What Does a Special Education Teacher Do?
If you have a heart for helping and teaching children with disabilities, special education might just be the field for you. But it’s important to know exactly what the job entails so you can enter the field with confidence.
Special education teachers instruct, guide, and care for students with developmental, cognitive, or physical disabilities. They work with children who, on their own, would have difficulty learning in a traditional classroom environment. From writing individual educational plans to instructing students in practical life skills, special education teachers work to give students with disabilities the same educational opportunities as their peers.
So, what does a special education teacher do, exactly?
Teach in Various Settings
Like any other teacher, special education teachers instruct students. The way they do this varies as much as the students they educate. Special education teachers may teach several students in their own classroom, assist one student in a general classroom, or even work with remote or homeschooled students.
Teachers instruct students in academic subjects, like math, English and the sciences, adapting their lessons to fit the individual needs of their students. In many cases, they also teach life skills like communication and emotional regulation.
Create Individualized Education Plans
By law, all federal-funded education must provide students with disabilities an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). An IEP is a document that outlines everything about a student’s education, from current progress to the services, accommodations, and modifications the student must legally receive.
Special education teachers play an instrumental role in developing IEPs. In conjunction with other staff at the school and the child’s parents, they construct goals for the student and determine what accommodations the child requires to learn well. Teachers bring educational knowledge to the process, providing a unique insight into the student’s needs and what educational strategies would suit them best.
Adapt Learning Strategies
One of the requirements of special education is flexibility. Teachers must always be able to adapt their lessons and strategies according to the student’s needs and responses.
Because of this, special education teachers constantly assess students’ progress in order to make sure they’re on the path to growth. Teachers keep consistent records of their students, modifying their approach as needed.
Support Students Alongside a Team
Special education teachers don’t work alone. Teachers meet with a variety of other people in order to provide their students with the best education. Special education teachers frequently meet with parents, other school staff, and social workers in order to keep the students’ best interests at the forefront and to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Grace College’s Special Education Major
Does special education sound like a career you’re interested in? Then Grace College’s combined bachelor’s degree in special education and elementary education is for you. The dual licensure program provides you with an excellent education in teaching and real-world experience, preparing you to serve young students of all abilities.
What does a special education teacher do? Teach, adapt, and support.