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Career Story: Special Ed Teacher In A Public Elementary School

Special Ed Teacher In A Public Elementary School

Job Title: Special Education Teacher

Type of Company: I work for a school district in suburban Connecticut.

Education: BS, Special Education, Southern Connecticut State University •• MA, Special Education, Central Connecticut State University

Previous Experience: I worked as a special education teacher in a school for students with behavioral difficulties. Before that I worked as a teaching assistant in a public school for a couple years.

Job Tasks: My job is to create, plan and execute individual education plans of 10-15 students in an inclusive elementary school setting.

I assess students' level of academic performance and then come up with goals that represent the students' needs in different areas (including social, academic, language, fine motor, gross motor). Next I create individual plans to meet the students needs, which may include in-class instruction, resource room instruction and/or tutor support. Giving students instruction that will help them to meet their academic goals is the most important part of my job, but assessments of their progress help ensure that they work on their weaknesses.

Another important aspect of my job is consulting with general education tutors and other service providers. At least once a year I review the program with the educational team and the parents of the children involved to ensure the course of instruction we've selected is appropriate. Ongoing professional development helps keep me current on best educational practices and the latest special education legal issues.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is working directly with students to help them achieve their goals. I love to come up with original ways to help them compensate for their weaker skills. I love to watch students grow each year. I also have opportunities to help regular education students by creating small remedial studies group. The worst part of my job is the increasingly large amount of paperwork that is required for creating plans, keeping accurate data and reporting on student progress.

Job Tips:
1. Pursue a wide variety of internships or volunteer placements all through college to help narrow down what area or grade you are likely to feel most comfortable teaching.

2. "Be firm, fair and consistent" whenever you work with children. You will be rewarded with well-adjusted children.

3. Plan everything out, including transitions, at first. "A failure to plan is a plan to fail." Students thrive on routines. They will learn better when adults take time to teach them routines.

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