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Special Education Teacher

Marilyn Said:

How can I become a special education teacher in autism area?

We Answered:

Basically you two ways of earning an alternative license in special education. One is to enter a program a full-time program that has your license completely finished in 15-18 months. Or, you can take the necessary courses and take a test or two, then be hired as a teacher while completing your coursework at night.… (Since you have a BA or BS, look for alternative routes for teaching.

One thing to note is there is no specific license for students with least not in VA (each state is different). You need to decide on your type of student. Do you want to work with students who are dually diagnosed with mental retardation? If so, you want the Special Education License for mental retardation. These teachers often have their own classroom. If you want to work with students in the general education classroom, you want the Special Education license for the general curriculum. This would involve working with students with learning disabilities, etc.

Arlene Said:

How can I become a "special education" teacher?

We Answered:

You usually have to get your general teaching degree, and then you would have to specialize in the special education, which is approximately 2-3 more years on top of general education.

Connie Said:

What is the role of the special education teacher in the inclusion class?

We Answered:

Ideally, the special education teacher shares joint responsibility for all students. In record keeping, the special education teacher retains primary responsibility for the sp. ed. students- reporting their grades, and ensuring that all testing accommodations are provided, and making sure that IEP goals are met. However, during actual classroom instruction the sp.ed. and general ed. teacher share responsibility for all students. (in a perfect world- if one teacher is resistant to the arrangement, this can prove difficult). However, there are 6 basic models for inclusion: For one-teach-one-assist, one teacher is giving instruction while the other is drifting around to help (most common, but least helpful). Or, the 2 teachers can teach in stations, each one teaching a short lesson on a related topic before students switch locations. They can team teach, jumping in on each other to clarify a topic (only attempt when both teachers are comfortable). They can teach the same lesson in two small groups- good when using manipulatives. They can also have one teacher (NOT necessarily the sp. ed. teacher) pull a small group of students for alternate instruction - sometimes a lower group for reinforcement, sometimes a higher group for enrichment. Switching it up between all these strategies makes the instruction a thousand times better for the kids- but only if the teachers trust each other and work well together.

Bruce Said:

What is the lifestyle of a Special Education teacher?

We Answered:

Your lifestyle is the same as any other teacher. However, many special education teachers are left out of the clique that is dominated by regular ed teachers.

Special ed kids are not all kickers or biters. In fact most of them are just regular kids with learning disabilities. Here are the categories of disabilities.

Specific Learning Disabilities -Resource teachers handle mildly learning disabled kids in a small area away from the mainstream to give them extra help. There are special classes for students whose learning disabilities have caused them to be two years behind their grade level and need more intense intervention.

Mildly to Moderately Intellectually Disabled. These kids attend Life Skills classes in which they are taught skills to make them more independent and involved in their communities. They range from kids that can read to kids who need intense instruction in basic skills.

Profoundly Intellectually Disabled - These children need to be taught basic things like feeding, toileting, manipulating objects in their environments and ambulation. they are often medically fragile.

Autistic - Autistic children vary from high functioning children who attend regular classes and need help with socialization to children who cannot communicate and need to learn to express and request the needs that they have.

Emotionally Behaviorally Disordered. These children range in intelligence from mild MR to gifted. You have to have a strong personality to teach these children and have excellent intuition and behavior management skills.

Hearing Impaired - These children range from being mainstreamed to needing to spend most of their day in a special class.

Visually Impaired - Obvious I think. Many of these children are mainstreamed if they are normally intelligent.

Gifted - These children of course are very smart, but they also can be idiosyncratic. They have minds of their own, think tangentially and can be a handful at times because of their individuality, need for experiences and intense curiosity.

There are a few others, but these are the main ones.

You have to have a calling for teaching special education because it can be stressful. You have to understand disabled children and have a passion for helping them. I taught EBD, Resource and Life Skills and I was very close to my kids. Usually you will have smaller classes (though not always) so that you can really develop relationships with the kids.

With special ed, it isn't the numbers game like it is for regular ed. It is harder to relate to 25-35 kids that you have to push to pass statewide testing. That is why I went into it. I wanted to have a job where I could help kids with individual differences and do work on an in depth basis.

Allison Said:

what is the salary for a special education teacher?

We Answered:

Well, I don't know about the Dallas / Ft. Worth area, but I do know that a special education teacher receives the same salary schedule as every other teacher. There is no special additional money for being in special education.

Usually big city areas pay a little better, and little towns around the outskirts might not be as competitive.

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