Career Story: Special Education Teacher In A Suburban Public School

Special Education Teacher In A Suburban Public School

Job Title: Teacher Of Children With Special Needs

Type of Company: I teach in an early childhood education center for a public school system in a suburb of Boston.

Education: BS, UMass-Amherst •• MS, Education, Lesley College (Cambridge, MA)

Previous Experience: I worked as a kindergarten teacher for ten years.

Job Tasks: My job responsibilities include teaching young children with special needs in inclusion classrooms (alongside other "normal" children). I design lessons according to a child's individual educational program to help them develop communication, social, small motor and reading and math readiness skills. I teach both in large and small groups, as well as, on occasion, one-to-one. To me teaching young children is the best part of my job and what I like to do. I read stories according to a theme and discuss ideas with children or ask them to draw a picture about their ideas. We play games to develop listening, rhyming, speaking and drawing and writing skills. Activities are sent home to their families in the hope of reinforcing what we do in school and to provide a positive home/school connection.

I also write educational plans and do all the paperwork that goes along with it, inviting families and teachers and specialists to consultations. I observe young children in their classrooms, evaluate them using informal and standardized testing and then meet with families and a team of teachers to discuss the best way to implement improvements to their curriculum. Along with other teachers, I plan activities and apply best teaching practices and accommodations to help children on Instructional Educational Plans develop their skills.

Part of my job is to also mentor new teachers, or those who are new, at least, to teaching children with special needs.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is working with children and watching them grow and develop. Seeing the difference that I am able to make in their lives is very rewarding. The inclusion model that we use helps children become a part of a classroom where people's differences are respected and tolerated.

The paperwork at times is overwhelming. A typical IEP is at least twenty pages long and needs to be written at the same time as the responsibilities of teaching are being met.

Job Tips:
1. Visit many schools and classrooms and volunteer your time to see if this field is one you are truly interested in. 2. Ask the principal of a school if you can shadow a special needs teacher for a few days during your vacation or semester break. 3. Learn to be an advocate for young children and speak up for what you know is best for all children.

Additional Thoughts: This profession is very rewarding. You make a difference daily in the lives of children and their families. People appreciate your efforts and thank you for the time you spend in making school a positive place to be. I taught "normal" children first and then had children of my own before I taught children with special needs. This gave me perspective and helped bring a lot of patience and understanding to the job, traits which are really indispensable. Apart from those, the most important qualities to develop are a love for children, empathy and an ability to listen and collaborate with others so you can do what is best for young children.

Popular Schools offering Special Education Teaching Programs

quickinfoThese schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles).

Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.

Matching School Ads

You've found Ashford University, where school comes to you. Earn your bachelor's or master's degree online.

  • Programs: MA/Education - Special Education (non-licensure), BA/Education Studies, MA/Education - No Specialization, more...
  • Degrees: Master, Bachelor

Purdue University offers a strong foundation of tradition and history.

  • Programs: Master of Science in Education in Special Education
  • Degrees: Master

Concordia University - Portland offers several fully online 14-month Master of Education (M.Ed.) programs and a fully online Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) program.

  • Programs: M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: The Inclusive Classroom (SPED), M.Ed. in Advanced Study in Special Education, M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: Social Studies, more...
  • Degrees: Master

Founded by the Society of Jesus in 1851, Saint Joseph's University (SJU) has been developing the minds and abilities of men and women in a challenging academic environment steeped in the enriching Jesuit tradition of cura personalis (care of the entire person).

  • Programs: Masters in Special Education , MS in Special Education with Wilson Reading Certification , Masters in Special Education - Autism , more...
  • Degrees: Master

Learning at Full Sail University has always centered around interaction and the exchange of ideas. Our online curriculum fully embraces this philosophy.

  • Programs: Instructional Design & Technology
  • Degrees: Master

Pursue your education at Pacific Oaks College.

  • Programs: M.A. Education with Preliminary Education Specialist Instruction Credential, Preliminary Education Specialist Credential, Multiple Subject English Learner Teaching Credential, more...
  • Degrees: Master, Bachelor

Study online with California University of Pennsylvania.

  • Programs: Technology Education (Master of Education) - Online, Early Childhood Education (Certificate Only) - Online, Early Childhood Education (MEd plus Certification) - Online, more...
  • Degrees: Master, Certificate

Colorado State University-Global Campus

Colorado State University-Global Campus (CSU-Global) recently received state approval to enroll students with little to no prior college experience. To help ensure student success, the university has created a program especially for these students who plan on starting their college experience for the first time with us.

  • Programs: MS - Teaching and Learning
  • Degrees: Master

You’re serious about success. With your busy schedule and the desire to move your career forward, you can earn an accredited associate, bachelors or master’s degree at a pace that works for you anywhere, anytime, 24/7.

At AIU, the Serious U, you can get started to get ahead.

  • Programs: Master's (M.Ed.) - Curriculum and Instruction for Educators, Master's (M.Ed.) - Instructional Design and Technology
  • Degrees: Master

Abilene Christian University (ACU), founded in 1906 and affiliated with the Church of Christ, has a long and proud heritage dedicated to educating students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world. Instructors teach students how to think critically and globally in each of their respective programs, while still maintaining a focus on their particular program of study. ACU is an academically notable institution top ranked by U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Colleges", as well as The Princeton Review and Forbes.

  • Programs: Master of Education in Higher Education
  • Degrees: Master
Matching School Ads
You are visiting:

Find a school near you

What are Career Stories?

Career Stories are concise, real-world career overviews written by people relating their personal career experiences and wisdom. They provide invaluable insights and mentoring advice to students and career changers.

Most stories include:

  • a typical day or project
  • tips and advice
  • best and worst parts
  • educational background
  • previous experience

Browse hundreds of Career Stories

Back to Top