The Role of a Special Education Teacher

Becoming a special education instructor can be one of the most rewarding occupations in teaching.

When it comes to careers in teaching, there are multiple ways you can impact a child's life and further his or her path as a student. Being a special education teacher is a role that goes above and beyond merely tutoring. It's a position that requires developing a social connection with the students, while also opening them up to certain life skills that can help them gain more independence later on. Here are a few of the primary responsibilities that come along with being a special education teacher:

Communication is Key
One of the most important elements to instructing special education students is exhibiting extraordinary communication skills. While you may working with students who suffer from a variety of impairments, effectively finding ways to help them interpret information depends heavily on the rapport you build. Communication can also go beyond assisting with just the student. Special education teachers need to constantly be working alongside other classroom teachers as well as parents to ensure that their tutoring strategies are proving successful.

Be Creative
An advantage to being a special education instructor is the overall range in flexibility you'll need in order to efficiently reach a child. Lessons plans will occasionally require you to think out of the box, allowing you to get creative with your learning tactics. This can span from finding more visual solutions to help a student with mathematics, or using the latest applications or educational games to work on engaging their interest in certain subjects. Sometimes initiating certain field trips to places that are associated with specific areas of study can also be beneficial, such as organizing a day at the zoo or taking a tour in a museum.

First and foremost, anyone attempting to become a special education teacher will need to have a bachelor's degree in special education. If you're equipped with certain skills such as knowing sign language or reading braille, you can certainly move to the front of the application line for a lot of educational employers. Of course, one thing you can count on being a crucial component to the job is dedication. You might be frustrated at times when trying to get through to a student with special needs, so being extremely patient and motivated are essential requirements of the position.

This article is sponsored by Western Governors University, a non-profit, accredited, online university. WGU's Teachers College offers multiple online degree programs for current teachers or those looking to become teachers. To find out more, please visit

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