Being a Resource Room Teacher
Being a special education resource room teacher involves many things - from actually teaching students, to completing progress monitoring, to making parent phone calls. Teaching in this type of classroom involves way more than just teaching. There are some skills that one must possess in order to be a successful resource room teacher: organization, great communication, flexibility, patience, compassion, and a love of children, just to name a few. So, where do you begin? Let’s look at what needs to be done before students even step into the classroom.
In order to make sure you meet the needs of every student that comes into your classroom, you need to read their IEP’s. Of course you need to know their needs and strengths, but you really need to make sure that you know their goals. The goals of the students will be driving what you teach. If a student is placed into a resource room for whatever subject, they will have a goal in their IEP to support that. Knowing what the goals are will help to establish what you will be teaching.
What exactly will you be teaching? Well, there are four main subjects that students are placed into a resource room for: math, English, science, and social studies. If students are placed into a resource room for any of these subjects it means that their current level of functioning does not match their actual grade level. Some schools will have separate resource room teachers based on subject and some will not. Where I teach, it is not separated, I could be teaching any of these subjects in my resource room and I could even be teaching multiple subjects at once.
It can be very crazy at times trying to plan to teach many subjects at once, so make sure your organizational skills are at their best. Let me give you an example. My one period, I teach a math class, well I should say 4 math classes, and this is just one period. I have six students and four different levels of math. I teach consumer math, algebra, pre-algebra, and business math all in one period. The key to making this work, is evenly dividing up attention between all students, and planning ahead of time. There is a chance that you may only have one subject to teach, and that would be great.
Along with making sure that your students are receiving their education, you also need to keep up with progress monitoring. This means that you are monitoring the student’s progress toward the goals that have been set in their IEP. Usually, this means giving students assessments on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to ensure that they are on track to meeting their goals. If they aren’t, then the IEP team needs to reconvene in order to change the goals.
Making phone calls to parents is also part of the job. I am constantly calling parents to let them know of missing assignments, or just to let them know their child is doing a good job. It is important to have the communication lines between you and the parents open in order to establish a good relationship.
Now you know a little more about this rewarding career. It can be a very crazy job, but when the students make progress it makes all the hard work definitely worth it. If I can stress one thing, you need to be organized. There are many demands that are placed on resource room teachers and at times it can be stressful. However, educating students who have difficulties, to me, is the best job in the world.