Becoming a Special Education Teacher was all I could think about when I first had to sub at the Elementary school that I am now currently employed at. When I was asked to sub for a teacher that works with all kinds of students who have special needs rather it is a learning disability, handicap or behavior. I was scared, I jumped at the chance to sub plus the extra pay but I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.
The first hour was shaky because the children knew I was scared and unsure of myself as their substitute teacher, but I would never forget one of the students came up and hugged me and said she was scared too; I asked her why; she said she didn’t know if I liked her. From that day I on I knew my heart and wanting to become a teacher was special education. These children who are lost in class because of their disability, they either gets picked on, singled out or the teacher just doesn’t call on them. I got hired on at the school as a special education aide, this was where I belonged.
I got to see firsthand on how these children were treated in the classroom and outside of the classroom. I felt like now is my chance to get these teachers to understand that these wonderful children are as normal as we are, and that they need a chance to shine too. I loved working with these children but I felt that I should be doing something different with my life and education. Over the past few years I was told by the head of special education that I would be shadowing a 3 year old with down’s syndrome, my heart sunk I felt like this wasn’t for me and didn’t want the job.
As soon as I met this wonderful child I knew deep in my heart that I was meant to be her teacher. She is the reason for me going back to college and getting a bachelors degree in education and working on my masters in special education, without her I don’t think I would have gone back to college. I have been working with this child for the past 4 years she is now seven, when looking back at the choice I made I am so glad I got a chance to be a part of this little girls life. My own children and family love this little girl like she was one of own; we have grown attached to her family and theirs to ours.
We do family get together and special events, I wouldn’t change a thing. I am just amazed at how many stares or shocked faces when people ask me what do I do and I am proud to say that I teach a child with downs. Most of them don’t understand why I chose to do this and to this day they still ask why? The only thing I can say is why not, she is just as normal as you and me but needs a little more care and lots of patience. I am proud to say that I taught this child to write her very own name, yes it was a challenge and took a full year but this wonderful little girl can write her very own name with no help.
This is what teaching is all about, getting the satisfaction that yes every child can learn regardless of their learning or disability. My goal for going back to school was to help special needs children, and I have finally reached that goal. To make sure I understand everything that I need to know. In order for me to become a great teacher, I will need to be learn to be more patient, show a lot of compassion, kindness , ability to listen/reasoning and most importantly is to be loving and love what teaching is all about. Taking what I learned from them and teaching it to my own kids. I want to be able to make a difference in someone’s life.
Especially letting people know, that no matter how old you are you can still go back to school and get a degree and fulfill you dream. Not just anyone can say today I am going to go teach a special needs child, teaching a special needs takes patience, compassion and most importantly an education in this field. I feel that in order to succeed in becoming a special education educator use must have some or most of these qualities: be good humored, organized, very accepting to every student, be creative with their teaching methods, even tempered, thick skinned, optimistic and finally being dedicated to their work and their students.
Having a good sense of humor helps you and your students, because when you are having fun teaching and enjoying your students. Your students feel the same way and when you are down, upset and depressed they also feel the tension that you are putting off. So it is important for a teacher to be good humored. For example my student is still being potty trained and when she has a messy accident I can turn my back for one quick second and she is already finger painted the walls. I want to get so made at her and scream and yell “what do you think you are doing ??? but when I look into her eyes I just laugh, this is why you have to be good humored. Being organized and prepared can also help you succeed in teaching, you have to be able to adjust or modify what you are teaching because not every student learns the same way. For instance my student can be having an off day and tired of the same old routine so I have to be prepared to get her out of her moods to where she wants to learn and have fun at the same time. Being able to adjust and modify your lesson plans in order to help your student succeed in their education for that day.
Every educator no matter what they are certified to teach must welcome all students with open arms and a smile. We as teachers need to stop and think is that it’s not the child’s fault they are like this but as educators we can find ways around their learning disability and help them learn. A teacher doesn’t get to pick their star students to teach but the teacher can make any student a star student just by accepting that student for who they are and also by guiding them to the right path for success.
Getting to know your students and understanding them will help you and your student in the long run. Every teacher needs to learn to think outside the box when to come to teaching, especially when the students start to get bored or restless with the same old teaching style. Children all of all ages and disabilities all love it when teachers come up with crazy ideas on how to teach a certain subject. It helps keep children entertained and focused on what they are being taught. Bringing creativity into the classroom will have the benefit of enriching your classroom environment as well.
For example when it was STARR testing at our school my student and I and to go to the storage/break room, of course I wasn’t fully prepared for this last minute arrangement. Needless to say I used paper cups and plates and wrote letters and numbers on them so we made our own game to where she can still learned her abcs and counting. She loved every minute of it. Working with special needs children can be very challenging and rewarding all at the same time. However the teacher must be able to respond very quickly when their students lose their temper or become out of control.
