Special Education Teacher
Special Education Teacher. 3 words that are filled with so much but also 3 words that will never really get credit for the hard work that is done on a daily basis, and that’s okay. We don’t become Special Education Teachers for acknowledgment, we become Special Education Teachers to make a difference in the lives of students who need more attention, more care, and more support, in order to be successful. That’s why we do what we do, for the students who need that extra nudge.
We hear a lot that Special Education Teachers are just ‘glorified babysitters’. That is a statement made from ignorance. Have any of those people actually been in a Special Education classroom? Have they met the students you teach? Do they even have the ability to understand the population we spend so much of our time invested in? Most likely the answers to all those questions is NO. They have no idea.
When I was a new teacher, I would just roll my eyes and keep on moving. I didn’t want to waste time trying to justify my career to people who were not open minded or willing to see what was really there. As I gained experience and confidence in being a Special Education Teacher, I realized I’m the biggest advocate for my students. It was my job to help people understand, if they were open and willing. So, whenever I would hear statements like “Do you actually teach? How do you actually those kids? Don’t you just babysit pretty much?”, do you know what I started doing? Inviting people into my classroom.
The most eye opening thing for some people is to COME AND SEE what we do in our classrooms. I know, as a special education teacher, this can be invasive to our classroom, especially with the kiddos we teach, BUT if you somehow embed it into your classroom, it can be helpful and educational.
If we, as special education teachers can’t educate others about our students, how can we expect them to be accepted and treated like everyone else? Yes, it takes work. Yes, it’s difficult and stressful sometimes. If we remember who we are doing this all for, remember the goal for our students and their success, we have no choice but to press on and do the best we can. Special Education Teachers are the BIGGEST advocates for our students. We make sure our students get what they need in the classroom, in life, and whatever they need to make progress and be successful in their lives.
Not many people will truly understand our jobs. But we have each other and that’s why being part of a community, no matter how big or small, will help. Find a few teacher friends who get you, get the job, and get your kiddos. Support and teamwork are key to being a successful special education teacher and for advocating for our students. To all those people who still don’t get it after talking with us, seeing our classrooms, hearing our stories… well let them move along. Being a Special Education Teacher is a TOUGHHHHHH job, made for only a small percentage of special people like you!