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Career Story: Special Education Teacher At A Vocational School

Special Education Teacher At A Vocational School

Job Title: Special Education Teacher

Type of Company: I work for the state technical high school system.

Education: BS, Special Education, University of Connecticut

Previous Experience: I was a substitute teacher at an elementary school and a summer teacher at an institution for intellectually impaired adults.

Job Tasks: I divide my time between co-teaching in regular high school math classes, working with small groups of students to re-teach concepts or teach strategies to assist students in compensating for their disabilities, and performing administrative paperwork, chairing student planning meetings and attending curriculum planning meetings.

As case manager for a number of students with disabilities, I collaborate with their regular teachers to provide accommodations and develop teaching strategies to meet particular student needs. I monitor their progress and assist the regular teachers to modify the approach they take to teaching special students. I formally document progress three times each year. As part of the case management portion of the position, I must conduct individual achievement tests on a triennial basis, conduct formal observations and provide feedback to parents on a regular basis. A meeting is held every year to plan for individual goals and objectives for the student, transition plans for beyond high school, accommodations and special services to meet the individual student's needs.

When a student is referred for special education services, I chair a meeting to determine if testing is needed, and then conduct testing to determine if the student is eligible for special education services, and if so, chair another meeting to develop the student's individual education plan.

I also serve on and chair committees which enhance the day-to-day effectiveness of instruction and student learning.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is working with individual students and helping them succeed in school and in life. I also enjoy the creative aspect of developing plans which will work for individual students.

The worst part of the job is the enormous amount of paperwork I have to generate to document the work I do.

Job Tips:
1. Try the field out before you commit to course work or a job by substitute teaching in a variety of grade level settings.

2. Pursue this field only if you love children and love the work.

3. Always contemplate what is best for the child in the long run when making educational decisions.

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