Students can get out of control when the teacher is not strict, firm or being kind, teacher needs to watch what they say and what they do, so they always have wits about them and most importantly stay calm. For example I was working with my student when another teacher raised her voice and an autism boy started panicking and going out of control, instead of talking this boy and getting him madder and scared than what he already is. I started singing his favorite song that he likes “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and after a few minutes of singing he calmed down and came and set in my lap.
A teacher must always know what to do when a child gets out of control, they should know their students inside and out. A teacher has to be confident in themselves and in their teachings. When working with any child especially ones who do have special needs, the teacher can’t keep second guessing herself. You have to stay calm and confident al all times and don’t let the children see that you are overwhelmed or stressed because some children feed off that and it will be harder to stay focused on your teachings.
Teachers are intuitive, they need to be able to watch and learn how their student is trying to communicate with them or what they are asking for. For example my student who is seven has speech issues to where any person can talk to her and when she replies back they have no clue what she is saying. I have been with this child for the past 4 years that we know what she is saying through some sign and just by watching what she is doing. A teacher needs to know their students inside and out and find ways that they can communicate with their student.
A teacher must be thick skinned or be able to get over any rude or name calling that their child calls them. Children act out because they don’t know what else to do when they are made or scared. So they start calling their teachers names or using bad words. Teacher needs to overcome the name calling and still let their student know what they still love them. Being optimistic when teaching children at any age, showing and encouraging them not to give up and to keep trying makes the best teacher there is.
When I child hears encouragement then they know that the teacher is there for them and will help them in any way to find them a way to understand what they are being taught or what they are wanting to do. Dedication is the magic word when it comes to teaching children. Getting to know a child who does have special needs does to a caring, compassion and dedicated person. They are in it to help and care for these children and help them get an education no matter how many hurdles or obstacles’ are in the way.
I knew that when I was asked to be with a child that has downs from the time she got to school till she went home, I was scared but I was up for the challenge. I feel that in my heart being a dedicated, caring, loving and compassionate person will help me strive to be the very best special educator teacher at there. There are challenges and obstacles that all special educators must face and get through, especially when it comes to the law and being able to provide services for these children. There are a lot of rules, regulation and laws that every teacher has to abide by.
Although we understand these rules we always have a question in the back our minds. My question is that knowing we are a public school is providing the right services for our student with downs? oCan we trust our school system Special education staff will rarely tell you that they can’t pay for what you’re asking for. The IDEA mandates that services cannot be denied on the basis of cost, but special educators know the federal government has never provided sufficient funds to implement that requirement.
Special education staff wish you knew that they have little, if any, say in the budget process. Knowing they can meet your child’s needs in other ways, special education teachers often try to steer parents away from costly alternatives because they have to. IDEA requires schools to provide an appropriate education — not the best possible services (Logsdon). I feel that through all the thick and thin I still want to be the very best special education educator out there. If we aren’t the very best and teaching our children, then who can our children trust?
Parents have the right to find the very best education for their children rather it’s a public school, private school or a school that fits their child’s disability. I would want the very best for my own children and for my students. I feel that I have the drive to be able to teach a child and get to know them on their level inside and out. I can be there to help them get the proper education because I can offer them love, care, compassion and all my devotion to them. People who want to work with children need to ask themselves these questions: “Would I be a good special education teacher? “Do I have the desires and skills to be a successful special education teacher, and actually enjoy what I do? ” I can honestly answer yes, after working with children who have all sorts of special needs and faced so many challenges.
I am ready to take on new and different challenges that the students will bring. I want the students to be able trust me and let me guide them to the right education, and help find them ways that they are comfortable with their learning skills. In order or me to become a successful educator I need to find ways that will help me communicate with the student when the student has speech issues, find ways to help children who are handicapped to learn. There are all kinds of reasons why I will become a successful special education educator and devotion and commitment sums it up. My goal for going back to school was all due to my family and my special little student, reason why was to help special needs children, and I have finally reached that goal.
While taking these online classes, I feel like they have molded me into the teacher I want to be. What I expect from my instructors is the same compassion about teaching is the way I feel. To make sure I understand everything that I need to know. In order for me to become a great teacher, I will need to be learn to be more patient, show a lot of compassion, kindness , ability to listen/reasoning and most importantly is to be loving and love what teaching is all about. Taking what I learned from them and teaching it to my own kids. I want to be able to make a difference in someone’s life.
Especially letting people know, that no matter how old you are you can still go back to school and get a degree and fulfill you dream. That’s why I am taking these classes to for fill my dream and to help those children in need of an education from someone who can be devoted, love, care and give them compassion for who they are on the inside and on the outside. My philosophy that I go by is strictly based on that every child no matter what disability they have has the chance and deserves the opportunity to have an education. No child should be held accountable or punished because of their disability.
Every student can learn it just take time and a lot of patience on both ends. This quote by Helen Keller is something that I agree with, hope and confidence helps your child succeed as long as you hold faith, hope and confidence when teaching your student. I believe as long as you have hope in a student then they will start to have faith in themselves and want to succeed with their education regardless of any hurdles that they come across. “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement, nothing can be done without hope and confidence. ” — Helen Keller