Where to Begin?
As a novice VI professional, you are often alone in the world with little access to colleagues who can lend support and offer ideas. You have so many things to manage from day one: meeting with teachers, parents and administrators, completing eligibility paperwork, doing assessments, developing IEPs, not to mention teaching! You have students that range in age from birth – 22. Some are only visually impaired and others have additional disabilities. You have to be familiar with a wide range of content as well as teaching strategies. You also have to learn consulting and collaboration skills and be able to advocate for your students. You work with everyone on the team as well as the student and parents. Then there is new technology to learn, acquiring and adapting instructional materials, and figuring out what road to take when you are running late getting to your next campus.
Ideally you have a mentor who is working with you. At times though, the mentor may be unavailable to you when you need support. Figuring out what to do first and what to let go of until later is often your biggest challenge. The resources in the LiveBinder (see link below) will help to organize you with tips, forms, strategies, laws, and other information gleaned over the years by many TVIs and COMS.
New VI Professional Year at a Glance LiveBinder
Visit LiveBinder (digital notebook) which is meant to supplement the support provided by your mentor. The binder is organized by months (tabs). Each month has a “to do” list, which notes documents the itinerant professional may use. These documents are then listed as sub-tabs that are labeled with the document title. Click on these sub-tabs to find your document. In some cases, there will be a link to a video or other document on the web.
Undoubtedly your professional life will not flow according to this proposed progression, but the structure may help you find your own approach to managing the job you have taken on as a VI professional. So feel free to “read ahead”, opening all the months to see what’s available.
For more information, contact:
Chrissy Cowan, Mentor Coordinator
TSBVI Outreach Programs