Job Title: Special Education Teacher
Type of Company: I work for a public elementary school outside of Boston.
Education: BA, Elementary Education, Bridgewater State College BA, Psychology, Bridgewater State College M.Ed Special Education, Bridgewater State College
Previous Experience: I taught moderate special needs grade 9-12 and got student teaching experiences in both general education and special education settings.
Job Tasks: I teach students with moderate special needs in 3rd and 4th grade. I support these students throughout the school day both in their classroom and in small pull-out groups. I adapt and make modifications to their class work work, as I have to, in order to meet their individual requirements: I simplify worksheets and substitute shorter spelling words, for example. I also test students to see if they qualify for special education services. I attend meetings for each student to develop Individualized Education Programs in order to meet the individual needs of students who do qualify as having special needs.
My day varies depending on the students I am working with. Each day I work with a small reading group in both 3rd and 4th grade and then I see a small group for math as well. In both 3rd and 4th grade I provide support in writing within the regular classroom setting.
I am constantly in communication with the parents of my students in order to let them know how their children are doing in school and what they need to try to work on at home.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is being able to work with amazing children and watch them grow and learn. It is such a great feeling to watch them progress.
The worst part of my job is the endless amount of paperwork that comes with special education. It can be difficult to find the time to complete this paperwork. Another tough part of this job is working with difficult parents.
Job Tips: Always have a back-up plan. You may think that a lesson will take a whole class period, but if it ends early, you need to have something else ready.
Collaboration is very important. It is so nice to be able to communicate and talk with other educators and bounce ideas off them.
You have to have thick skin and have the ability to let things go because at times kids, parents and even teachers will say things that you won't like.
Additional Thoughts: It is so important to always have a positive attitude in teaching. As a teacher, you need to be able to find all of the good qualities in the children and be able to help them bring these out in themselves. If a child behaves badly, you need to be able to figure out why she's doing so and find ways to help her improve rather than giving up. You are a teacher to help them not only learn but prepare for life. It is amazing the influence that you can have on children and you need to make sure that you help them be the best they can be.
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