Incorporating IEPs Into Everyday Classroom Management

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Written by topteachingjobs

Nearly every class across the country has them, but few teachers actually know how to incorporate them into classroom settings. IEPs, or individual learning plans, are federally mandated documents that protect students with learning disabilities from getting lost in the shuffle. However, many parents, and students as well, don’t know how to implement them to get the best results, and therefor get lost when it comes time to actually use them. Teachers, for their part, often allow these plans to slip away in the balance of maintaining an ordered classroom. The situations are unfortunate, but it does happen. This results in lower test scores, stress in the classroom, and students who are being left behind. In order to right the scales, it’s up to teachers to take the first step and work closely with students who present IEPs.
IEPs Aren’t Lesson Plans
An IEP for a student is not something that has to be enacted for every situation. Many students soon outgrow them, and to this extent, serve as a protective layer to assist in getting an education. Teachers should of course be aware of the details in a student’s IEP, but should not be making mandatory adjustments to lesson plans. Many IEPs have common additions, such as extensions on due dates, the ability to record a lecture, or take photographs of the chalk or white board after notes have gone up. Some are a bit more extreme, requiring daily tutoring sessions before or after class with the teacher or para-professional, but these are few and far between.
If a student is preforming up to speed in a classroom environment, then nothing needs to be done. Building confidence in a student’s abilities should be the number one focus of an educator, and utilizing the guidelines set forth in an IEP is a good place to start. Checking in with a student during lessons is a good way to assist, as is providing positive feedback when assignments are handed in on time, graded, and incorporated into a grade point average. When parents contact a teacher for updates, timely communication is essential. Working together, parents and teachers can comfortably oversee the progress a student is making, and can incorporate selectively the elements in an IEP if needed to help the student achieve more than they could without the extra assistance.
Of course classrooms are overcrowded, and time is at a premium within the classroom. But, with understanding and patience, every student has the tools and support required to succeed in life- and in doing so, can build the confidence needed to get more out of life.

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