It takes extraordinary and dedicated individuals to work in special education. The main goal of special educator is to have a positive impact and to make a difference in the lives of children with disabilities. Successful teachers not only need a high level of knowledge and skill, but most importantly have the desire and determination to persevere in a challenging position. A committed educational team with a common goal for a child will have greatest level of success for a child. Teachers must help children acquire skills they need to succeed academically and socially but also have confidence in their ability to learn.
My personal academic goal as a special education teacher is to be the best I can be for myself and my students. I will pursue this by working to further my teaching skills thru academic training and applying teaching strategies that are found to be best practice in both research and in practice. My teaching skills will be honed and refined thru practice over time. Continual assessment of both my students and my teaching practices will further improve my ability to help children. I care about children and have the desire and dedication to help each child reach their full potential.
Formal assessment can identify students’ learning style and areas of academic need. Children can make significant gains when teachers utilize this knowledge and use a variety of approaches keeping the child’s learning style in mind. Teachers also need to monitor student achievement by personal observation and by tracking how the child is doing in other environments outside of the special education classroom.
The education team needs to identify what works and be proactive in monitoring what is not working to implement immediate changes when needed. Team members need to have common goals and objectives. Communication around team members is essential. When team members have different priorities and practices the child suffers. Students will be confused when faced with inconsistent expectations and practices. It takes commitment and dedication from each team member to establish and maintain an effective team.
Children with disabilities often have a low self esteem. They experience many challenges in their daily lives that affect how they perceive themselves as individuals and their capabilities. If they see themselves as a failure or lacking abilities they are less likely to reach their full potential in life. As teachers, we must build children up by helping them recognize their own abilities and celebrate their own uniqueness.
Teachers establish positive relationships by giving encouragement, constant praise and unconditional acceptance. In this positive environment, children gain confidence. Students with disabilities can learn to accept their limitations and challenges, not as a weakness, but part of their whole person.
Academic gains will be limited when children don’t have positive interactions with their peers, teachers and family members. Many children need to be taught what is socially acceptable in different settings and how to communicate their needs. Establishing healthy relationships and developing friendships will further improve a child’s self esteem and academic achievement.