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Anybody have troubel with special teachers? I have ten students, very well behaved for me. I know they can be tough, some of them have issues, however, the class really functions well together when they are with me. Now, when they are with the art teacher, music teacher, and gym teacher - they are INSAANNNNEEEE!!!!!!!! I hear about what a horrible class I have, how I am not able to discipline them, and how I need to do something about it. My director suggested that I sit with them in all these specials and just give up all planning time.

IICCANN"TTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT stand this anymore. I don't care that they can't listen to these other teachers. It's their problem, not mine. They listen to me great! They are really neat kids. I want to strangle my coworkers at time. Everywhere I go I hear about the trouble with Mrs. "_______" crew, how bad they are, how disrespectful. (YOu know I don't hear how imcompetent these special teachers are though, Two don't even have teaching degrees!!!!!!!!)
phew - just had to vent.



Simple! Invite them to sit in on your class tomorrow, instead of sending your kid to the special ...just this one time...., model how well they work together for you, and show them your class management strategies. It can only help, and at least they can stop blaming you, and start toward a solution. Over the next few weeks you can do that for each of the specials teachers and hopefully stop the name calling. Good luck!


I agree...

If you are confident enough to have them come in during your class time, then do so. This would *bug* me if a specials teacher would comment in such a way. I personally would be commenting about all the great things your class does, how well they interact and get along during this or that activity, and so on. Talk about how you and the class just seem to "click" this year.

If the specials teachers are having such an issue with your class, I don't understand how they can blame you. It's their class during that time. They implement their own management, and they are responsibile. Why are they conspiring with each other about your class? They need to buck up and take care of their issues at specials time.


The fact is...

some special teachers do not feel that they should be in charge of discipline. This has always bothered me. I do not care to help out my co-workers, but I feel that "what happens in special classes should stay in special classes." I should not have to carry out a punishment that was for a crime that was committed when I was not even present. The cafeteria is a different story. Those cafeteria workers have no real way to discipline the children. I am more than happy to: take recess, take golden tickets, etc. if my children chose not to behave. Special classes, however, are a different story. Those teachers are getting paid just as much as I am. Why should I have to be the bad guy all of the time? They should have a set discipline system for their classrooms. Reward system, notes to parents (if needed), etc. could work. I may sound harsh, but I understand your frustration. They are, in fact, teachers too. Our P.E. teacher tells me which students that I should reward because they were good in her class. Why should I buy all of the rewards? Do your job special teachers. I do not get paid enough to put up with the problems in my room AND yours.


Junior Member

Okay, I'm one of those horrible "specials" so let's get that out in front. I agree that's it's "my" responsibility to maintain order in my own classroom, however, there are some variables here that I think you may be overlooking. Here are just a couple:

1) I see each class every other day for 30 or 40 minutes. Many specials are lucky to see them once a week for 30 minutes! These students come from a couple dozen (or more) different "behaviour plans," and some of you really have doozies!!!! Excuse me....stickers, paper clips, rewards for raising their hands, parties for so many "good days," etc., etc...... (This is NOT my situation, but it is for many specials.)

2) Classroom teachers usually have the ultimate carrot to dangle in front of "their" class - recess! Even I, with all my student contact time, do not have that alternative. My classroom is far removed from the elementary rooms, and I'm teaching other grades when they are at recess. I can send a student to "time-out" a dozen times without any great behaviour change, but it usually takes only a time or two with the classroom teacher taking away recess minutes or center time for the behavior problem(s) to greatly diminish when the student is with me.

I do not routinely "reward" students for doing what civilized children are supposed to do. I expect decent behaviour, and I usually get it. When I send a "Great job!" report to classroom teachers for a specific purpose, it's nice to go in the classroom and see it posted. This shows me that that the value of my subject is supported by the classroom teacher. The attitude that "This is my prep time - they're YOURS!" doesn't send a very positive message to your students. Teachers who demonstrate to their classrooms that their behaviour at ALL TIMES reflects on their class reputation usually have children who live up to the expected standards.

