“Do Special Education Teachers influence a student’s academic success?”
I have been a Special Education Para-Educator for eleven years now. My decision to do this was based on the needs of my family and kids. When my last child was born, the doctors did not think that he would make it. He had a heart malfunction and was born with RSV and Von Villibrantds disease (which I did not find out until he was three); those factors lead me to want to work with special education
kids, knowing that I could make a difference.
When I was twenty –three I went to college to get my science degree, thinking that was all that I would need before I could go for my Bachelor in teaching. I was wrong. I am now going back to school, for my second half of the degree, which is my arts, and then I can go for my BA.
I have worked with many teachers in this line of work and have watched how they interact with the kids. I have worked with all kinds of kids with special needs, ranging from reading disabilities to severe mental retardation
. Some of the teachers that I have worked with, I have not approved of their tactics on how they handled the kids, but you learn and you adapt. Eventually you will know what is right and what is wrong.
I started working for the school district
and really enjoyed working with the kids, but they were only mild special education, kids who had reading problems or language barriers, some with more severe problems. I knew that I wanted something more challenging.
I realize that it will take me a few years since I will only be able to go part time as I will still be working as a Para educator, but that is fine by me. I enjoy being a Para educator and working with the students that I am with. Right now, I work with students that are classified as “Developmentally Delayed Behavioral Disorder” (DD/BD). These students have severe problems and can be violent when they don’t get their way. You can get hurt on the job, these particular kids will curse at you, spit on you, hit and kick you, and even throw things at you. However, it is worth it when you realize that something that you taught them has clicked in and they are listening to you. You get the feeling that you have succeeded in what you are doing. It is a great sense of accomplishment. I would not trade what I do for anything.
I know that by being a special education teacher I will make a positive difference in the lives of the kids with disabilities and with their parents. I will help them succeed in whatever they do. By being a special education teacher, I will have the opportunity to use my talents and skills creatively and to grow both professionally and personally. I love the kids. They are the most loving people in the world. They will help you when you are down. I love the look that appears on their faces when they realize they can do something today that they could not do yesterday. Those moments make it all worthwhile.
The kids I work with have a very hard time controlling themselves and it’s great to see them gain confidence, learn to like themselves, and gain self-control. You teach them to give themselves a chance. I am constantly learning new techniques and new approaches. I like the challenge of working with kids who don’t follow the traditional paths of learning. It gives me an immense satisfaction.
I am working with an excellent teacher right now, who decided when she was younger that all she ever wanted to do was be a special education teacher. I have talked with her a lot on this subject and she said, “She would not change her decision for anything in the world.” I really admire her for what she does with the students; she is a big inspiration for me. I hope that one day she will be my mentor and provide me the guidance that I will need.
I know that I will play a vital role in the student’s education. I also know that by being a special education parent, I have a lot of leverage and that I am able to help my son’s teacher resolve things faster if we work as a team. I know too that his teacher is not expected to fix him but to help him learn, and that is what I want to do with my students. I think that by having a special needs child, it will help me be a better teacher.
I consider myself to be patient, able to motivate students, understanding of my students’ special needs, and accepting of differences in others. I am creative and able to apply different types of teaching methods to reach students who are having difficulty in learning. I believe communication and cooperation are essential traits, because special educations teachers spend a great deal of time interacting with others, including students, parents, and school faculty and administrators.