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    My Advice (for what it's worth)
    By Sue

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    I don't post often, but saw this topic and wanted to add my thoughts. I am happy to say I am now a 4th year Jr. High Special Education teacher and loving (most) every minute of it. However, a couple weeks into my first year of teaching had me wondering why I ever dreamed of becoming a teacher. I was hired directly out of college to work as a Special Ed. teacher for grades 4-8. My "classroom" in the elementary was no bigger than my bathroom at home, but considering I had no room at all in the high school, I guess I should have considered myself lucky. They placed my Jr. High Science class in an English Room and my Social STudies class in a Home Ec. Room while those teachers weren't in there. The English teacher did not like it at all and refused to let me keep things there and there were at least 10 people coming in and out of the home ec. room daily as I was trying to teach. Teachers warming up lunches, kids getting things out of ovens, cooks washing towels..the distractions were endless. I had to travel between two adjacent buildings to teach different levels and were given no materials or textbooks at all for my Science, Social Studies, or Reading classes. I had a small group study hall for 4th graders, and taught 5 & 6th grade special ed math (which thankfuily I was given books for) My closet room was always packed (6 kids around a kitchen table) for math. In the Jr. High/ High School building i had NO support at all. The other teachers did not want me in their rooms, the principal was brand new and trying be a "buddy" to all of the kids, there were also two ass't principals who each had their own agendas (which didn't include helping me at all). My Jr. high students swore, through desks at each other, fought, punched, ran out of class, etc. etc. The principal at the elementary buildng was sympathetic but didn't take any action. Thankfully, I found supportive people within the Elementary building to help me make it through the year. My mentor was a great listener and others would try to give me their "extra" materials to create lessons. After one year there, I accepted the primary special ed position in the same district which was at a different building all together, but thankfully early that summer I was contacted by my current principal and interviewed for and offered a job at my current position.
    The administration and staff at my current school coudln't be more helpful and most any materials I want are bought for me with no questions asked.
    My advice to you is just find someone in the building who you can feel at ease with and with a sympathetic ear. I know it is difficult, but try to let the issues go when you go home. I was sick nearly every night during my first year of teaching and slept constantly. It was nearly the end of me. Focus on the positives in your own personal life and the successes (however small) that you achieve in the classroom. Then next spring begin getting your resume and applications out to other schools. I know it seems like such an issue now, but looking back on my situation, it isn't nearly as painful a memory as it once was and I am so glad I stuck with the teaching profession because the benefits I receive from my students now are priceless.

    Goodluck in any decision you make.

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