Perhaps a little more support from the classroom teachers is what your specials need, rather than your criticism? I know that one of our 3rd gr. teachers has a paper-clip system, and I know the students report compliments from specials to her. The end result is a reward of some kind after so many paper clips. I don't "expect" her to reward the students for their behavior with me, but it's certainly a positive show of support for my class.

So......that's another point of view. It's been a long day, full of well-behaved classes, thank you, so please ignore typos and other mistakes.


special teacher

The special teachers at my school have two classes worth of students. They have 10 in mine and 18 in another. that's the only children they deal with. They have known these children for 7 years. As far as support - I've sat in classes with them, I've modeled appropriate behaviors, I've offered strategies, I gave an in-service to them on behavior,

I don't use recess as a punishment unless they misbehave at recess (I also have recess duty.) So, I don't use that 'carrot.' I don't have a behavior management plan - personally I think they are not effective at best, and at worst they can be counterproductive. I think you treat children with dignity and respect and you expect that in return. These children are wonderful with me.

Just out of curiosity - have you ever told children to go to hell during one of your classes? do you cancel every other week? do you give a list of the children that misbehaved to the main teacher and explain to their head teacher that they will be missing recess for three days? Do you use 15 minutes of your instruction time to show the head teacher pictures of your grandchildren? Do you disappear into the bathroom for 15 minutes at the beginning of class? Do you meet with the parents of these children and tell them that their children need anger management counseling? When the head teacher picks up children from your class, is one of them missing? Do you send behavior problems back to the classroom with their head teacher?

You know - I have a life other than school. I have two kids that I would like to spend time with in the evening. However, I have to plan than because these people can't do their job. I have no lunch break and I cannot count of any of these teachers to handle these kids. Therefore - I am lucky to get 1/2 hour worth of prep a week. I was caring for a sick grandmother for a while too - that recently passed away. I was taking stuff to plan for school to the hospital with me. All I'm asking is for some respect and for people to do their own damn job so I can have a life with my family after school.

Do you get planning time?


Junior Member
to "frustrated"

I don't know if you were the original poster on this thread, but I can certainly see why YOU would be frustrated!!!!

To answer some of your questions:
>>have you ever told children to go to hell during one of your classes? <<
Not on your life!! This would NOT be acceptable. Where is your administrator in all of this?
>>do you cancel every other week?<<
Our specials are never canceled unless it comes from the classroom end, such as classes gone on field trips, etc. If specials are gone, certified subs must be hired. (Iowa)
>>do you give a list of the children that misbehaved to the main teacher and explain to their head teacher that they will be missing recess for three days?<<
Unless the "recess punishment" comes from the classroom teacher to back up a problem reported from my room, I am responsible for supervising during recess punishments.
>>Do you use 15 minutes of your instruction time to show the head teacher pictures of your grandchildren?<<
No, not even 15 seconds, but I've seen classroom teachers gather in their doorways for 5+ minutes discussing daughter's wedding, baby's toilet training, etc. while their class is raising *%@# ten feet away in the room. Then they were the ones who complained about their rotten class behavior.
>>Do you disappear into the bathroom for 15 minutes at the beginning of class? <<
Children are NOT to be unattended in our classrooms. Period. Restroom breaks are our own problem.
>>Do you meet with the parents of these children and tell them that their children need anger management counseling?<<
Don't even know what this means. Is is a "good thing" or a "bad thing?"
>>When the head teacher picks up children from your class, is one of them missing? <<
Never! But I've had classes show up at my room missing a student or two. Really throws the classroom teacher or associate who brought them throught the halls for a loop!
>>Do you send behavior problems back to the classroom with their head teacher?<<
No, and I don't want them holding them out either! It is MY time, and I want ALL the students, except in special circumstances that sometimes arise.

And finally, do I get planning time? You bet! I also have regular duties just like the classroom teachers. They have MANY responsibilities I don't have, but I have some big ones they don't have. I taught for years with NO planning time, two classrooms in two towns to maintain, and barely enough time to commute between the two in the middle of the day, let along eat lunch.

