future of special education

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leavingteaching in Chicago, Illinois

52 months ago

I have been a special ed teacher for over 10 years and although don't regret my experience, I would not recommend teaching to someone coming out of school right now. It's gotten extremely difficult for both regular and special ed teachers. Parents are so demanding (or they just don't care), there's no money for anything (and I work in a wealthy district), and as the other poster said, many Reg. Ed teachers are very difficult to work with regarding special ed students, and then you are caught in the middle, with parents asking you why the teacher isn't following the accommodations as written in the IEP. I am going back to school next year full time to become an OT, and although I don't expect healthcare to be any less frustrating than public school teaching, at least I know I have many options for where to work, with what population, etc. And I won't have to stay in a job I can't stand anymore. Right now I'm stuck in one school system because if I wanted to find a new job in a new district, I'd lose pay, lose tenure, and they could just lay me off after my first year.
I guess if it's something you really think you want to do, then you should talk to as many special ed teachers as you can. It's certainly a great schedule if you have kids. But for me, I just knew I needed to do something different. Good luck!

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leavingteaching in Chicago, Illinois

52 months ago

Oh and I don't know how it is now but it used to be that you had to get your reg. ed. certification first, then special ed. The other issue to consider is that you will be confined to teaching whatever area your certification is in. So let's say you hear of a job as an ESL teacher or something else you'd like to do, well you're stuck because you'd have to go back and get that certification, spending more time and money for classes and then student teaching. I didn't like that aspect of teaching--if I decided I wanted to go teach another subject or grade level my certification doesn't cover, I'd have to go back to school. It's just not worth it financially or otherwise! If it's going to be 4 years of school to get to the point of being certified, I would say only do it if you are certain, after talking to lots of teachers in different schools, it's going to be worth it. I don't mean to knock down your dream, it's just that knowing what I know, I'm recommending you really research.

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Greg in Janesville, California

51 months ago

I believe I'm in the minority, but I truly love teaching. I entered teaching late (around age 44), and had to deal with about 6 years of part-time classes to become fully certified in California (over and above 2 bachelor's degrees and a master's degree I already had). I've been teaching for about 12 years now. Yes, it's very challenging, and the paperwork is awful, but the rewards go far beyond any other job I've ever had. I know I'm especially lucky, though, to work at a small school in a rural area. I find the teachers and administrator here to be very supportive and very involved in the education of "our" students. I also find the parents to be generally very reasonable. I think it's very sad when other teachers say, "Don't even think about entering this profession." I understand their feelings, but our country desperately needs good teachers. If someone doesn't do the job, who will?

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Greg in Janesville, California

51 months ago

One addition to my previous post: My only teaching experience has been in special education.

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countrysinger Erin McCormick

50 months ago

Greg,
how did you like it when you qouted the assignments for the children and did they listen to you.

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spedmom in Canton, Michigan

48 months ago

It depends on where you live. Here in Michigan, you can't get a primary (first)special ed endorsement. You have to have a regular ed endorsement and THEN you can get your special ed. endorsements. To only educate yourself by purchasing books, you are missing out on so much practical knowledge that you would learn in school. The negativity is overwhelming here!

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SPED in Angleton, Texas

44 months ago

There will always be SPED teachers needed because, while the trend is toward inclusion, there will always be some students (those classified as having low-incidence disablities) who will need to be in self-contained classrooms, or just go to general ed classes a portion of the day. And if you want to work with students with high-incidence disabilities (like learning diabilities) you can be an inclusion teacher or co-teacher.
You aren't waisting your time...you have to be certified to teacher early childhood through 4th grade regular ed as well as EC-12th grade SPED. I did my internship in general ed even though I knew I wanted to teach SPED.
Both experiences were good and if you want to be a teacher then you will rise to whatever occasion comes...including demanding parents and district expectations.
Do you want to teach students with special needs? There will always be a need for teachers who do.

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blawson in Hot Springs, South Dakota

41 months ago

Special Ed., don't go there!!!!!

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leaving teaching part 2 in Waukegan, Illinois

32 months ago

leavingteaching in Chicago, Illinois said: I have been a special ed teacher for over 10 years and although don't regret my experience, I would not recommend teaching to someone coming out of school right now. It's gotten extremely difficult for both regular and special ed teachers. Parents are so demanding (or they just don't care), there's no money for anything (and I work in a wealthy district), and as the other poster said, many Reg. Ed teachers are very difficult to work with regarding special ed students, and then you are caught in the middle, with parents asking you why the teacher isn't following the accommodations as written in the IEP. I am going back to school next year full time to become an OT, and although I don't expect healthcare to be any less frustrating than public school teaching, at least I know I have many options for where to work, with what population, etc. And I won't have to stay in a job I can't stand anymore. Right now I'm stuck in one school system because if I wanted to find a new job in a new district, I'd lose pay, lose tenure, and they could just lay me off after my first year.
I guess if it's something you really think you want to do, then you should talk to as many special ed teachers as you can. It's certainly a great schedule if you have kids. But for me, I just knew I needed to do something different. Good luck!

what program because i'm looking to get out of teaching.

