If you already hold a professional teaching license but want to branch out into another area of education, there are a range of different paths you can take. Becoming a special education teacher is one direction you can choose that will be very rewarding. You will be working with children of a variety of ages and helping them to grow as a person. The conditions these children have will be emotional, physical or cognitive disabilities and you’ll need to modify the general curriculum to suit their individual needs. If you want to learn more about becoming a special education teacher, this article will answer some of your questions.
What Qualifications are Required?
To be a special education teacher, you need to be licensed if you want to teach at a public school. The qualification required will be either a master’s degree for special needs teachers or a bachelor’s degree. If you want to get a taste of the role before you commit yourself, consider studying for a curriculum and instruction masters online. This course is designed to cover a range of education-related topics; one of which is special education. If your goal is to teach in a private school, the usual requirement is a bachelor’s degree. However, certification is not always essential.
Generally, you’ll be required to plan lessons, instruct and assign activities for the children, grade any assignments and tests, track their progress and meet with parents. The age of the children you teach can be anything from elementary to high school level and could be at a private or public school. The learning or behavioral disabilities of the students could range from mild to severe. The children you’re teaching could be in a separate class of their own or mixed in with the general classroom. In which case you’d be required to work on an individual level or in small groups.
The role of a special education teacher is a very challenging one. However, it is also extremely satisfying. At the end of each day, you may find yourself both mentally and physically drained, but the rewards of this career can far outweigh your tiredness when you can see how much you have helped the students progress and succeed.
To be a successful special education needs teacher, you need to be patient, calm, understanding, organized and inspiring. You will be regularly interacting with children who are very different. They will also be from a range of backgrounds. Meeting the children’s individual needs will require special attention and acceptance of their conditions. The children you teach may also have communication difficulties, so you need to have exceptional skills in this area. As well as communicating with the children, you will also be required to speak with parents, other professionals, and counselors.
The most important skill for anyone wanting to teach children with disabilities is patience and kindness. Your passion will be to help the children in your care succeed as much as possible. Ask any special education teacher whether their job is a hard one and most will say yes. However, almost all will also say that it is extremely rewarding.