Would I want the classroom teacher's job? No way! Could they maintain order and actually teach 60-75 little ones for 40 minutes at a time with no help. Most wouldn't even try.

I can see we're coming from very different places, but I took the time to respond to each question mainly because I want classroom teachers to see that, just as there are good and bad classroom teachers, there are good and bad special teachers....and from what you wrote, I think you drew yours from the really-bad teacher pool!! Are they really certified teachers, or are they just warm bodies with some special abilities (obviously not classroom management) brought in to provide a token education in their area and/or planning time for the classroom teachers?

teach 1st

Full Member

Our school just went through this at the beginning of the year. Our special teachers said the same thing about each teacher having a different behavior plan. The school decision was that the special teachers would create a disipline letter. They write what happened in their class and what consequence should follow. Each grade level told them at the beginning what consequence to use for the entire grade level. If a student gets a letter, they take it home and have it signed. This has cut down on the complaints I get when I pick up my students. The other thing our school started was to have a die cut of the school mascot. Anytime my children are caught walking in the hallway correctly, have a good special class etc. They recieve a cut out. When they have twenty they trade them in for a poster telling how many they have. I give them a marble in their marble jar everytime they get the cut out. Usually the marble jar and the twenty cut outs are about the same time. So I give them a class treat. Popcicles, extra recess, popcorn,etc. they vote for what they want.


Senior Member
Something to consider:

If the children are only well behaved in specific situations, then they are context dependent. They have not internalized behavior norms and learned to generalize them to all situations. Therefore, their behavior does need to be addressed. It's not anyone's "problem", but it is an educational issue. Kids need to be able to behave appropriately even when conditions are not ideal - for example during crisis situations and when their peers are goading them into misbehaving. If they can't, then they could fall prey to much more serious misbehavior as teenagers and young adults.

I would consider a system in which the children stay in your classroom and the specialist comes to you. That way you are in the room, but you can sit at your desk or wander in and out while you're prepping. The kids would be in their most successful environment with the added context of their teacher wandering in and out to observe them. Perhaps your class would be motivated to earn the right to have art in the art room, or gym in the gym.


Once again...

I am not trying to be disagreeable, but I stand by what I said earlier. The special teacher above posted that she/he had duties just like regular teachers...big deal! You also get paid the same amount. You forget how much work a regular education teacher has to do. We usually do not get to use our planning period to plan. It is always: meeting with parents, I.E.P. meetings, etc. I am sorry...but if one of my children misbehaves in your class, I am not in the mood to come back to my classroom and be the bad guy. I do not go to the special teachers and ask them to punish or reward students for something that they did in MY room. I do not care to have a student sit out at recess or at the quiet table at lunch because they misbehaved in special classes. My point is...that the special class teachers need to have a system of their own that the children know the consequences. If I have to plan out a detailed system...why shouldn't you? It amazes me how some special teachers want "all of the benefits" that regular education teachers have, but are not willing to do the same amount of work. I am not saying that ALL special class teachers are like this, but some are. It kills me how most of you do not have to come to meetings, conference with parents, teach them to read (and a million other things), and still expect US to do your discipline for you. Not acceptable. Every teacher should be responsible for his/her own discipline system, whether you teach math or the hokey pokey.


our specials

I can't stand our PE teacher. At the beginning of the year EVERYONE was required to come up with a discipline plan for their classroom. Her's is the gym. We had to come up with five rules, rewards, and consequences. And then post it. Well, she did, but she doesn't follow it. Her idea of disciplining is screaming at the kids. She doesn't take the time to show them how to put equipment away and then when they screw it up she screams. And I get a report about how awful they are. With her, I have to say, I don't back her up. I'm tired of how disrespectful she is to the kids and the other teachers. I do talk to the kids about behaviors elsewhere, but I am not going to do her dirty work. That said, our Music teacher is great! She follows through. And at my old school that PE teacher was great! She also taught expectations and followed through.


