Becoming the full-time lead teacher is a big change from being a part-time co-teacher. I have to plan the daily schedule and activities, plan what the children need to be learning, plan how they should be learning it, plan team meetings, plan student meetings, plan for Individualized Education Plans (IEP), plan interventions to help children meet their IEP goals—oh, and plan a time to eat lunch… This is typically the one forgotten most often.
I think the planning that I am struggling with most is the IEP/data collection. Last year, the lead teacher that I was with was responsible for making data sheets, combining all the data from each week, and developing a progress report and/or evaluation of children’s strengths and needs. All I had to do was show up, know the kids well (which really just required playing with them), and make a tally mark every once and while.
Now, I have to think of the best way for all the adults in the classroom to understand IEP goals in order to be able to take data that is reliable, meaningful, and efficient. I have to figure out the math (never my strong suite) of the data when combining it so that I can turn in accurate percentages in progress; and I have to then develop progress reports that show the true areas where my kiddos are succeeding and where they are still in need of intervention.
Trial and error—that’s how things are looking now. I’m trying to keep mental and written notes of what works and what does not, and I look for feedback from my co-workers as well as the student teachers in my classroom to gain a better understanding of what works for them too.
Needless to say, progress reports and IEP updates are coming up quicker than I was prepared for, so now it’s a scramble to make sure home-school district teams receive an accurate picture of where the children in my class stand in their preschool career. If you could see my desk, well, you wouldn’t because it’s covered in IEPs, progress reports, and my stack of data sheets… highly organized chaos, right?
Trial and error, or better yet, trial and success, is how I will be looking at this first year as the responsible-for-everything, eating-lunch-at-my-desk, to-do-list-making, messy-desked lead teacher of FCLC’s second-year preschool classroom.
But alas, the joy of seeing the children grow, develop, and learn from all this planning is reward enough!