Becoming a Special Education Teacher
Becoming a special education teacher is not only one of the most rewarding career paths, but it fulfils a vital need. Guest blogger Hilary Smith tells us why.
What do you want to be when you grow up? This iconic question from our childhood can spark fond memories of a time when anything was possible. Cowgirl astronaut rock star who saves rescue dogs on the weekends – no problem!
As we grew into young adults and started looking at careers, the question suddenly took on a seriousness that our six-year-old selves never imagined. While it’s easy to dream of being a world famous opera singer, race car driver, prima ballerina or professional athlete, it’s not easy to decide on a practical occupation.
As we look to the future, it is important to consider areas that will need professionals if we decide being a future Blue Power Ranger or X-men is no longer a viable job option. If you want to make a direct impact on future generations, one area to consider is special education.
Current Needs In The Field Of Special Education: it is believed that over 600 million people around the world “experience disabilities of various types and degrees”. In the United States alone, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of special education is expected to see a fast 6% growth by the year 2024.
We need to also consider studies are showing the percentages of Europe’s “low-achieving” youths enrolled in school are comparable to the United States.
Even though each state or country has different employment opportunities based on school enrolments and budget plans, it is safe to say that the demand for special education services will continue to rise around the world.
Every child deserves a champion – an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be. – Rita Pierson
Due to many countries guaranteeing children the right to free schooling, even if they have disabilities, special education is a solid choice if you are considering the teaching profession.
Millions of children attend school everyday, and all these students possess strengths, weaknesses, special abilities, and disabilities. It is estimated that between 95 and 150 million of today’s global school population has a disability or behaviour that requires special accommodations and instruction.
This is where a special education teacher would step in and work daily with helping these children achieve educational and life goals.
What To Expect Pursuing A Career In Special Ed: teaching usually requires a degree from a college or university. Education majors are able to specify an area of study like elementary, secondary, or special education with subcategories of each division. Depending on the country, state, or college special education typically requires a three- or four-year degree with a semester of student teaching.
Special education educators can expect to encounter varying degrees of disabilities, behaviour issues and student home lives in their classrooms. No matter the child’s needs, you will be responsible for observing and implementing individualised education plans that are written with a team of teachers, administrators, specialists and parents. In addition, you will be overseeing a support staff team and paperwork that needs to meet specified standards.
Schools are encouraging more and more student inclusion in the regular classroom settings, but there will be a lot of work one-on-one with students to develop skills or understandings. A special educator will need to be able to adapt lessons, use assistive technologies, encourage children and multi-task efficiently to meet the needs of students.
The Importance Of Special Education Today: if you feel a need to help children or feel you have a mission to better the lives of children, special education might be the right career for you. One of the biggest draws to this career is the rewarding experiences that come with helping and empowering children.
There will be days filled with struggle and paperwork, but those times are rewarded with indescribable joy felt when a child can identify numbers, count coins or sign simple phrases.
Teachers who accept this path are able to see value in each student and accept the challenges to help kids rise above the adversity they face in life. Whether you have known you wanted to be a teacher early in life or decided later to switch careers, special education can be a rewarding occupation.
Article submitted by Hilary Smith, a freelance journalist born and raised in Austin, Texas. Hilary’s love of gadgets, technology and business has no bounds. After becoming a parent, she now enjoys writing about family and parenting-related topics.
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The views, opinions and positions expressed by the authors and those providing comments on these blogs are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of Peace Child International.