CTA representatives have asked that we forward them input for a committee that is analyzing the impact of the teaching an additional period and having only one planning period for high school. In addition to the many negative outcomes being reported by general education teachers consider the following which is particular to ESE students and teachers:
1. Teachers have no time to mentor, support, counsel, and tutor students outside class. With the demands of curriculum, there is very little time in the classroom when instruction can be stopped to take care of this important ESE service. We have seen huge increases in suspensions, withdrawals to charter and private schools, drops in student grades, feelings from students that there is “no help.” and the number of students with a lack of motivation.
2. ESE teachers are missing 2-3 classes per week, on the average, to conduct IEP meetings. Sometimes it’s an aid covering or a co-teacher is left by themselves.
3. ESE teachers are completing the draft IEPs after school or at home. Increasing the “homework” portion of the job several more hours per week on the average.
4. Very little “case management” is occurring. There is much less time to consult, collaborate, make phone calls to parents and agencies, etc.
5. ESE teachers who co-teach travel all over the building (floating) and must co-plan with on the average 3 different teachers.
6. ESE teachers of students in the self-contained classrooms (TMH and SPMH at my school) use parts of their planning and lunch time to assist students in the lunchroom, bathroom, and locker rooms. This adds up to a class period, but because there is no roster for the ESE teacher, the time does not count as instructional for the ESE teacher.