If you have been looking for a lifelong and rewarding career, you should conduct as much research as possible in order to decide on the right career path. If your interest is teaching, consider a career in the field of special education. Anyone who has considered becoming a special education teacher should know what to expect and what they will be up against.When you are considering a career as a special educator, you might want to consider the disabilities of the children that you will be dealing with. There could be speech issues, emotional or behavioral problems, mental disabilities, autism, blindness, learning disabilities, mental retardation, and other mental or physical impairments. Some issues will require you to assist them physically, especially those with handicaps and limited mobility. They could have impairments that make them physically disruptive or you might need to help them with other physical restrictions, such as using a wheelchair. Some children might need more emotional assistance. Considering all of the above, being a special education teacher can be an exhausting job and demand a great deal of patience.Each student has their own issues and challenges to deal with. It takes time to gain their confidence and trust as well as understanding their needs. You may be able to teach them some of them quickly. Conversely, it could take more time for others just to learn one thing. As a special education teacher, you typically won’t be teaching traditional lessons and will not be teaching in a traditional class environment. You may be required to teach basic life skills, such as brushing teeth and combing hair. Again, hands-on lessons are usually more practical than theory and can be customized according to what the child needs. You will need to provide more one-on-one instruction with your students and there could be days when you feel like you can’t reach any of your goals, while other days go better than anticipated.Keep in mind that you might be dealing with the technological needs of the student. It could be devices that are designed to accommodate their special needs or items that the student needs in order to function including wheelchairs. The job is also considered stressful because of the heavy workload it carries and there are times that dealing with these students can be difficult and even upsetting. Many special education teachers feel overwhelmed yet they are extremely connected to their students.The basic qualification of the Special Education teacher is their teaching certification. A lot of this depends on your state of residence and where you will be teaching. The educational certification or licenses are required by state law and will typically vary from one location to the next. There will also be a lot of paperwork such as progress reports, community liaison forms, curricular modifications as well as more contact with parents, caregivers, and even the person’s physician.Additionally, though the work is rewarding, the job is oftentimes stressful. It involves handling students who require special skills and having administrative duties and responsibilities. Patience is extremely important as is understanding, being helpful, and having a positive outlook on life. The primary goal of a special education teacher or mentor is to make a positive difference in their life and you should never lose your focus on that goal. You need to be a team player with a strong outgoing personality to work well in different surroundings and have a good rapport with the child’s parents.
Parents sometimes approach the special education system with hesitation. This may be due to other person’s experiences which they heard about or they may have had to put up a good fight to get their child considered as meeting the requirements for special education. It is a scary thing to enter a situation of which you are unsure of especially when you know nothing of the teachers. Generally, there are a few things of which you should keep in mind when having to handle special education.The first thing to remember is that the people who work with special education children only want the best for them. It can be difficult to accept; however, even though these people may seem to have other things on their plates, the truth is that many times they have lots of paper work and politics to cope with. This does not mean that they do not care about their job or your child; it just means that they are human and they have many elements of their jobs to think about. This is an important thing to remember when you have a disagreement with a teacher or administrator as it may help make your negotiations a lot easier.Another important thing to remember is that while the school is required to give your child education, as long as it is adequate, they are doing their job. You may feel as if your child deserves one on one attention all the time but this may not be possible. When your child has the individualized attention of an aide, then this means this aide is unavailable for the use of another child. Remember that schools have limited resources which do include time and funding. As a result, you as the parent may have to devote your own time and money towards getting that extra assistance that may be needed. You may just have to accept what can be done such as having an aide available for part of the day or utilizing resource room help for challenging subjects.You will want to document everything that the school provides. The purpose of this is to assist with understanding what was agreed upon. As a result, the relevant persons will be held accountable for their work. So, if your child receives an evaluation or a note from the school or home work samples, save it. This will be proof of what happened. Documentation can serve another purpose as well. It acts as a collective record of your child’s schooling. This can be a big boost of encouragement to be able to review the skills that he or she has acquired.If you do find yourself in a situation where you have a disagreement with the school, you should know that as the parent, you probably have the legal advantage. The internet has sites where you can get free information about your rights as a parent of a special education student. Familiarizing yourself with these rights will assist you in knowing the grounds to pursue a disagreement in the legal context.
Planning and Placement Team Meeting continued…What are goals and objectives?Goals and objectives are the areas that your child will work on throughout the year in the classroom, with a special education teacher, a counselor or in some other way. Hey have to be monitored and measured. Monitoring can be through completion of tasks, teacher observation, etc. The measurement can be through grades, standardized tests or mastery of a task. Each goal and subsequent objectives has a page dedicated to it. Goals can be related to academics, self-help skills, behavior, counseling, etc.How are goals and objectives created?
The team including yourself (the parent) will talk about your child’s strengths and weaknesses. Goals/objectives will reflect areas that a child needs assistance in.
Any classes taken with a special education teacher will have their own set of goals/objectives.
Depending on the age of your child, he or she may need transition goals from one school to the next or post-graduation
Behavior goals are generally for mild behavior problems. Students with serious behavior issues generally have a behavior intervention plan made up separately from an Individualized Education Plan.
Other goals may be added as necessary in terms of community participation, general education participation, self-help skills, etc.
Children with Occupational, Speech or Physical Therapy needs will have goals related to these areas as well.
Who writes the goal page?The special education teacher generally writes the goals and objectives with input from the team. Certain goals related to counseling, speech therapy, etc. would be written by the individuals providing the service.Can a parent request certain goals/objectives?Certainly. Most teachers will work with the parent in creating goals and objectives that both feel are appropriate and in the best interests of the child. Also, if there are goals or objectives that you feel are not needed or are inappropriate talk to the individual about it and see why it was created and discuss whether or not it is relevant.