As a special education teacher I discovered some common questions that were asked over and over in a variety of ways. I’ll begin with the most annoying and work my way through the common questions about special education teachers that I heard during my years as a special education teacher.
“Are special education teachers real teachers?”
If you walk into a school and observe the interaction between classroom teachers and special education teachers, you might conclude that special education teachers aren’t real teachers, but the truth is: “Yes they are.” Not only do special education teachers take the same core courses that classroom teachers do, earn a bachelor’s or master degree like classroom teachers do and attend the same training and workshops, they take additional classes that regular classroom teachers are not required to take.
Do special education teachers ever teach classes?
Many children receive special education services because they need small group or one-on-one instruction in order to meet the rigorous requirements of the classroom curriculum. Special education teachers work with these children to instruct them in the way in which they learn best. Although the special education teacher does not lecture to a large classroom every day, she does teach classes. Sometimes she teaches individual lessons to one child and sometimes she teaches lessons to small groups.
Why do special education teaches spend so much time playing games?
Special education teachers have received specialized training in how to teach children with a wide range of disabilities. Sometimes this involves teaching by using games. The children are not playing games simply to have fun. Each game is carefully chosen to develop the skills the children involved need to learn. Sometimes, games are used to teach social skills and sometimes they are used to teach academic skills. Many games teach both.
Why don’t special education teachers have as many students as the classroom teacher?
Special education teachers typically work with children in a small group because testing and evaluations have determined that the children need small group instruction and immediate feedback from the teacher in order to learn. Small groups are formed to meet the needs of the student, not the desires of the teacher.
Are special education teachers paid more than classroom teachers are?
Special education teachers are not paid more than classroom teachers are, unless they work in a special school. Public schools have a pay scale that determines the salary of every teacher determined by their level of education and years of experience. Special education teacher’s salary follows the same guidelines as any other teacher in the district.
Do you have questions about special education teachers that I haven’t answered? Drop a line in the comments and I’d be glad to answer it if I can.