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Joseph.Lorentzen in El Paso, Texas

31 months ago

I am one of those special educators that has pressed for Inclusion in Texas. Yes, it takes fewer special educators and far more aides. You have to push the administration into accepting the cost. Pull out programs have failed to help more student's then they helped. It means you have to be far more creative with a limited budget. Your job becomes more of a supervisory roll of both the aides you have helping the student and regular teacher and advising the administration about the best way to move forward. It is challenging and rewarding while being scary new territoriality ground. You challenge the status quo and people who think they have power over you, don't like it when you bust down their castle gates. So put on that old Super Mom suit - you are going to need all the bullet proofing your kids have toughed you into.

jamie in Williamsport, Pennsylvania said: Hi-I just started school and am working towards receiving my certification in special education. I have heard from a teacher's aide in my area that special education jobs will be eliminated because of inclusion in the classroom. Has anyone heard this also? I just don't want to spend 4 years getting a degree that I can't use. Should I first get my certification in K-6 then go for the special ed? If I do not find a special ed job can I test for the K-6 to become certified or is this more school? I currently work with adults in the MH/MR field and love what I do so it is not a matter of being passionate about it, it is a matter of having the time and money. I am in my 30's and have 2 kids!!!!

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Been teaching for years in Houston, Texas

29 months ago

Dissed in Blairstown, New Jersey said: I hope I'm not too late, but DON'T DO it. If you want to be a special education teacher, become regular ed certified and work in an inclusion classroom. You can buy books online and educate yourself. Certification is not necessary. It is really a formality, and it only gives you permission to stand in the back of a classroom of a teacher who is less qualified than you (often an alternate router), has less debt than you, and treats you like dirt. Again, DON'T DO IT!!!!

After 17 years as a classroom teacher, the state of Texas declared me "Imminently Unqualified" [yes they put it in writing] I too found myself standing in the back of a classroom. I have watched some really great teachers and took it as an opportunity to learn from them. I have also witnessed some disasters and wondered why I was the one not qualified. If I had it to do over again I would have continued my Special ed. Training but would have been certified in Reading/Language as well as Social Studies due to all the under grad hours that I have. Don't go for SPED alone! It is often a thankless job with mountains of repetitive and unnecessary paperwork and very little appreciation form parents, students, peers, or administrators

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spedteacher in Angleton, Texas

29 months ago

It really depends on how you look at it. I don't find my job thankless at all. I love my students, parents and coworkers despite imperfections. The occasional hard day or tough parent to deal with does not change the fact that I am doing what I've been called to do to the best of my ability. It's not everybody's calling so don't let anybody tell you it is too hard and not to do it just because it wasn't for them. I absolutely love my job as do all of the other special ed teachers I know.

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TJ in Battle Creek, Michigan

17 months ago

Dissed in Blairstown, New Jersey said: I hope I'm not too late, but DON'T DO it. If you want to be a special education teacher, become regular ed certified and work in an inclusion classroom. You can buy books online and educate yourself. Certification is not necessary. It is really a formality, and it only gives you permission to stand in the back of a classroom of a teacher who is less qualified than you (often an alternate router), has less debt than you, and treats you like dirt. Again, DON'T DO IT!!!!

That's a pretty pessimistic and generalizing comment that clearly only reflects your experience. I know some special education teachers who are phenomenal at working with regular education teachers. They are not condescending. I find that if you are open and try to understand all perspectives and really listen to each other, you will find a common path of cooperation and respect for each other. Good Luck!

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Ellen in Texas in La Vernia, Texas

1 month ago

Hi,

I have taught in several places and more than one state. I most recently moved from CA to TX. I will tell you that I was treated better in CA, loved my job as a matter of fact. Now, I absolutely love the people I work with; Special Education staff, General Ed. teachers, and students. I hate my job. I am doing more paperwork than teaching. I am expected to write Individual Education Plans, follow up with students weekly that I do not have in class, modify lesson plans the day they are due to my Dept. Head,(since that is when they are given to me), make amendments to IEPs when students have additional needs that need to be addressed through out the year or even just because gen. ed. teachers didn't meet the deadlines given to them for what accommodations students need for state testing. I am required to visit students at the Alt. campus, email teachers, call parents when grades drop for my monitor students, check up on gen. ed. teachers to make sure they have done their job on our school website for such, and that they have done it correctly, follow up with these teachers; sometimes 3x before things are right, create behavior contracts that I check daily and reward students with prizes I am expected to purchase with my own money, Co-teach in classes (one has 22 students and of those students, 11 are low Basic Sp.Ed students, and there are 3 more LD kiddos, also Sp.Ed)I am expected to give all of these students what they need so they can pass their state tests Sp.Ed. Teachers share all of the same duties as the general education teachers = they have more responsibility but the same pay because at least in our district, there is no stipend or other pay for Special Education even if there are stipends for other teachers who take on extra duties. There is more actually but I don't want to depress anyone. If I could find anything at all to do other than teach in this area where I live, I would quit teaching even though I have always loved teaching.

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Ellen in Texas in La Vernia, Texas

1 month ago

I am fortunate in that I Co-teach with a wonderful and very capable teacher. I am frustrated because I am constantly pulled from our classes to substitute in other classes or go to ARD or IEP meetings, do Special Education paperwork and so on. I think that working with others can be a process. Many gen. ed. teachers are territorial but if you are patient, most of them will appreciate what you do, you are making their goals of reaching the students easier to achieve after all.

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