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Career Story: Special Ed Teacher At A Public Elementary School

Special Ed Teacher At A Public Elementary School

Job Title: Elementary Special Education Teacher

Type of Company: I work for a public elementary school.

Education: AA, General Education, Cape Cod Community College (West Barnstable, MA) •• BS, Therapeutic Recreation, Northeastern University •• M.Ed., Education, Eastern Nazarene College (Quincy, MA)

Previous Experience: I was a pre-school teacher in a private pre-school and later was a substitute teacher in public schools.

Job Tasks: I work Monday through Friday. The students arrive at 7:45am and leave at 2pm. My day begins before they arrive and ends well after they leave.

As a special education teacher, my program is both inclusionary and pull-out. For inclusion, I support a general education teacher in the classroom, working on grade curriculum math. This works best for inclusion as a lesson can be delivered for all, then we can break into groups for practice work. Students who need additional help can meet with me or the classroom teacher. Students who are able to work independently on the class assignment do so and those who need more challenge are able to work at their level with minimal teacher assistance. For reading and writing support, the students come to me for additional help at their current reading level. They receive extra help with a specialized curriculum targeted for struggling readers. The Wilson Reading Program is one and Orton-Gillingham is another. I am responsible for testing students for special education eligibility, writing IEP's and progress reports, meeting with parents, consulting with general education teachers and keeping up with my own professional development. Other non-teaching duties include bus duty and planning night events like Family Math Night or Family Literacy Night.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best parts of my job are the students and my colleagues. The worst parts are budget cuts, uncaring parents, uncertainty with job positions and the unnecessary paper work.

Job Tips: Visit schools and substitute teach and volunteer first, to make sure teaching is what you want. Take jobs in programs with children, like summer camps. Expect that some days will be better than others, but the bad days do end!

Additional Thoughts: You will love being a teacher especially if you have felt that draw for a long time. There are so many internal rewards. Making a difference in just one student's life is priceless and makes up for some of the bad days.

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