Special education is the only field where you can be appreciated for what you are doing instead of being hated. This is the field where people understand your work and appreciate you for what you are doing.
There is another significant advantage of teaching students with special needs. You will have the opportunity to help them achieve their goals and dreams and make a difference in their lives. This is not only rewarding on an emotional level. It is also financially rewarding. Many teachers earn much more than they would have otherwise because of their challenges when teaching students with special needs.
Teaching students with special needs is hard work. It is physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. But if you do it with love, patience, and understanding, then you will be able to reap huge rewards both personally and financially. Here are some tips to make your life as a special education teacher easier:
Before you even think about approaching a student with special needs, you must prepare yourself. You must be ready to deal with all types of behavior issues. You must be prepared to deal with challenging students, challenging parents, and most importantly, you must be prepared for your emotional drain.
Find out what the school district has planned for your students
Most school districts have a program for students with special needs. This will help you a lot in planning your curriculum. It will tell you what types of assignments you will be given, what types of projects you will be provided, what kinds of tests you will be provided, what kinds of homework you will be given, and many other things.
Find out what the parents want for their children.
Parents of students with special needs are just like any other parents. Some of them are not ready to accept their child’s situation, and they try to find a solution by doing everything themselves. They want their child to be cured and return to “normal life” as soon as possible. Others accept their child’s situation, and they are ready to work with you to make their child’s life better. You must find out their expectations, and you must meet those expectations or at least very close to those expectations.
Get yourself organized
You must have an organized classroom. It would help if you had everything in its place, everything in alphabetical order, and everything easy to access. If a student is having a bad day, it will be hard to pay attention to what you are teaching him. So, you must do everything to remove all the obstacles that may keep him from paying attention. Get everything in place so you won’t have to move an inch to find what you need.
Learn to use visual aids
Students with special needs have the same learning problems as other students. The only difference is their learning style is different. Some learn better when you give them audio or a verbal cue, while others learn better when you give them a visual line. Learn to use all the lines that will help your special education students. Don’t forget to use visual cues like pictures, charts, graphs, etc.
I think these tips will help you to become a more effective teacher for students with special needs. Remember that the most important thing is to teach your students with love and understanding. This will go a long way in helping them achieve their goals, and in many cases, this may be the most important goal they have.