Middle School Teachers

Also, the excuse of having so many students all day long in special classes will not work either. Some people teach middle and high school students. They may have HUNDREDS of students throughout the day, and they still manage to discipline each class. I am not trying to be mean or harsh...I just do not understand where some special class teachers are coming from. Teaching is a hard job...PERIOD. You just do what you have to do. No one else should be in charge of your requirements or responsibilities. We all have to work together...but that doesn't mean that one person is going to do all of the discipline for you.

As mentioned, I do not care to carry out a punishment that was given by a special area teacher. However, that punishment should be based on a consequence from THEIR discipline system. Don't wait until I pick my class up and tell me that "so and so did such and such" and that they need to be punished. Big deal. Tell me what consequence that you gave them and I will see that it is carried out. As for rewards, I have mine and special teachers should have their own. It is amazing what most children will do for a sticker. No, you shouldn't have to reward children for doing what they should do anyway, but sometimes it is good for them to be rewarded. It can cut down on A LOT of behavior problems in special classes if they know that they have something (small and inexpensive) to look forward to at the end of class. Just some thoughts...



I don't get planning time if these special teachers don't show up. and quite frankly, I've gotten through the month of december with 3 planning periods (for the entire month). Many of them called off because they were busy with Christmas errands.

These teachers see a total of 30 children. 10 middle school, 20 lower school (1 - 3) THAT"S IT!!!!

I actually had one of the special teachers meet with one of their parents and tell them that their child was terribly out of control. They don't know what to do. The kid needs to see a psychologist for anger management. I don't have a problem with this kid at all, however, I can see that he could be a handful. I've given a million techniques, etc. for helping this teacher. But after she met with the parent, the parent was furious with me for not telling her how bad her kid was at school. arrgghh!

These teachers want me to discipline them and MAKE them listen to them.

I see a comment that these children should be transferring their skills and that is my job. Come on, you mean you don't have kids that act completely different for their parents, etc than for you? Kids react to the situation they are in.

I never said all special teachers were bad! just that mine were and this is a vent board - and I needed to vent. good news is, I just got one of them fired, two more to go!


Senior Member

hi, i have read all of your posts and I just have some questions for you. Do your schools not have clear guidelines for these sort of situations. Surely there are job descriptions for everyone involved, and these should dictate whose responsibility these issues are. If they don't have policies or guidelines, then why not? And why do the people in senior management in your schools not seem to be doing anything to resolve these issues?


New Member
my plan for specials

My 3rd graders love their music, foreign language and P.E. specials, and tend to get excited before each. I am not allowed to take away these special times as punishment per admin.
The three specials teachers know that I have a marble jar for whole class behavior. WHen it is filled, they get a whole class treat. The specials teachers tell me how many, if any, marbles the class earned during that period (between 0 and three). The last thing I say to the teacher as I drop my kiddos off is "Remember to let me know how many marbles to give them at the end of the period". Serves to remind the kids that their behavior as a whole will be accounted for.
I also have my music and F.L. teacher write names on the board for individuals who may call out too much or who just aren't behaving. THey lose recess time for this, and I send a note home at the end of the week on their behavior form stating that they did not behave for a specials teacher.
Just started these this year, and they are working great! It is hard for a special teacher to come in for such a short period and try to maintain order when their system might be completely different from the classroom teacher. I for one value my specials time, and my specials teachers and want to make their time with them productive, too!
WOrk with your specials teachers, for everyone's benefit!!!


Special Teachers

Why can't the special teachers have a marble jar and have a party for the class when it is filled? I understand what you are saying, and it is a very nice system. I think that some classroom teachers do not feel that they should have to spend their money for something that happens in specials. I can see both sides of it. Above, someone posted that middle school teachers are expected to have a discipline system for all of their classes, how are special classes teachers any different? I just think that special area teachers get off the hook too much. They get paid the same and should have more responsibilities than just planning for the next day.