Teachers in special education have a wealth of knowledge to share with their colleagues regarding patience, empathy, working with parents, and other topics. Teachers in special education are expected to do a lot of things, including assessing students’ abilities to determine their needs and developing teaching plans; organizing and assigning activities that are specific to each student’s abilities; teaching and mentoring students in groups, small groups, and one-on-one; and writing individualized education plans in parent-friendly language. ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), DOR (Department of Rehabilitation), LEA (local education agency), PDD (pervasive developmental disorder), and LRE (least restrictive environment) are just a handful of the acronyms they must know and implement in their area.
Working with special education instructors continues to amaze me with their energy, sensitivity, and enthusiasm. Here are some of the things I’ve learned from them that have helped me become a better teacher.
- Accept all students for who they are. Students bring their belongings and parcels to us. Slowly and carefully open and unpack, treating others with love, respect, and understanding. Allow time and patience to develop a relationship with a pupil; allow it to develop naturally. You’ll have to start over if you push, shove, or force it, and it may or may not blossom.
- Patience is a virtue, a talent, and a must. Our pupils all require patience, but some demand it in greater amounts than others. Extra homework time or a tailored evaluation might help to ease some of the problems. Always remember that our parents entrust their most prized things to us in the hopes that we will be modest, supportive, and compassionate.
- Have a good laugh. On certain days, laughing may be the last thing on your mind, yet it may be just what you need. Although our students come to us from a variety of cognitive and logistical backgrounds, a hearty chuckle or a shared case of the giggles may help us all take a step back and restart.
- Students want to know that they are loved. Our pupils want to think that they are the only ones in the room, on our caseload, or in our hearts. A simple expression of gratitude, such as a handwritten letter, a quiet teacher-student lunch, or our phone number, shows that we care about that kid and their grades. It is impossible to overstate the significance of developing relationships with pupils; they need us to show them that love is always possible.
- Using scaffolding to build a lesson is just effective teaching. Prepare to deconstruct a lesson into individual learning units. When each component is taught, modeled, rehearsed, and applied, the pieces come together to make a cohesive whole.
Anxiety and dissatisfaction might be caused by excessive lecturing, a bulky package, or too many directives. It’s typically advisable to take tiny steps at a time.
- When communicating with parents, be explicit. When speaking with parents, be clear about the pros and concerns they have regarding their child’s skills. Always, never, generally, and occasionally are examples of generalizations to avoid. Give specific examples and collaborate with parents to generate growth possibilities. Parents want to help their children’s instructors, so show them how.
- Tell others about what we’ve learned. Our pupils’ learning is aided by sharing materials and techniques with other instructors. Differentiation is a principle that special education instructors are well-versed in. They don’t only differentiate; they use it as a mentality for effective teaching.
Demonstrating how to use an approach to one student will assist all pupils.
- It’s a blessing to be able to listen actively. Every kid will face a problem—or what they believe to be a problem—every day. Stop, look each other in the eyes, and listen. Don’t propose a solution unless you’ve been asked to. Don’t dismiss their issue, experience, or circumstance. Don’t bring their concern to the principal or another authority before the kid has had time to consider it. All they want is to be heard at times.
- Seek assistance. Don’t expect to be able to teach, nurture, feed, clothe, and shelter each student on your caseload or in your class. It’s critical to seek help before jeopardizing your physical, emotional, or mental health.
Your coworkers, school social worker, school psychologist, and other support personnel are eager to assist you in assisting your pupils.
- When speaking with parents, avoid using jargon. Remember all those abbreviations? If you must use them, do it sparingly and clearly describe each one. Acronyms can help instructors communicate with one another, but they create a barrier with parents since they’re an exclusive language for educators.
When it comes to forming a relationship with parents, it’s important to have a shared lexicon that inspires rather than wears them out.
About the article
Teachers in special education have a wealth of knowledge to share with their colleagues regarding patience, empathy, working with parents, and other topics. In this article, we discussed what I’ve learned from special ed teachers.