Special education teachers have a huge impact on their students, and it is essential to understand the complexities of a teacher's roles to be successful in that role. A special education teacher provides academic intervention and support to children with unique needs. As an advocate and educator, a special education teacher works with classroom teachers, counselors, and family members to create individualized education programs (IEPs) for children who have academic, social, and personal difficulties. Evaluation, instructional planning and teaching are the main duties of this position. The three most important functions of a special education teacher are to be a resource, a support system, and a mentor to their students.
A special education teacher must modify general lessons to meet the needs of students and develop IEPs for each student. Planning classes, updating the records of students receiving special assistance, and writing new IEPs are common tasks. Experienced special education teachers have an established support system and are better equipped to manage the daily workflow. The primary responsibility of the special education teacher is to provide instruction and support that enable the participation of students with disabilities in the regular classroom. Special education teachers act as consultants for classroom teachers to offer advice on how to help at-risk students succeed in the classroom.
They should also take on their role as mentors and always provide guidance and a friendly smile to students seeking mentoring. Finally, special education teachers regularly communicate with parents, teachers, and administrators about student progress, classroom needs, and any special issues that may arise. Career advancement opportunities include supervising other special education teachers and overseeing special education services throughout the district. Often, special education teachers manage instructional assistants and this requires managing their daily work and teaching them how to work with assigned students. This four-year program includes courses such as the exceptional student, the learning environment, evaluation, differentiating instruction for students with special needs, and the health issues of students with special needs. Special education teachers must be knowledgeable about these topics in order to be successful in their roles.