It's not easy being a special ed teacher. All teachers face their own set of challenges, but for special ed teachers, those challenges can be even more advanced. The challenges, however, are also backed by their own unique set of rewards. If you're a special ed teacher, many of these scenarios will seem all too familiar.
Heaps of Paperwork
Every child in the classroom comes with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). There are behaviors to document, medication changes, and often, a different lesson plan to keep up with every child. Teachers deal with a wide range of paperwork on a daily basis, but special education teachers need their own filing room! That paperwork, however, also comes with a blessing: it makes it easier to track students' progress over time and see just how far they've come.
Meetings on a Regular Basis
Meetings disrupt the school day and even make it necessary for teachers to come in early and stay late. Unfortunately, special ed teachers find their weeks filled with meetings on a regular basis. Those meetings, however, are a chance to check in and see what differences the parents and regular classroom teachers have noticed for students who are slowly making progress.
Under Constant Scrutiny
Someone is always watching to make sure the job is done right--and they're not happy with the way it's been done, even if it's showing results. Special education teachers must be accountable for everything they do: for the good days, the bad days, and the progress (or lack thereof) of every child in the room. Knowing that they're being watched, however, helps keep that drive burning even when they're having a rough day or struggling to keep on task.
Special education teachers have it rough--but they also have the opportunity to impact young minds in an incredible way. They help shape their students in ways that other teachers might not be able to imagine, developing deep relationships with them that often stand the test of time.
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