Why be a Special Education Teacher?
- It is a challenge! Every day is different, as is every student. There are a number of different disabilities that you might work with, and different strategies work for different students. There is no such thing as a boring day in a Special Ed. classroom.
- Flexibility! It helps to be a master scheduler as a Special Ed teacher. Most teachers work in a pull-out model and serve students in small groups throughout the day. You have to work around everyone else’s schedule to do this, especially at the elementary school level. As a Special Ed teacher, you can also work at almost any grade level! I have worked in elementary, middle, and high schools. It is easier to switch jobs while still really doing the same thing.
- It is rewarding! You get to build bonds with kids every day. These are the kids who often don’t fit in. They are starving for relationships. They are also amazing. They keep doing something that is difficult for them every day. How many of us keep trying something that is difficult for us? It’s also amazing when you’re able to reach a student who no one has been able to reach before. I had the privilege to help two students learn to read this year. Those were two of the most rewarding moments in my life!
- There are many advancement opportunities! You can specialize in a specific disability area such as Autism, Visual Impairment or Hearing Impairment.You can go into a field that is related to Special Education: Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language Therapy, Applied Behavior Analysis, Physical Therapy, or Assistive Technology. You can become a Program Specialist in Oklahoma City, helping other teachers with their students.
All teachers need a Bachelor’s Degree. Every state has different certification standards, and even if you don’t have a B.A. in Education, you can still become a teacher! I was one of those teachers who started out doing other things and went through an alternative certification route. In Oklahoma, there’s also an alternative certification process called Boot Camp. You can read the official information here: http://ok.gov/sde/boot-camp-candidate-toolkit. Oklahoma City is a high need area for Special Education teachers. The last figure I heard was that there were a projected 35 vacancies in Special Education expected at the beginning of the year, and that’s only in Oklahoma City Schools.
Of course, there is so much more that goes along with being a Special Ed. teacher. I would love to answer ANY questions about being a Special Ed. teacher, or even have a conversation about it if you find yourself intrigued by what I’ve shared!