A Closer Look at a Career as a Special Education Teacher
There are numerous jobs that afford you the opportunity to pursue continuous professional development, substantial financial gain or fame, or a well-rounded sense of accomplishment. However, there are only a few that puts you directly on the path of making a great contribution to change the world. Such is the role of a special education teacher. As with all teachers, SPED teachers have the power to mold young students and prepare them for the future ahead.
SPED Teachers – What You Need to Know
SPED teachers primarily work with students with a variety of learning disabilities, developmental delays, or limited mental or physical capabilities and aiding them in learning the subjects in the curriculum and engaging them in activities focusing on building self-esteem and leadership skills. Because of the nature of their job, a big part of the SPED teachers’ tasks is to provide assistance to students not just in terms of their learning capacities, but also in terms of functionality and mobility.
In addition, since students in special education classes have varying capabilities, it is up to the SPED teachers to truly understand the students’ needs and ensure these needs are met so the students can transition into regular classes in the immediate future and eventually realize their full potential when they become adults.
According to PayScale.com, a SPED teacher can earn as much as $31,028 – $53,641 a year.
If you are contemplating a career as a SPED teacher, completing a bachelor’s degree in special education is the first step. In this coursework, you will gain valuable insight on child development, educational psychology, and special education policies. After completing this four-year degree, it is also an advantage to do another year to learning speech therapy or getting familiarized with nonverbal learning disabilities. Acquiring certification in Special Education can prove to be extremely fruitful as employers and hiring managers take this to mean commitment to the industry. A degree in Psychology or Sociology can also be fruitful endeavours when going into this field.
As being a SPED teacher requires having to deal with students from preschool to high school, they are expected to have the natural ability to work well with kids and have a nurturing and caring attitude to them. They should have a wealth of knowledge in behavior management strategies, as well as in childhood development and overall psychology of children and adolescents. Because of the challenges involved in the profession, special education teachers must have a lot of patience.
Pros and Cons
Being a SPED teacher means you have the benefit of making a difference in the world. You work with kids and help them achieve their full potential. It is a job that is satisfying and fulfilling emotionally and mentally especially for those with a passion for helping the youth.
A disadvantage is that it is a job that has its varying sets of difficulties tied to it as the kids they will work with on a daily basis are unpredictable. They must be prepared to deal with any type of challenge and persevere and must be excellent when it comes to problem-solving and conflict resolution.