IEP meetings can be intimidating for everyone at the table!
Making sure that you have everything you need with you, however, can make them a lot less so.
General education teachers, here’s what to bring to an IEP meeting – and what’s not necessary to drag along.
What General Ed Teachers Should Bring to an IEP Meeting
Even for the most seasoned special education teachers, IEP meetings can be nerve-wracking.
Meeting with parents, discussing goals, making sure that everything is appropriate and satisfies the law…it’s a lot.
So, when general education teachers are asked to attend the meeting, we know it’s not a stress-free endeavor.
Don’t worry! We asked veteran special education teachers for their best tips and suggestions for what to bring to an IEP meeting so that you (hopefully!) feel calm, cool, and collected.
Here are their suggestions:
- Glows and Grows – Start with the positives and share ways that the student shines in the classroom. Examples of how he has grown throughout the year are also helpful and much appreciated – especially by parents! If the IEP is student-led, be sure to address the student personally when sharing how much he has grown and how proud you are of him.
- Work Examples – The IEP meeting is a time to discuss where a child is and where he is going academically. When general education teachers bring work examples, it gives families concrete evidence of what the child’s current level looks like in practice. If you have work examples from the whole year, bringing a beginning of the year, mid-year, and end of year example will help show progress.
- Relevant Classroom Assessments – If there are relevant tests, quizzes, or assessments that will show the child’s progress and needs, those are good examples to bring along.
- Running Records – For those general ed teachers who keep running records of the student’s academic progress and behavior, those documents can help families understand the progression of areas of need over time.
The Two Most Important Things to Bring to an IEP Meeting
While documents are great to bring along, in many cases the information has already been collected and included in the IEP. They may not be necessary at all and, in some instances, the special education teacher may prefer that you not bring them with you to the meeting. Just ask!
Instead, these are the two most important things that any general ed teacher can bring to an IEP meeting.
- Punctuality – It can be challenging to get away from the classroom to attend an IEP meeting, but understand that the meeting has a set agenda and flow based on laws and time constraints. When general ed teachers show up late, it can disrupt that and put families on the defensive. Being on time is appreciated more than you know!
- A Great Attitude – Not every student may be your favorite, but every child deserves someone who will approach helping them with a positive attitude. Going into it angry, frustrated, or with a dismissive attitude can completely change the tone of the gathering and create a very awkward, unproductive meeting. Bringing your best attitude, a great smile, and a willingness to help the student is the greatest gift you can give that family.
When you approach each IEP meeting as an opportunity to help a child – and family! – it becomes less intimidating and more of an opportunity to be the teacher you strive to be.
Bring any documents that are requested, but, more importantly, be on time and bring an attitude of caring, compassion, and enthusiasm. This is an opportunity to change a child’s life.