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    RSP
    By Amanda K.

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    I taught RSP my first year (I am in CA, too). Yes, it is extremely difficult. Before accepting any job, ask them what the caseload is. I had 28 students in the elementary setting, which is close to the maximum for our area, and it was tough because of all the scheduling, not to mention the testing and the IEPs. You can get yourself a schedule that helps you with this. Personally, I didn't try to schedule with general ed teachers too much. There were just too many students, and you can please everyone. I just found out when everyone's lunches and recess were, also speech times, and scheduled around that. I also did not have class on Fridays, because I needed to leave that time open for testing, IEP meetings, and paperwork. Also, ask if they have the IEP forms on computer in their district. If not, you will spend A LOT of time filling out IEPs, and those NCR forms are a pain to fill out because of all the carbon copy papers you have to get to... you have to press really hard with your pen.

    Also, before you accept a job, I would recommend asking what your other responsibilities will be. At my school, I did not have to do recess duty or after school duty because my schedule was too hectic. That was crucial to my sanity, believe me. At my current school, however, the RSP teacher does have to do after school duties. But, she only has a caseload of 8.

    I do NOT recommend teaching RSP at the middle school. The caseload is too intensive (our current teacher came to us from middle school, and she had something like 60 kids on her caseload), and you have to do a ton of work at the end of the year doing transitional IEPs both for kids coming from the el. level and kids going to the high school level. Stick to elementary, especially since you're first starting out.

    And, MAKE SURE they give you a mentor. When I taught RSP, the mentorship program was just getting started, and I went half a year without one. I was so completely lost. (I taught on a credential waiver, since I don't have a special ed. credential, and it was my first year teaching anyway.) A mentor can mean the difference between a great year and a terrible one.

    Those are all my warnings. On the plus side, you get to know some great kids in a small group setting, something you don't really get in the gen ed classroom.

    Good luck! We really are lacking in good special ed teachers.



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