SPED or general ed

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SPED or general ed

Postby Yaffasmom » Wed Sep 22, 2021 6:46 pm

Hi all! I am just starting this process of looking and learning. i have 2 questions....

1-I am certified in sped k-12, but have been teaching in a private school 1st and 2nd grade. I would love to continue to have my own class. Can I teach general ed in Alaska on my sped certification? Or should I work on praxis tests?

2-Once one has a list of things they would like to look for....I do not mind being in the bush, but would rather take a ferry than a plane (so near Juneau), I would like running water, and I would like a school with more than just a few teachers. I love what I am reading about Togiak, but not the plane ride...How does one find a checklist of what each school district has, or what you are looking for?

Thanks so much! Amy
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Re: SPED or general ed

Postby Johncn » Thu Sep 23, 2021 5:27 am

Hi Amy,

These are good questions. I assume you've checked the main ATP website to read about the different areas?


There is not a "checklist" per se because every candidate has his or her own criteria. I did my research, and made my own checklist every time my wife and I were looking for work, and recommend that others do the same thing. Our first ones were on paper...then Excel. We put the criteria that were important to us down the page - say, quality of housing, cost of utilities, salary, transportation options, etc. - and then the district name abbreviations across the top. Then we got busy doing our background on each district: website of the district, finding out about their schools, checking resources available on teacher union contracts, recreation and transportation options and so on. Initially, we used a rating schema of 1-5 for the intersecting cells. Another year I think we used a color coding process for the cells instead of checkmarks: Green = Good / Yellow = Fair / Red = Not Good. But, we also kept an open mind, and ended up accepting a couple of the best jobs we ever had in districts that were not top scorers...lol. Research is key to get a hit list of possible districts, but don't rule out the unexpected. Be ready to talk to districts that are interested in you, and accept that your perceptions from afar are likely not accurate to the degree you think, or may be out of date.

Ferry versus small or commuter sized airplane is not the only distinction to consider. You really DO get used to airplane travel. ;-) A regional carrier flight to a hub town may be much less stressful than a three-day trip by boat in some situations.

The Juneau area (Southeast Alsaka), for example, is not the only area served by the ferry system. There are several districts in that region. The ferry also goes to Southcentral Alaska, Kodiak, several towns on the Alaska Peninsula and on out to the Aleutian Islands. The ATP site has links to a master list of Alaska school districts, and the ATP Job Bank link allows you to search by region.

As far as being SpEd K-12 certified, and still wanting your own classroom....there is good news. It depends on what kind of preparation program you had pre-service (what your student teaching involved, etc.), but in general, Alaska leaves it up to rural districts to assign teachers to specific class levels / subjects. But, Special Ed teachers usually need to be able to do IEPs. Therefore, Special Ed teachers CAN teach Gen Ed if the district wants them to and handle their own IEPs with included classes, but Gen Ed teachers can't teach SpEd classes because they can't do the IEPs. Special Ed is a great preparation for multigrade teaching of all subjects. This is what my wife and I started out doing....multigrade "full inclusion" classes to use the terminology of the time period. This may vary, of course, district-to-district, and depends on current Teacher Certification office guidance to districts, of course.

Hope this helps, and welcome to the ATP Forum.

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Re: SPED or general ed

Postby Yaffasmom » Thu Sep 23, 2021 5:37 pm

It does help-especially now I do not have to worry about more praxis tests. I would do it, but don't want to. :)

I will start my own excel sheet. I have done a lot of reading already, but was hoping for research answers. Although I realize what is important to me is not to others. And NO I do not want to be on a boat for 3 days any more than I want to fly in and out of bush. I get motioin sickness, I am not afraid, just want to avoid it if possible.
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