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Career Story: Special Education Teacher In An Elementary School

Special Education Teacher In An Elementary School

Job Title: Special Education Teacher

Type of Company: Public elementary school.

Education: MA, Special Education, University of North Carolina

Previous Experience: I have spent the past forty years teaching either special education or elementary education.

Job Tasks: I teach in a resource class-room with elementary school children who have been identified as needing remedial academics or behavioral help. My classes are small with no more than six in any one class. Individualized Education Programs have been written out for these students stating their strengths and what they need to improve. My classes this year are grouped according to grade level and academic area, but in the past this has not always been true.

Some days I go into the regular classroom and work with the students in their homerooms and other days they come to my classroom. Planning and discussion goes on weekly and sometimes daily between me and the classroom teacher.

My other roles include conferencing with parents, writing education programs and making suggestions to classroom teachers. Other teachers often think we have all the answers or see us as babysitters. In that same way, students in our small groups often don't like being singled out, but just as many students not in the small groups want to know why they can't get the extra help.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is interacting with the students and watching their growth over a school year. I enjoy seeing different children during the day as well as conferring with other faculty members. The worst part can be dealing with parents who are uncooperative or expecting the school to handle problems that should be dealt with at home. The paperwork can be very tedious also. Oftentimes, it seems that those who check the paperwork are more interested in seeing the "I"'s dotted than seeing if the children are learning anything. An enormous amount of time is taken up with filling out forms and with lengthy meetings.

Job Tips:
1.) You must be able to multi-task and be able to keep two or three things on the burner at once.

2.) You must be very organized but also patient and calm.

3.) You must love children but be consistent and fair.

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