Every year, classroom populations are becoming more diverse. There’s an increase in English Language Learners (ELL), the diagnosis of ADHD has risen, and districts are opting for a “push-in” instead of a “pull-out” option for students with special needs. With all of these changes happening in the classroom, additional training to learn techniques may help with classroom and lesson preparation.
Special education in the general classroom
Not all special education jobs are in a special education classroom. As students are being placed into general education classrooms, special education teachers are almost needed to be a “co-teacher” with the general education teacher. A master’s degree in special education can prepare you for the challenges of not only assisting the teacher, but developing strategies for helping the special education student and making sure his or her Individual Education Plan (IEP) is being met. This also gives the special education student a chance to have more individualized attention and help, and the teacher can develop strategies that meet that particular student’s needs, thus helping the student become more successful in the classroom.
Special education in the special education classroom
When teaching special education, you may have your own resource classroom with a significantly smaller number of students than a regular classroom. These students often have learning gaps in math or reading and require a small setting and more individualized attention. A master’s degree in special education can teach you strategies on how to explain different types of concepts in terms that children with disabilities can understand. One of the most important jobs of a special education teacher is making sure the student’s IEP is being implemented since it is a legally binding document. In a special education classroom, the teacher can hone in on the struggles of the student and try various techniques to help the student grow and develop.
Like any educator, teaching special education can have its challenges. A strategy for one student may not work for another, and when there is a classroom with varying levels of disabilities, it can feel overwhelming. However, preparing yourself for this job can relieve some of this stress. A master’s degree in special education can help you not only feel prepared for this job but give you the tools to make a difference in students’ lives.