If you have been looking for a lifelong and rewarding career, you should conduct as much research as possible in order to decide on the right career path. If your interest is teaching, consider a career in the field of special education. Anyone who has considered becoming a special education teacher should know what to expect and what they will be up against.
When you are considering a career as a special educator, you might want to consider the disabilities of the children that you will be dealing with. There could be speech issues, emotional or behavioral problems, mental disabilities, autism, blindness, learning disabilities, mental retardation, and other mental or physical impairments. Some issues will require you to assist them physically, especially those with handicaps and limited mobility. They could have impairments that make them physically disruptive or you might need to help them with other physical restrictions, such as using a wheelchair. Some children might need more emotional assistance. Considering all of the above, being a special education teacher can be an exhausting job and demand a great deal of patience.
Each student has their own issues and challenges to deal with. It takes time to gain their confidence and trust as well as understanding their needs. You may be able to teach them some of them quickly. Conversely, it could take more time for others just to learn one thing. As a special education teacher, you typically won’t be teaching traditional lessons and will not be teaching in a traditional class environment. You may be required to teach basic life skills, such as brushing teeth and combing hair. Again, hands-on lessons are usually more practical than theory and can be customized according to what the child needs. You will need to provide more one-on-one instruction with your students and there could be days when you feel like you can’t reach any of your goals, while other days go better than anticipated.
Keep in mind that you might be dealing with the technological needs of the student. It could be devices that are designed to accommodate their special needs or items that the student needs in order to function including wheelchairs. The job is also considered stressful because of the heavy workload it carries and there are times that dealing with these students can be difficult and even upsetting. Many special education teachers feel overwhelmed yet they are extremely connected to their students.
The basic qualification of the Special Education teacher is their teaching certification. A lot of this depends on your state of residence and where you will be teaching. The educational certification or licenses are required by state law and will typically vary from one location to the next. There will also be a lot of paperwork such as progress reports, community liaison forms, curricular modifications as well as more contact with parents, caregivers, and even the person’s physician.
Additionally, though the work is rewarding, the job is oftentimes stressful. It involves handling students who require special skills and having administrative duties and responsibilities. Patience is extremely important as is understanding, being helpful, and having a positive outlook on life. The primary goal of a special education teacher or mentor is to make a positive difference in their life and you should never lose your focus on that goal. You need to be a team player with a strong outgoing personality to work well in different surroundings and have a good rapport with the child’s parents.
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