Special Ed. vs Elementary?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by hzminda, Jan 19, 2011.

  1. hzminda

    hzminda Rookie

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    Jan 19, 2011

    So today in one of my courses we had a guest speaker come in and talk about "Inclusion." It was an hour long talk about the practices of inclusion and why we should have inclusion schools. I kept reflecting back on my days in school and how all of the schools I attended did not practice inclusion. I told the speaker how when I am around people with disabilities I feel "uncomfortable" and that I did not understand why; I know that they are people just like everyone else. He told me it was because I was not "exposed" to people with disabilities throughout my childhood and I probably did not know how to socialize or interact with them (since they were kept in a separate room).

    I realize that I want to start observing more classes with children with disabilities to see if I can overcome this awkwardness. I was even thinking about switching my major to Special Education; right now I am an Elementary Education Major.

    My question/statement is:

    1. Do you think that if I do decide to become a Special Education Major could I still be hired as an Elementary Teacher in the future? Or would I need to have an Elementary Degree and not a Special Education degree to be a General Education Teacher at the Elementary level?

    2. Does anyone else feel like me? Uncomfortable at times around people with disabilities? I hate to sound like an evil wench :(

    M.H.
     
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  3. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Jan 19, 2011

    Any training you get in special ed will make you a more marketable elementary teacher. But, I think elementary ed looks for liberal studies majors. In my district, you have to have subject matter expertise if you want to teach in a general ed setting. You may want to major in a traditional "elementary school" major and minor in special ed.

    The level of disabilities that onset that feeling of discomfort varies from person to person. It's completely individual. That's why some people are cut out for certain populations and others are not. I feel comfortable with kids up to a certain severity of disability, then beyond that, I'm not a good candidate. Don't feel like you have to force yourself to feel a certain way. Just get a feel for the kids you truly enjoy working with.

    Another factor is the type of teaching you enjoy. Some populations with more severe disabilities need a repetitive curriculum that moves along in tiny increments. That kind of work would drive me bonkers. Others find that kind work challenging and motivational.
     
  4. Rox

    Rox Cohort

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    Jan 20, 2011

    One thing to consider is that once you become an elementary teacher, you may have students with disabilities included in your classroom. A minor in special education would be especially helpful for this. If you can't decide on one or the other, you can try to be the kind of teacher that welcomes the special ed class to join your class for parties, winter performances, field trips, and the like. I know I appreciate the teachers at this school who make this effort to include my students with their activities.

    I know I was uncomfortable around children with disabilities when I was younger, and I teach them now!
     
  5. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jan 20, 2011

    Most schools look for teachers with a major in elementary education if you want to teach in a general education room and a special education major for a special education or resource room. I think that getting a special education minor or second major does make you more marketable and a better trained for the classroom these days.

    **With RtI, many students who were traditionally qualified for special services are not anymore.

    **With budget cuts, many students who attend a different school are in the regular education classroom or school setting...
     
  6. jsgirl

    jsgirl Rookie

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    Jan 23, 2011

    I have a degree in special education - taught it for 12 years before moving into the classsroom. Loved every minute of it but was ready for a change - now I really feel that my experience gave me the skills I need to be a successful elementary teacher.
     
  7. UVAgrl928

    UVAgrl928 Habitué

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    Jan 26, 2011

    I have my masters in early childhood and early childhood special ed. I teach a 2nd grade general education class... however, due to a grant I took, I have to have a child with a disability each year. This year I got loaded up. I have a child in a wheelchair, a child with ED, two that are LD, and another with just speech but could possibly be LD (this is out of just 15 students).

    My SPED experience helps me everyday, even with those kids that aren't special ed. It also makes me more aware of the fact that I need to try interventions before I bring a child to our child study team. I know some teachers that bring up numerous children every year for child study, because they just don't know what to do with them. I have a great bag of strategies and interventions that I am able to try before!
     
  8. nasirahc83

    nasirahc83 Companion

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    Jan 26, 2011

    I thinnk with the need for special ed teachers that even if you want to work in a self-contain elementary class that principal would put you in special ed. instead
     
  9. mdawson

    mdawson Rookie

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    Jan 26, 2011

    I have a Masters degree in Special Education and another Masters degree in Elementary Education. In the part of VA I live I would not be able to get a job as a general ed teacher, there just aren't any jobs. With that said I have only worked special ed. I worked for three years at a private day school for kids with emotional and behavioral disorders and this is my first year in a public school setting. My classroom supports our population of students with multiple disabilities, so I deal with wheelchairs, feeding tubes, that kind of stuff. I've enjoyed working with both populations of special ed and have learned a lot. I don't think I could work in a general education classroom now.
     
  10. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Jan 26, 2011

    I have 2 teaching credentials to teach both: Mild/moderate disabilities & multiple subjects. It shouldn't matter what your BA or BS is in, as long as you have the right credentials. (For ex., you need a single subject credential to teach a certain subject at the middle school or HS level). Someone can correct me if I'm wrong.
     
  11. DaveG

    DaveG Companion

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    Jan 26, 2011

    The requirements vary from state to state, so you should check your state board of education website for certification and endorsement requirements to teach certain subjects.

    Many states, due to a lack of special ed teachers, allow for a short 9 month special ed credential course to be endorsed in special ed on a regular teaching certificate. States have not yet particularly endorsed the opposite, however (that being a SPED teacher who takes a 9 month course to switch to elementary teaching). Middle/High School level is typically different as you usually need the equivalent of a minor in your taught subject.

    Again, it all depends on the state.
     
  12. cruiserteacher

    cruiserteacher Comrade

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    Jan 26, 2011

    Many of the teacher colleges here in Ohio encourage their students to get licensed in many fields. So, an elementary ed major may be licensed pk-3, 4-9 specialist, 4-9 generalist, and special ed. Maybe this is something you can look into.
     

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