Good things about Special education?

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by teacher girl, Aug 22, 2011.

  1. teacher girl

    teacher girl Comrade

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    Aug 22, 2011

    I just passed my teacher's exams and am getting a masters degree in special education. and I am terrified...lol. Everytime I talk to a special education teacher they have horror stories about the profession-- Please anyone tell me are there any good things about teaching special education----

    Which grades were easiest to deal with? ( pre-k- 12)

    Which disabilities are most challenging? (LD,ED,MR,ID,SD)

    And are there any special education teachers who absolutely love what they do?
     
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  3. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Aug 22, 2011

    Haha, I remember thinking the same thing when I was in school. Yes, there are good things. My state is cross-categorical, so I can teach a student with any disability. However, we differentiate between severity. I teach "moderate needs" (typically referred to as mild-moderate in other states) which is mostly students with LD. I had one student with an emotional disability, but she was exited last year. I also have two students who are SLIC (MR or CD in other states), however, they are still in the "moderate" category, meaning that they are lower than my LD students but still able to learn pretty well in a regular school setting. The next step down would be cognitive needs, which would be a self-contained classroom, and then severe/profound needs. I did cognitive needs just for this summer and I didn't like it. I missed teaching my academic lessons and felt like I spent a lot of time just "managing" and not really teaching. I would have found it really boring, but for just the summer job I appreciated having so many other adults around to keep me company (I had 3 paras). However, I know there are people that love that population so it's totally up to your personality.

    I don't know that I'd go in with the attitude of "dealing with" certain grades. Again, this is up to your personality. Personally, I love my elementary kiddos and would never even consider middle school or high school, even in the tough job market where elmentary jobs are much more competitive- being in an elementary school with a mild/moderate population was non-negotiable to me. My kids are the biggest sweethearts- I was just talking about this in another post but I really have no behavior issues at all. They love the personal attention they get from 1:1 or small group with me, and they are really good about supporting each other and cheering each other on to pass goals. All of my kids made a ton of progress last year (many 2 years of growth or more in 1 year) and that is definitely a perk to the job. I love my kids and I enjoy the challenges of teaching the "low" groups and collaborating with other teachers. However, my biggest pet peeve with special ed is the scripted interventions. My school is only doing a few of these now- but I see that we are probably going to full scripted programs. It's like it's expected of us to do scripted because they're "research based", but that takes away all the "teaching" because you're simply following the program word for word. That's the only big negative I have- otherwise I really do enjoy working with my kids. I am actually really excited to start back- we start so late!
     
  4. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Aug 22, 2011

    Which grades were easiest to deal with? ( pre-k- 12)
    I find students from grades 5 to 8 easiest for me, but that's the age I do best with in general ed as well; I relate well to early adolescents.

    Which disabilities are most challenging? (LD,ED,MR,ID,SD)
    At my school, the students we have who are identified with special needs primarily have learning disabilities or mild intellectual disabilities; we also have a few students on the autism spectrum. All of our students work function at a level that allows them to be in a regular classroom with varying levels of support. This is the only population I've worked with.

    And are there any special education teachers who absolutely love what they do?
    I love what I do. I work closely with many of the teachers in the school, providing program accommodations and modifications in the regular classroom. I train students, their parents and teachers on the use of assistive technology. I perform academic testing and discuss with parents our recommendations regarding further testing. Best of all, I help the students to understand their learning strengths and needs, begin to teach self-advocacy skills, and get them ready to go to the "big bad world" of high school. Every day is different and I am continually learning and being challenged by my students.
     
  5. WaterfallLady

    WaterfallLady Enthusiast

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    Aug 22, 2011

    I love my job, and I can justify just about everything I do as educational. Honestly, I have a purpose for everything, but I do have instructional goals when we go on a walking field trip then play board games when we get back. My kids WANT to behave and they get excited when they learn things. They love listening to me read to them. They follow routine and thrive on it. They love helping.

    Students with behavior disorders, in my experience, are the hardest to deal with. IN my state, there is a distinction between behavior disorders and emotional disorders. The kids with emotional disorders can be hard to break through to, but they generally will do anything for you once you get that connection.

    This is just based on the kids I have, but I wake up every day happy to go to work.
     
  6. roll

    roll Rookie

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    Aug 23, 2011

    Can you tell me what the difference is? I've always heard both categories referred to as EBD but it makes sense that there would be a difference. Wouldn't an emotional disorder lead to unwanted behavior though?

    As for the question - I find that most people think of special ed as being for students with severe disabilities in special schools. Obviously it's a lot more than that! Really it comes down to personal preference - I'm certified to teach anyone but prefer younger students with more mild disabilities.
     
  7. WaterfallLady

    WaterfallLady Enthusiast

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    Aug 23, 2011

    In most states, it is EBD.

    There are plenty of kids with emotional disorders that effect their school work, but that doesn't necessarily mean the child has a behavior disorder. Examples include children with anxiety or PTSD, even depression. That doesn't make a child behave poorly, necessarily. However, a student with a behavior disorder would have something like ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder) or something along those lines.
     
  8. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Aug 23, 2011

    I find the same thing when I talk about my job with people outside of education. I think when they hear "special ed" they think of really severe needs and don't realize there is a continium. I usually kind of have a hard time explaing it to people- that my kids are totally normal socially, look and act just like any kid, and are learning the same things- they just need to learn at a slower pace or in a different way, or need lots of repitition.
     
  9. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    Aug 23, 2011

    See, it's all what you like as an individual. :) I teach K-2 ED and I love it. I would find teaching MD to be very difficult.

    My students are a mixed bag. I have kids who are acting-out behavior kiddos, anxiety kiddos, and kids with absolutely no impulse control. My days are exciting, my students are in out classes a lot of the day (we've been working on this), and I get to know my students and their families really well. :)

    I never, never, ever, thought I'd want to teach ED. :lol: Boy was I wrong!
     
  10. Mellz Bellz

    Mellz Bellz Comrade

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    Aug 23, 2011

    I usually prefer the younger children, elementary age, but I just got transferred to the middle school this year so we'll see how I like that. This year I have 6th graders which isn't too far out of my comfort level, so I think it's a good bridge.

    For me I personally find EBD students the most difficult to work with. Specifically the more ODD type of behavior issues. I consider myself a VERY patient person and I can deal with little frustration meltdowns, but in my eyes as long as you try your very best you will succeed. I just do NOT have patience for the kids who flat out refuse to try and don't seem to have any motivation. Some teachers are awesome in dealing with those kind of kids, but personally speaking I just can't deal with lack of respect. I find myself sometimes making the situation worse. I'll admit EBD kids are the one population that I really wish I had more training on.

    I do love my job. It has it's pros and cons. I'd be lying if I said that there aren't times where I think to myself that I'd much rather be teaching Gen ed. I think working in inclusion this year will be a good compromise though.Even though in Special Ed we have a lot of additional paperwork, sometimes I'd rather take that than having to worry so much about state testing and things like that.
     

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