A reader writes:
I could not agree more with this letter. As a Special Education Teacher, I can say that no one sees the fear and tears more than those in the special education realm. My students, who have been identified and have IEPs stating that they are not intellectually capable of completing grade level work, are required to take the same tests along side their peers.
Yes, I can read the content area exams to them, but it doesn’t help if they are unable to retain the information. The ELA exams are even more upsetting because I am forced to put grade-level text in front of them, read the directions and set them off on their own to read, comprehend, infer, and then do writing pieces incorporating what they learned in the passage.
I work hard everyday and love my students more than anything. I teach the same thing, in different ways everyday, and the next day they come back and look at me like I am speaking a foreign language when I ask them to do the exact same thing we did the day before.
Additionally, I have classroom teachers pushing my students away. Yes, I get graded based on how they perform in their special classes with me, but those teachers are getting graded on their performance in all other areas. They are no longer being referred to as “our students” but now they are my students and I am constantly being told they do not belong. It is breaking my heart because I spend my days striving to have my students as mainstreamed as possible in the least restrictive environment.
This will only get worse. Tension is high, work days are long and there are no longer days off. I know I personally am at work until 5 or 6 every night and spend my weekends developing my lesson plans or collecting my APPR artifacts to “prove” that I am a good teacher. At school teachers are crying after school and snapping at each other due to the overwhelming amount of stress that we are all under. If things do not change I am afraid of where things are heading.