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Career Story: Fifth Grade Special Education Teacher

Fifth Grade Special Education Teacher

Job Title: Special Education Teacher

Type of Company: I work for a school district in north central Massachusetts.

Education: AS, Human Services, Lasell College •• Bachelors, Sociology, Rivier College •• M.Ed., Plymouth State University

Previous Experience: I was an applied behavior analysis behavioral therapist for about three years and then participated in a classroom and loved it! I've been teaching in schools ever since.

Job Tasks: I work with special education fifth grade students to ensure that they have equal access to the curriculum. I carry out the details listed in the Individualized Educational Program (IEP) that shows what students should receive. I meet with teams of teachers to develop a plan for a student, if they qualify, and then we carry out that program. Sometimes this means that I teach the class as a whole. Special education teachers can be used in many ways in different schools.

I also adapt and modify curriculum if students need further access to it. I create accommodations for teachers to carry out in the classroom as well. For some students I just check in with them, for some students I create an entirely different assignment to work on and I pull them from the classroom. It is all tailored to the individual student and his needs.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is seeing disadvantaged students succeed and be happy! I love seeing students succeed when they think they can't.

The worst part of my job is dealing with all the politics that get in the way of teaching students. Lately the economy has been attacking our jobs. It is difficult to see the government taking money away from the people who will be running our country in the future.

Job Tips:
1. Get as many teaching experiences as possible before taking a teaching job.

2. Seek out a college that specializes in education.

3. Prepare a resource binder of legal information to refer to.

Additional Thoughts: Do what you love! Being a teacher is not just an afternoon job. You work at it morning, noon and night. Your job is never over. If you're a person who needs down time in the afternoon and do not want to work after work, teaching is not your field.

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