Being a special education teacher, our jobs are pretty special. No pun intended.
We have a lot of fun teaching and learning from our friends. Our job is tough, though, and some days the word “tough” doesn’t even begin to describe it. I’ll be honest – some days we just survive. And that’s okay.
But it’s those moments in time that happen each day… the little laughs, the things our kids say and do, the things we start saying and doing, and so much more that just make our job so much fun.
Yes, even on the tough days.
And a lot of us say we should keep track of what our students say and write a book with it. I know that no two books would be identical, but man… we all experience the same stuff.
So let the hilarity ensue…
But first, thank you to everyone in The Special Ed Squad Facebook group for helping curate this amazing, hilarious, yet completely relatable account of what we special education teachers go through on a daily basis. We are not alone!
7:01 Arrive at school 44 minutes before the students arrive.
7:06 Begin running around like a madwoman because all of the copiers are out of toner, and you have an IEP meeting during your planning period at 9:30AM.
7:10 Restart your computer because you can’t connect to the district WIFI, and you can’t log in to the IEP system.
7: 15 Get a text from one paraprofessional that he will be out today. He already told admin, and admin said they would “handle it”.
7:21 Get the IEP system loaded, only to realize you changed your password two days ago and now can’t remember it.
7:28 Finally get the IEP paperwork printed to your personal classroom printer. Your printer is now out of paper.
7:31 Get a text from admin that both of your paraprofessionals are out today. And there are no subs available.
7:32 Pick yourself up off the floor. You’re the adult. Kids will be here in T minus 13 minutes.
7:40 Get an email from a parent who wants to schedule a conference to talk about Marsha’s progress. And she wants to see the child’s full school file. At 3:30 today. Sharp.
7:44 Run to the bus circle to get your students off the bus.
7:45 Students get off the bus. One is chewing on his left shoe. One had an explosive BM and needs changed, yesterday. One forgot her glasses. And one is crying because he is hungry.
7:48 Students are in a line, sort of, so now we can all walk back to the classroom.
7:49 Student is chewing on the right shoe now. Put student’s shoe back on.
7:52 Get to classroom. Put student’s shoe back on. Tell the other student to go to the bathroom. Admin walks in to let you know there will be a fire drill at some point today.
8:07 Run around to find the student who didn’t make it to class before the bell and is just roaming the halls.
8:25 Join general ed classroom for morning meeting. We’re a few minutes late, it’s cool.
8:31 Take student A to the nurse because student B bit her on the back of the neck.
9:13 Try to calm down a frantic child who heard another teacher mention the fire drill.
9:20 Put student D’s shoes back on. Carry crying student C who refuses to walk. Hope and pray that the rest of your students are following you back to the classroom.
9:25 Time for specials. Drop students off at specials with a fill-in teacher for your para because you have an IEP meeting (otherwise, you wouldn’t get your planning time today).
9:28 Leave the gym to run and grab your IEP paperwork.
9:30 Arrive at the IEP meeting.
WHO KNOWS WHAT IS GOING ON IN SPECIALS?! …but we know 😉
10:00 IEP meeting lasts your entire planning. You’ll have to pee later.
10:00 Specials are over. Go pick up the kids.
10:04 Front office calls to remind you to take attendance.
10:10 Make it back to the classroom to start reading groups.
10:17 You make it outside with all of your students. You’re all in one piece. It’s fine kids, lay down. No, don’t run. It’s not time for recess. No, stay here. Okay, let me hold your hand. And your hand. Yulia put your shoes back on please. No, don’t throw your shoe. On. Shoe on. … …
10:31 A student is not accounted for and can’t be found. You’re wondering how much longer.
10:47 Student is found in the teacher’s classroom bathroom. All call, now you can go back in.
10:52 Make it back inside. Now it’s time to get ready for lunch.
10:53 Start the potty and handwashing routine. You hope no one is washing their hands in the potty.
10:57 Record timing for lining up. They must be hungry today.
11:15 As you are attending student needs at lunch, the speech pathologist finds you and wants to speak about Frank’s session. You offer suggestions.
11:30 Lunch is over. Begin cleaning up with students.
11:39 Line up and make your way back to the classroom.
11:40 Get stopped in the hallway by a general ed teacher who has a student melting down. Admin told the teacher to bring the child to you because you “are the only one available”.
11:44 Make it back to the classroom.
11:45 Put melting down student in the Calm Down Area.
11:47 Front office calls to remind you to take attendance. Again.
11:49 Student who was melting down is now calm. Tell the child he can go back to his classroom. Child begins melting down again.
11:55 Send melting down student back to class.
12:00 Computer / iPad time.
COMPUTER TIME RUNS SMOOTHLY. (That is if you have enough devices for students to be 1:1).
12:30 Sensory / Motor Lab.
12:49 Another teacher says, “Mrs. DeLussey… your one child just took his pants off!”
12:53 Find student under the slide chewing on both shoes this time. Put shoes back on.
1:00 Story time.
1:04 Admin stops in for an informal observation.
1:07 Finish the story and try to transition to Math centers, while having students take a bathroom break.
1:14 Chase student around the classroom. Another student takes her shoes off and starts running around the room.
1:15 Catch student one. Send to the bathroom to throw away used diaper.
1:16 Catch second student. Put shoes back on student and put student back in center.
1:28 Admin gets up to leave. Reminds you of the staff meeting after school today.
1:29 Walk calmly to your desk to retrieve a small Reese’s cup from your secret candy stash. You remain calm. You don’t want students to know you have chocolate.
1:34 Student A just bit Student E. Call the nurse and she responds, “Who got hurt now?”
1:42 Student has meltdown because she wants goldfish crackers and you offered carrots.
1:50 OT comes in.
1:53 PT comes in.
2:00 Speech Path comes in.
2:07 Receive email from teacher asking if you have an IEP for a student who is not on your caseload.
2:30 Start potty routine. For the sake of this… let’s just pretend it goes slowly.
2:42 Begin dismissal routine. Clean up. Backpacks. Jackets. All shoes are on. We’re lining up. And we’re late to the bus. Again.
3:10 Run down the hallway carrying freshly cleaned up student to get him on the bus. His bus is the first in line, and no other buses can leave until the first bus pulls out.
… this time is sort of a blur.
3:30 Go to front office to see if parent has arrived yet. (Mind you, you are missing the staff meeting now).
3:38 Parent has still not arrived. Call parent. No answer. (Still missing the staff meeting.)
3:44 Parent calls and needs to reschedule for tomorrow. Reschedule.
3:45 Head to the staff meeting.
4:05 The room is quiet, all of the kids made it home safely, and you finally have a moment to breathe and look at the chaos that surrounds you. You think about your day, and you just laugh. You heart is full, but your brain is dead.
… and we will just leave it at 4:05PM. The end of the contract day. Not the end of our day. #letsbehonest
There’s clean up. Prepping for tomorrow. Making a pot of coffee. Sanitizing all the things. Closing out of all the apps. Finding the two missing visual