If you possess a great heart, a lot of patience, and a natural interest in seeing that people have access to support for maximum personal growth, you might consider looking into the field of special education. As our understanding of differences in learning styles and learning challenges has expanded, more classifications of special ed workers have become necessary.Here are some of the many job titles to consider, along with an explanation of the work you might be expected to perform:
- Teacher's Aid. Working as an assistant to a licensed teacher is a great way to gain an understanding of the field before you have obtained a teacher certification. Also known as "support staff," or "T.A," this work is only in the classroom, and so you will not be involved in the after hours commitments of the field, such as the development of personalized student plans, and meetings with parents and other support staff (unless of course you arrange for this in wanting the extra experience).
- Therapeutic Support Staff. This position suits a worker who is especially interested in helping with the behavioral and physical challenges of individuals in need. These employees are generally assigned to one client, though you may sometimes float to various sites to help other individual clients throughout the week.
- Group Home Therapeutic Support. Individuals in this role typically assist individuals with life skills and needs around the house, as opposed to academics and challenges in the classroom. This position often involves working both on and offsite, such as helping with trips to the grocery store, taking clients to work, to the movies, etc.
- Special Education Teacher. This is a fully certified teaching position, requiring a college and/or professional background in this area. Most states offer alternative means to certification from a college degree. A teacher in this field may work with a wide spectrum of students, from mild learning delays, to autism, to extreme emotional and behavioral challenges. The climate of your classroom will depend on the type of facility in which you teach.
It may be appropriate to try different environments before setting one's professional goals in this specialized field. While teaching careers in public schools will always contain a broad range of student issues, there are special education institutions more specific in scope.
If you are considering long term or short term placement in this field but have questions, feel free to contact us for information about opportunities in your area.
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