Positives about being a special education teacher?

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by teacher girl, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. teacher girl

    teacher girl Comrade

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    Nov 14, 2011

    I absolutely love the fact that I am going to be a special education teacher! I have this inner glow because I'm near the end of my teacher prep. program and I can't wait to get in a classroom.

    Can anyone share any stories as to why they got into special education? Do you absolutely love your job? And why do you love your job? What are the pros/cons to being a special education teacher? And if you could do it all over, would you make the same choice to go into special education?
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Nov 14, 2011

    I loved special education because of the small moments that you got to experience and see. I miss many of these lightbulb moments with my kids now that there are so many.

    I wouldn't trade starting where I did for anything, but I also wouldn't go back into special education either. I left because we were moving to more of a pull out model (interventionist) and I wanted to work with students in the general education setting. As a gen ed teacher, I get to work with many special education students in the general education setting.
     
  4. MissAnt

    MissAnt Comrade

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    Nov 14, 2011

    mopar - I'm the opposite, I work in a pull out setting (with some push in) and couldn't imagine not having that pull out time.

    I'm a 2nd year teacher and I love my job. I love seeing the gains in my students, even the gains that seem small by general ed standards but are huge for my kids. I really love having the ability to create individual programs for my students, searching for different ways to teach them materials.

    I don't like the paperwork, being treated (at times) as less than a credentialed teacher, lack of motivation in some of my students, problem behaviors, etc.

    Overall, the positives most certainly outweigh the negatives. My students blow me away and make me cry (such a baby) on a weekly basis.
     
  5. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Nov 14, 2011

    I liked my situation. I was a Gen Ed teacher in a special needs school. This meant small classes, all students had IEPs, lots of differentiation (but not on the intense level as in the special education rooms), followed the regular curriculum (with some modifications and accommodations), self-contained/regular classroom, etc. I couldn't imagine handling a larger classroom because I worked a lot but at the same time I felt like in many ways I got the best of both worlds.

    (All of our certificates say Special Education but the model is more of a Gen Ed class).
     
  6. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Nov 14, 2011

    I would agree with the others that the biggest positive for me is seeing the individual growth in students. I see my students in small groups and this is the 2nd year I've had many of them. I'm extremely close to my students and I feel I couldn't develop that same close relationship I have with them if I were their gen ed teacher and saw them in a class of 20. I know my students so well- the "real" them and not some persona they put on for school. I think students are more comfortable in my room than they are in their regular classes. I thought having the same students a 2nd year in a row might cause some behavior problems, but it really hasn't. In fact, it's been really positive. I look at some of them and it is just unbelievable to think of where they started when I first got them at the beginning of last year vs. where they are now. One of my students just memorized all of her multiplication facts- this time last year we were working on a goal of getting 20 digits correct on a 2 minute addition test and it was a lot of work for her at the time. I can't believe how much they've grown! They also know my expectations so well- anyone that observes my room comments on how there isn't a second wasted because students always know what they're supposed to be doing.

    I would say the negatives are more things that are outside my classroom. If I could just shut my door and simply teach my students all day, I'd be so happy. It's a lot of little irritating things that add up that I really find stressful, and some of these things may be totally dependent on my building. Some things I really dislike are constantly having to attend PD/work sessions/data teams that are totally geared toward gen ed and being told to "make it relevant", lack of respect or as MissAnt alluded to being thought of as "not a real teacher", trying to collaborate with an entire building of teachers with so many different personalities, lack of knowledge about special ed in general, scripted programs used in special ed, and meetings, meetings, and more meetings along with mountains of paperwork. I sometimes feel I'm doing the job of at least two people. I'm really frustrated this year because for k-5 we have THREE title 1 teachers, yet I am the only special ed teacher. So there are three of them doing one subject (reading), while there is one of me doing three subjects (reading, writing, math) for the most intensive groups of kids, while also doing all the IEP stuff that the title teachers don't have to do. I'm obviously supposed to be the most intensive level of intervention, but the title teaches are having time to see their kids 50 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Their groups are also the same size or even smaller than mine. I don't have near that time to see any of my kids for just one subject- so the kids outside of speical ed are actually getting better services. Where is the logic in that?
     
  7. Leatherette

    Leatherette Comrade

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    Nov 20, 2011

    1. small moments
    2. relationships
    3. never a dull moment
    4. being a resource to the school and my colleagues
     
  8. Miss~Blue

    Miss~Blue Rookie

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    Nov 20, 2011

    I'm just a teaching assistant in a special education classroom hoping someday to be a special education teacher or a a teacher that works with english language learners down the road. I really love the smaller class sizes where I am. Before my experiences in this type of classroom I was in a class with 32 Kindergartners full-day and it was very difficult/a challenge.
     
  9. ciounoi

    ciounoi Cohort

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    Nov 21, 2011

    I love many things about special ed. I love making content accessible to students, I love watching them learn and grow, and I even love the paperwork (no really, I'm serious). Most of all, I love the students. They are the most human individuals I have ever met, and I love it. I can also empathize with them, being ridiculously ADD and having been very shy/lonely for most of my life.
     
  10. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    Nov 26, 2011

    I really like getting to know my students and their families...the good and the bad...a lot more than I would if I were teaching gen ed.
     
  11. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    Nov 28, 2011

    Toilet training a middle school student and seeing how happy the parents are that I've achieved this skill that they've been working on for years, as well as the pride that you can see in the kids' eyes:cool:

    Teaching a child to communicate, whether it be through spoken language, an augmentative device, or a PECS system - and seeing the frustrations decrease as the communication skills increase:D

    Giving a child independence by teaching a variety of skills - riding the regular school bus instead of the special education school bus (and plastering a big yellow smiley face in the windshield of said child's correct school bus, so he could find it on his own every afternoon:))

    Teaching a 13-yr old to ride a bike - which may very well be one of their primary modes of transportation for the rest of their lives... and seeing the excitement as they ride off on their own for the first time:woot:
     

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