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Retaining Special Education Teachers

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Arizona State University professor Kathleen McCoy and Diane Bruening, the special education director of Chandler, Ariz. schools, teamed up for a presentation on ways to retain special education teachers.

They conducted a survey of teachers and administrators and no surprise, teachers do appreciate higher salaries and less paperwork. But a finding that was intriguing to both of them was how important “collegiality” was to teachers.

The presenters described principals who had no real idea of what their special education teachers do—to the point that principals were asking for central office staff to come in and do the evaluations of special educators because the principals felt ill-equipped to judge that they were seeing.

Their research led them to create a list of strategies that principals can use to improve relationships with their special education teachers. You can get this information from McCoy by e-mail at [email protected].

1 Comment

I have seen first hand many a special education teacher get burned out and leave the field (school psychologists too!) Often, it was because the principal didn't understand their students or their procedures. In once case, the principal would waltz in for the last 5 minutes of a 3 hour IEP and make a recommendation that was totally off-base, or make some hideous comment about the student and leave. Sometimes she even encouraged the parent to sue the district before she flitted off. Then we had to deal with the aftermath.

Doesn't make you want to stay a special education teacher at that school very long, does it?

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