Special Education

Jen - posted on 07/07/2009 ( 24 moms have responded )

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Hi Ladies,

I teach middle school Special Education and have mostly autistic students. Does anyone else teach in this field and feel completely drained when you get home? Two of my own sons have ADHD, so I feel like I have nothing left to give at the end of the day. I have the two most rewarding jobs in the world!

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Heidi - posted on 07/17/2009

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I teach grades 1 - 5 in an SH classroom on a regular elementary campus. I love my job, except for the parents who spend all their time working on a "cure" for their child instead of just loving them and relishing each baby step. At home, my 11 year old son will be entering middle school which is a difficult transition for any child, but even more so for my son that has Asperger's. He doesn't read social cues and therefore is easily influenced by others just so he can "fit in". Elementary school was a nurturing environment where his quirckiness was accepted. Being a teacher myself does not afford me the latitude to spend time on campus with him (I work in a different district) to introduce staff, buildings and routes. I have to "let go" and trust that the middle school staff will be able to provide support and good role models. Good luck to us all!

[deleted account]

I teach special ed kindergarten. This year it will be a K-1 group. I've been able to do full inclusion for the last few years because I had a straight kinder, but the district cut that program. Getting pretty burned out. This will be my last year in special ed, and then I will go back to gen ed for a while.

Roxanne - posted on 07/16/2009

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I work with several autistic students. I teach in the elementary level though! It can be very exhausting at times-- it just depends how severe the student is-- I have been fortunate enough to have high functioning autistic students who love to work--how long have you been teaching?

Janeen - posted on 07/16/2009

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I teach middle school Special Ed and all of my students have an Emotional disability. So lots of behavior issues that are similar to what you deal with when dealing with students with ADHD or Austism and sometimes drained doesnt even come close to describing some feelings. I absolutely love my job but I understand completely where you are coming from. I was fortunate last year to convince my principal to move a treadmill that was not being used by the school into my classroom. Not only do I use it to help the students get some of the energy out and help them regroup but I like to get on it at the end of the day after the students have left even if only for 5 minutes just so that I can have something that is just for me, this lets me reflect on the day and leave my classroom refreshed and ready to go home and then ready to move onto the next day. Prior to getting the treadmill, I would walk up and down the stairs at our school. It wasnt much but it was kind of like a focus time for me and it helped me alot!

Cathi - posted on 07/16/2009

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I teach high school special education and I love it. I do often feel drained when I get home but I used to teach regular education history and I was always drained when I got home from that too. I have three children: 1 26 year old daughter with an IQ of 70 who also has ADHD and was in Special Education her whole life, 1 24 year old son who has a genius IQ but is not motivated, and 1 13 year old son who has a high IQ but he has ADHD and 3 learning disabilities. I have seen and done it all.

Zerline - posted on 07/15/2009

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Try to have another outlet besides work and home. When you get home, have a routine with the family that you have at least 30 minutes alone time with whatever it is that you like - reading, exercising, nap, etc. Once a week have a me time for at least an hour without any pressures. Besides my own children activities, I do not volunteer for children clubs like girl scouts, children Sunday School, etc. This gives me a break for two days and I am refreshed on Monday morning to give my students my all.

Therese - posted on 07/15/2009

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Hello. I am a Special Ed. teacher who works in a specialized Autism program. I've completed my 7th year straight as a SDC-Autism teacher. I've taught K-2 for 4 years, and I've taught 2-4 for 3 years. Everyday of the school year, I feel emotionally and physically drained. Every year, I tell my principal that this will be my LAST year in a specialized program. However, I sign up at the end of the school year for more. It is the most difficult job that I've experienced, but I love what I do. Also, I give my energy and time to my family too. I just take things in stride and pray for more energy and time for everything I do.....Also, I have a type "A" personality that I can't shut off! Good luck and hang in there!

Janna - posted on 07/15/2009

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It's so nice to hear what everyone is saying. I've been feeling terrible lately because I'm kinda dreading school starting back. I teach Pre-K inclusion (rotating between 2 classes) and have a 6yr old and 3 yr old at home. Both will be attending my school this school year, which will be great, but I'm also a bit worried about not having any down time to myself. They will ride to and from school with me everyday, so basically no break until bedtime at 8pm.(my husband works late most nights) I feel like teaching children that are the same age (developmentally or otherwise) as my own children will be difficult, but I'm hoping it will get easier as my own get older. I also love both my jobs and can't imagine doing anything else- I just need to somehow find some "me" time too.

Jennifer - posted on 07/15/2009

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I am as well a middle school special educator. For the last three years I have had at least 1 or 2 autistic students. I am drained as well because I coach volleyball in the fall and I have a two year old at home. The best thing you can for for your students, your family and most of all yourself if find time for yourself every day. Yes I have to get up at 5:00 during the school year for this to happen, but since I have been doing it the past year and half I am a better teacher, wife and mother! I work out and make sure everything is ready for my family when they wake up. Sometimes I do have to cut my workout short for early meetings, but in the end you will be a better person because it gives you energy and you can feel accomplishment really early in the day :)! On the way home listen to whatever music you can to help you de-escalate. Tell yourself before you meet any of your family after your day. I am going to be the Mom my child needs, not cranky, tired person I feel like.

