Special education teachers are those who are required to work with students having a wide variety of learning, mental, emotional, as well as physical disabilities. They are well versed in adapting general education lessons and teaching a variety of subjects such as mathematics, reading, and writing to the students who have disabilities in the mild-to-moderate range. A special education teacher also knows how to teach basic skills such as communication and literacy techniques to address the special educational needs of those kids having severe disabilities.
What are you required to do after a special education teacher training?
After a SEN training, you will typically be required to take on the following responsibilities:
- Assess the skills of the students and determine what they need
- Adapt the general lessons to better meet the needs of the students
- Developing Individualized Education Programs for every student
- Planning, organizing, and assigning activities that are specific to the abilities of every student
- Teaching and mentoring students either as a whole class, divided into small groups, or as one-on-one trainees
- Implementing the IEPs, assessing the individual performance of the students, and keeping track of the kind of progress that each one is making
- Making updates to the IEPs over the length of the school year so as to reflect the progress and goals of the respective students
- Discussing student progress with their parents as well as with the other teachers, administrators, and counsellors
- Supervising and mentoring the teacher assistants who are tasked with working with students having special educational needs
- Preparing and helping the students make a smooth transition from one grade to another and preparing them for life following their graduation
A special education teacher typically works with general education teachers, administrators, counselors, and parents of the special needs child. Together, they work towards developing the individualized IEPs of each of the students tailored to their specific needs. These IEPs outline the various goals and services each student is required to follow such as their sessions with the special education teachers, counselors, and psychologists. You will also be required to meet the parents, counselors, and administrators for discussing the changes and updates being made to the IEPs.
The duties of special needs education teachers show a great deal of variation based on the kind of setting they are required to work in, the disabilities of the students, as well as the individual specialization of the teacher in question. Some of them are found working in classrooms or resource centers where you can only find students with disabilities. In such a setting, the teacher is required to plan, adapt, and present lessons that meet the needs of the individual students. Teaching usually takes place either one-on-one or as part of small groups.
With regards an inclusive classroom, the students with disabilities are taught just as they would be in a classroom meant for general education of the masses. The special needs learning teachers work with the general education teachers in presenting information in a manner that can be better understood by the students with disabilities. They also aid the general education teachers in adapting the lessons so they can be better understood by the students with disabilities who are present in the classroom.
As a special teacher, you will be required to collaborate with the psychologists, social workers, and teacher assistants for accommodating the various requirements of the students with disabilities. A possible case is of a teacher assistant working with them for providing support to the student who needs and extra amount of attention.
Those with special education teacher training work with students having a wide variety of emotional, physical, mental, as well as learning disabilities. Some may be required to work with students in need of assistance in specific subject areas such as math or reading. Others may be called upon to help the students develop their study skills such as using flashcards or highlighting text.
Some of the teachers work with students having physical disabilities such as a student bound to the wheelchair. Some others work with those having sensory disabilities such as deafness and blindness. Students with autism spectrum disorders and emotional disorders such as depression and anxiety also fall under this category.
A special education teacher needs to be comfortable with the learning and use of different modern technology. Computers are widely used for maintaining record of the IEPs and student performances. Assistive technology aids that improve communication with the students are also becoming increasingly popular among the professional teaching fraternity.