I don't want to be a Special Education teacher because it's noble, or for the praise, or the money. I want to be a teacher for students with special needs because they deserve to be treated the same as 'normal' students. They deserve to have the same opportunities, and learn the things that 'normal' students learn.
I have heard many comments made to aspiring Special Education teachers:
"Wow, good luck", "Wow that must be hard", "Why do you want a profession that doesn't make much money", "You must have a lot of patience, congrats!" and many more comments along the lines. Here is the long winded response to those comments.
It is so much more than having patience or money. There are several of reasons why many of us find our ways of wanting to become a special education teacher, but most will include because mostly special needs students get overlooked, those students need the help. Many teachers and adults never want to deal with those students because it is more work, so it tends to be that they push them onto someone else so they do not have to deal with them. At the end of the day many special needs students are given up on because they need so much support. Why give up on the students that need help the most? That just makes zero sense.
I want to be a Special Education teacher so that those students have a teacher who cares about them doing well, who will push their limits so that they succeed, someone who will always be cheering them on in their corner and so many more reasons. Just because I want to be their teacher does not mean for one second will I allow them to not learn something, or not do something because they simply get upset. These are kids just like any and if a kid does not want to do something they will try ways to get out doing such. That does not mean to just force them and make a scene that they are going to still be required to do the task just in a different way. People will try and tell you that being a Special Education teacher just allows students to get away with a lot and not doing their work, but that is so untrue. Special Ed teachers do make sure their student does do their work and does the task at hand, just differently. That is a part of why most Special Ed teachers want to be one because they want to prove to people that even though it might not be done in front of the 'normal' kids they are still learning the same things and doing the same tasks as the 'normal' kid just at their level and that does not make them any less of the 'normal' child. Special Ed teachers want to prove the odds wrong for special needs children and show them that even if the world thinks their way are 'unconventional' or not the 'right' way t they are still capable of doing it. It is about making the student feel that they have a place in this world, that they are not what 'normal' people say they are.
As someone who has seen a school system fail for a student, and watched special needs students that fell through the cracks while being shoved into a classroom setting that was/is not necessarily the best for the student but that was/is for the teacher, is why I want to be that teacher that won't let them fall through the cracks.
We don't ever go into thinking it is going to be a walk in the park, but neither is that child's life in school or out of school for that matter. If we have the ability to help a child succeed and learn what they should be learning then that is what we want to do. Just because a their mind/body runs a little differently affecting their learning process to run slower, does not mean they are not capable of ever reaching those goals of the curriculum.
We fully understand that our jobs will be a lot of paperwork, frustrating at times, but none of those things would ever compare to the difference we could make in their lives. Teachers teach the future doctors, nurses, policeman, presidents, engineers, mechanics, or even future teachers. No matter where you go in life, a teacher has been a part of your life. Ask any future teacher or current teacher that they are in that field because they were inspired one way or another to be in the field. I for one sure saw many reasons that inspired me to be going into this field.
No money might not be a massive perk of this job but let me tell you the perks that you just couldn't put a price on for this job. Some I have learned by doing some student teaching, and others by having a sibling and family friends with special needs.
- 1.Problem-Solving Skills enhanced. Working with students with IEPs, they come with their own behaviors, and difficulties that you get to be creative in finding what will work for that student. Getting to go out of the typical teaching sense for a student to be able to understand what is being taught is such a cool and exciting part of the job. There is no way to teach a student, no student learns the same which allows you to feel that your job is not nearly the same thing year in and out or even day in and out.
- 2.Laughs. Some days will be harder than others, there will be rough days but let me tell you the children will make sure even on the roughest days that you laugh. They enjoy school, they enjoy being in an environment where they feel safe, they enjoy being with you and the students because they have a second home, and for some a home.
- 3.Helping parents find the best path for their child. Some parents do not know how to go about having child with special needs, so when you get to be a part of that help for the parents assisting them allowing them to feel that their child or children will be just fine and will succeed too.
- 4.There is a place for everyone. One of the most beautiful thing about becoming a Special Education teacher is that in this field there is no just one way you can help, meaning that you can work in a resource room, work in a self-contained, or even a home based setting and many other settings. It is an awesome feeling being able to help in so many different settings, and even sometimes helping in more than one setting at a time.
- 5.More one-on-one time. Working one-on-one with a child is something that you cannot ever be fully prepared for because there is not one child that is the same way as another child, and this way while teaching one-on-one you are able to get your students more and get to know more what they struggle with more than you ever would in a full classroom setting. This could be in a resource setting or even when you work with a child with special needs that is main streamed. That means you assist them after school or even before in some cases which is such an amazing opportunity for oyu to be able to learn the child, while figure out ways to assist them even more. To help figure out what will work for the child so they able to function in the main stream setting while also being able to succeed.
- 6.The best group of kids you possibly know. There is literally no explanation for this. Simply this is a fact and that is that.
- 7.You get to learn from your students. Your students will be able to walk you through movies, tv shows or even books in ways that you never thought about while watching or reading them yourself. You will learn new ways of teaching something even from a student who understood the way you taught it but voiced how they understood it and still got to the same conclusion.
- 8.So Rewarding. There is nothing more rewarding then when what you are doing for a child works, and that child is succeeding. This is more for teachers that worked more long term with a student but you can definitely see a huge difference in a year with a student.
To be honest there is no amount of words that can best describe or explain why I want to be a Special Education teacher it is just something that you know you want to do. There is no way you can ever just label one reason as to why you want to be one, you just know that by being one you can help those students that the school system over looks, or students that are not getting the best thing for them. At the end of the day being a special education teacher isn't for what you feel after but rather it is having the ability to assist a student to be becoming successful.