Jessica - posted on 07/15/2009

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Yeah - EXHAUSTED! That's the best word for it. It's now halfway through summer & my house is finally beginning to look like it is meant to - clutter free & kinda clean! I'm a high school special ed teacher and a single mom of a very active - likely to be labeled with ADHD - little boy. I leave my work at work, I keep him in day care an hour longer than I really need to so I can have a little me time & I fall asleep by 8 or 9pm. I agree - they are the 2 best jobs - but they are both so draining! We eat the easiest meals - baked fish & microwaved veggies, mac & cheese, anything in the crock pot that takes less than 3 minutes to assemble - so that I can actually get a walk with the dog in & some play time. Unfortunately, that means that I get none of my chores done during the week, but at least I stay relatively sane!!



Of course, I can't sit down once I am home or I completely fall asleep. My boyfriend loves that in summer I can actually keep my eyes open past 8!!!

Kristi - posted on 07/14/2009

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I teach high school special education have had several autistic students in the same class. I agree with someone else that some years are better than others. You have to focus on having some time to yourself. I work an hour away from home so that hour drive is my "me" time before I come home to my own family. My 9 year old daughter has vision problems and to some degree anxiety over school and I often have to help her with her work. My 5 year old son has some degree of ADHD and it is a struggle to get him to settle down for homework. On top of that I also have a disabled husband. On really bad days when I get home and the drive has not been enough, I just tell them that I need a few minutes more of me time then I will be ready to focus on them. I may just go sit in the other room or take a quick shower but it is a way for me to relax and not take out the stresses of work life on them. We do have the two best jobs in the world.

Sue - posted on 07/14/2009

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Wow!! Kinda sounds familiar...amazed you have enough energy to get to the end of the day!!!

Samantha - posted on 07/14/2009

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I am a Elem. Special Ed Teacher, I have 4 level III students with severe needs as well as 15 other students on my caseload. Gotta love IAA. In addition, I have 3 year old twins and a 2 year old. I love both jobs, I wouldn't change a thing. I have alot of patience, but things do get tense at home. As soon as I leave work, I try to drop everything, until after the boys go to bed, but find myself up very late with paper work. Its difficult to shut your mind off to the two most important things in your life. How do you feel about your relationship with your husbands?

Jessica - posted on 07/13/2009

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Hi, I too am a Special Ed. teacher. Last year was my first year teaching in this field; previously I taught 2nd grade general ed. I come home drained as well and have a 2 year old I have to take care of at the end of the day. I have a rewarding job and I wouldn't trade it for anything!!

Breane - posted on 07/13/2009

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I work as a T.A. with special needs students in grade 4. I know how draining it is when I was working, I had a 1 yr old at home and was expecting my second the whole time I was working. It was draining and hard to be pregnant and to be one on one with my student, who sometimes didnt understand what was really going on. I made it through the school year and my youngest just turned one this month. I look forward to going back on a volunteer basis for now and I sure miss the school

[deleted account]

I am an autistic support teacher. I teach grades 7-12and I know EXACTLY what you mean. I just had my little girl in May and will be heading back to work in September. I'm curious to see how this is going to work out. I love my job, though!

Krista - posted on 07/13/2009

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I teach special ed, grades 9-12, have a 6 year-old daughter, and am a newly-single mom. So, I am also completely exhausted. What helps me is to try my best to leave work on time, even though it means working through my lunch period. Rather than immediately pick up my daughter from after-school care, I take a few minutes to myself- get coffee, meet friends, exercise, get a pedicure, whatever I need to refresh myself a bit. At first I felt guilty for not picking up my daughter immediately, but I found I'm a better mom to her when I'm a little refreshed.

[deleted account]

I work with kids that have behavioral issues grades K-5. I am drained as well but my number one rule is to leave my work at school. As i drive home from school each day, I use my van as a sanctuary and crank my music while I prep for "Mom mode." It also helps that my own children are very happy to see me when i walk in. I have four daughters ages 2, 7, 9, and 14!!

Debbie - posted on 07/10/2009

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I teach inclusion, which means I have regular education with about 1/3 of my class that is special ed. They stay with me all day and the speciaI education teacher comesin for a few hours, but there is much time when I'm on my own. I agree with Heidi some years are better than others. I have had years that the kids have given me energy and it is a joy to go to work, then I've had years that by the end of the day I feel like all my energy has been sucked out of me. Hang in there because when it is good, it is great!

Heidi - posted on 07/09/2009

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I teach preschool special needs also and can relate with you. I am so drained all I feel like doing is vegging out when I get home. I have a daughter in Elementary school and feel like she gets the short end of the stick. I hope things get better each year, but some years are better then others.

Consuelo - posted on 07/09/2009

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I'm also an Autism Specialist for 3-5 year olds and I'm taking classes towards my certification in ABA. Last school year, I worked part time but will be full time in the fall because our numbers of preschoolers with AU keeps going up. I have 3 kids who are very active in gymnastics and dance so I feel like I NEVER stop!! I also feel DRAINED but like you said we have two of the most rewarding jobs in the world.

Lisa - posted on 07/08/2009

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i work with special ed students k-2 grade. i will be going back to work in august with a 4 month old at home. i worry about what yo said...having enough patience when i get home after a rough day at work

Brenda - posted on 07/08/2009

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Jen I happen to be a specialist in autism. I know how draining the field can be with the challenging behaviors and the constant fight and flight mode of the job. Your not alone. I too am a student at Johns Hopkins in the autism field which requires even more of me. My girls are always complaining that I am constantly working. I will be done August 8th and can't wait. I will finally have some me time and some time for the girls. Just remember to keep a positive attitude and leave your work at work and enjoy your family.

Jenny - posted on 07/07/2009

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I teach Special Education preschool, and I understand what you mean by drained! I have an active 15 month old at home, so a lot of the time, when school's in session, I feel he gets the short end of the stick. I love my job though!

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