we be able to give these kids what they need in the beginning and not skimp because we can’t provide it? Many times we give them what we can and hope for the best…it’s not right in my book.
What challenges have you experienced with Schools?