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Don't know what to do

Gina TX

Senior Member
I just started teaching this January. I've now officially spent 6 weeks teaching Science, 6th grade. I love it. A little background. I am 39 years old, this is a second career for me, but what I have always wanted to do. I have an ESL endorsement and am working on my masters. Almost done there. Today when I got to school and was getting things from the workroom the lead teacher of Sp. Ed. approached me and asked me "You do plan to be here next year right?" Well, I hope so. So she goes on to tell me that they are totally revamping the Sp. Ed. department because right now they have very few in 6th grade, but several in 5th grade that will be with us next year. She asked me if I would consider teaching Sp. Ed. Science next year. Mind you I have NO background in Sp. Ed. at all. She said they really needed a strong Science teacher and would like for me to consider it. I absolutely do not want to do this. I love what I'm doing, I don't feel like I have enough experience, and honestly, I don't know that I am that strong in Science. I am learning as I go. I guess that happens a lot for the first year. Why do you think she would have asked me? She asked that I let her know in the next couple of months. I don't want to cause any problems but I do not want to do this. I want to keep my classroom and continue what I am doing now. I love the team that I work with and I have learned a lot from them. Should I approach the principal and tell him I don't feel like this would be a good thing for me or should I just tell the teacher that I'm sorry but I don't want to do it? I hate to be put in these situations. I haven't been around long enough to know if there are implications from telling them no. Please help.



Tell her no. You stated several times you don't want to do it. You seem to know yourself and you know you wouldn't be happy in that position. Don't go against what your gut is telling you. In the long run it wouldn't be a good move for you or the kids you would be teaching.

You don't have to be a martyr because you are a first year teacher. She probably didn't ask more experienced teachers because she knows what their response would be (NO!!!) She may need to post the position. If she does, don't feel bad when you see it. It is an opportunity for someone who has the SpEd experience and who truly wants to be there.

Enjoy science in the regular classroom and feel good about asserting yourself! Get some experience under your belt. You already have enough to do being new to the profession as it is.


Senior Member
Just a thought....

You say you love teaching Science, and I bet that enthusiasm rubs off on your students! As a sped teacher, I'm always looking for something that might spark a little life into my students. That said, we don't have any self-contained kids- everyone takes regular science.

Use the excuse that you're a new teacher and are still getting your feet wet. What "kind" of sped kids? Behavioral? Cognitively low? I think that would make a HUGE difference rather than blanketly stating "no sped, thank you."

Is it all or nothing? Depending on the kids, perhaps once per week with a totally hands-on approach? Are the kids grade level or not? I can definately see not doing it if this means your entire teaching day is 6 periods of sped kids if you are not trained for it and don't have the desire.

You never know. I am impressed that you asked for a couple of months to think about it! I usually think people need an answer right then, and I've been trying to do what you do!


Full Member
Don't Give In To Pressure

Whatever You Do Please Do Not Give In To The Pressure To Do Something That You Really Do Not Want To Do. You Are The One Who Will Be Teaching The Class And You Have To Think About What Will Make You Happy.

I Agree That You Should Just Tell Her You Do Not Want To Do This. Is It Normal For A Lead Teacher To Be Able To Offer Positions? The Principal At My School Is The Only One Who Can Assign Positions; Not Other Teachers.

I Too Am An Older Teacher In My First Year. I Know What I Want To Do. I Have Had A Chance In Life To Explore Other Avenues And Know That I Want To Work With Younger Students. I Tutored Last Year From January Through May After Graduating In DECEMBER. I Worked With Older Students. I Felt Sure That I Wanted To Work With Younger Students, But After The Tutoring Job I Knew For Sure. I Was Offered A Job Working With Older Students, But I Knew What I Wanted To Do And Stuck It Out Until I Landed A Job Teaching First Grade.

Life Is Too Short To Be Doing Things That We Really Do Not Want To Do. If You Love Your Current Position, Tell This Teacher You Are Not Interested In Changing Positions.


Senior Member

I would tell them no too. I wouldn't think having all the students in Science with special needs would be a good idea. This type of grouping has been proven to be ineffective. The students most likely would benefit from being mainstreamed in the regular Science classroom. I hope they still have an opportunity to take your class. The hands-on materials are very motivating. She is probably trying to see how you would feel about a special class before bringing it up with the principal. He might not even know anything about it yet. She might be thinking about her scheduling for next year too. Don't worry about saying no. You know your skills and comfort level. Your decision should have no negative effect on your future at that school. Congrats on your new job.

Gina TX

Senior Member

Thanks to all of you. I am going to tell her I've thought about it and I just don't feel it's right for me. Right now all the kids that are possibly able are already mainstreamed. The ED kids are all mainstreamed so it's not emotional problems. Some of the learning disabled are mainstreamed depending on what they are able to do. They are in my last class right now and I have a para that comes in to help with them. The kids are great, don't get me wrong. But my para was out sick all of last week and some of this week and it was really hard. I had a really hard time doing my regular lessons for the regular kids (and this class has some of my highest kids in in too) and having to keep up with what the other three were able to do and not do. One of them can't read or write but when he listens he absorbs everything and can remember it. It's amazing. But having to stop and help them and then go back to the others put me in a bind. Either way someone was missing out. I honestly don't have any idea how I would manage a whole class like that. They each need the individual attention the para provides and she is great.

I'm just going to tell her next week that I've thought about it and decided it's not something I feel like I want to do. That's just the truth. I hope it doesn't cause any hard feelings because I really do like her and the school. Now that it was mentioned I bet my principal isn't even aware. It would not be like him at all to do something like that. He would have asked me himself I'm sure. Thanks again.


Senior Member
a "no" from here too

As a new teacher also (started in Jan.), I would say no. Period. If you love what you're doing, there is no need to compromise and give in to pressure or feelings that you *should* make the switch. If you happy where you are, stay!