Want to be a Special Education Teacher? Here’s what you should know.

Special Education Teacher
Cross Country Education
August 11, 2020 09:07 AM (GMT-04:00)

Special education teachers make learning accessible for all kids!

Are you interested in a career in education that offers you the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children with special needs? Then consider a career as a special education teacher! You'll be able to help students who have learning, emotional, mental and/or physical disabilities build their confidence and help them progress and grow. 
In your role as a special education teacher, you’ll create and implement whole group and small group lesson plans, monitor student progress, assess effectiveness of instruction, provide differentiated instruction to meet the needs of all learners and communicate progress with student caregivers. Moreover, you’ll be able to draw on your creativity and problem-solving skills to modify general education lessons to meet the needs of students with a range of disabilities. 
Does working as a special education teacher sound intriguing yet? Read on to learn more about this rewarding career and what it takes to improve the lives of countless students as a special education teacher.

8 Traits of Special Education Teachers

If you are considering the wonderful world of special education, here are 8 things you should know: 
  1. Special education teachers must be inclusive. Regardless of ability, each student is entitled to a fair and appropriate education by law. To be an effective special education teacher, you must have a firm belief that every student can succeed and should be included in the learning community. 
  2. Positivity is a requirement. As a special education teacher, you must be optimistic and convey confidence in your students’ abilities. All students, including those who receive special education services, are inherently capable. It is imperative that you build on their current knowledge, skill level, and competence while always offering positive supports. 
  3. The key to connecting with students is to build rapport. Your first step to success as a special education teacher is to build rapport with your students and the greater school community including parents, colleagues, administration, and support staff. Many students are more comfortable with your presence if they feel you are part of the larger learning environment and are not singling them out, which may draw unwanted attention. 
  4. Teaching requires patience. Working with students with special needs can be stressful because these students may need more attention and support. To be most effective, remain calm, avoid taking things personally, and seek new solutions when problems arise.  
  5. Special education teachers are in demand. Nationwide, there is a high demand within the field of special education. If you decide to become certified to teach special education, you can be confident that career opportunities abound. Not only is the role in demand, it is also highly rewarding, as it allows you to see in real time how you impact your students’ progress and learning. 
  6. Special education can be hard work. There is no "typical" student. Therefore, your job won’t always be “’cookie-cutter” easy. You may have students who are working as hard as they can, but who continue to encounter unforeseen barriers. To help them overcome these barriers, you must work just as hard as they do. Rely on your ingenuity, resourcefulness, and creativity to generate alternatives that support understanding and growth of each student.
  7. Special education teachers must meet students’ socio-emotional needs. Students learn better when they feel safe and comfortable and are having fun. As a special education teacher, you must be ready to support the emotional components of learning for your students with special needs. You can accomplish this by creating a learning environment that is safe enough for students to take risks. 
  8. Special education teachers must follow Individualized Educational Plans (IEP) according to the law. There are 13 different classifications of disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Each student may have different needs, accommodations and modifications per their IEP. As their teacher, you must see to it that the plan is being followed. You must also stay current in your knowledge of these laws as you will be responsible for writing IEPs.

Special Education Jobs

Already certified to teach special education?  Interested in discovering what we have to offer?
Find your ideal special education job with Cross Country Education today.

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