Wednesday, January 12, 2011

An Inside Look at the Special Education Profession

Special education professionals work to promote students' overall behavioral, social and academic growth. Special education professionals aide students in developing socially appropriate behavior within their family, school and community. Teachers of special education help students become more confident in their social interactions. Special education professionals administer activities that build students' life skills.Below is a breakdown of the short and long-term responsibilities of a special education teacher.First and foremost, special education teachers focus on the development and academic needs of children with disabilities. Special education teachers work alone or with general education teachers to individualize lessons, develop problem-solving techniques and integrate children into group projects with other students. Furthermore, special education teachers are responsible for ensuring that the needs of disabled children are met during assessment periods.The types of disabilities a special education teacher might encounter are difficult to predict. Knowledge of the most recent education modules, medical research and behavioral practices Knowledge of the latest medical technology relevant to special educationDue to the specialization of the field, special education teachers in all 50 states must receive licensure before employment. Licensures are approved by each state's board of education, and the requirements for certification differ between states. In many cases, hopeful special education professionals do not meet the requirements of special education licensure due to their prior completion of degree programs outside of the field of education. The hope of these programs is to attract new special education professionals and fill the growing need for teachers. After several years, some special education teachers look for new opportunities within their field. Experienced teachers of special needs students have also moved up to serve as mentors to incoming special education teachers.Due to the new emphasis on education and training in legislature, special education professionals will become even more valued.
Can I Make a Living as a Special Education Teacher?
As mentioned previously, the special education job market is on the rise. In 2004, the BLS reported 441,000 employed special education teachers in the nation. In rare cases, special education professionals were involved in home or hospital care.
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Finding Educational Resources on the Web

Weasel World Education Index – A host of links provided for over 30 different subjects.
Federal Resources for Educational Excellence – Offers links to great curriculum, homework sheets, and lessons on a variety of subjects.
Special Education Resources on the Internet – Offers links to those interested in the field of special education, separated into more than 25 categories.
K-12 Resources for Music Educators – Choral teachers, classroom music teachers, orchestra teachers and more. A list of links divided up by musical focus. Updated frequently.
Microsoft in Education – This is Microsoft's page of links to technological tools, programs, and solutions to educational challenges for both students and teachers.
NASA Education Enterprise – This is NASA's page of links for its Education Program with tons of activities for all levels education.
The EnviroLink Network – This is a compilation of thousands of online environmental resources divided up by environmental topic.
The Educator's Reference Desk – More than 2000 lesson plans, 3000 links to online education information, and 200 question responses for the education community from the Information Institute of Syracuse.
Education Index – An index of links to the best online education-related sites sorted by subject and life stage of the student. Search for educational information and links in over 50 categories.
BBC Learning Network – Resources for home and school divided by age group. Sections for teachers and parents.
Smithsonian Education – This is the education website for the Smithsonian Institution with educational resources for educators, families, and students that include lesson plans, field trips, and interactive activities.
SearchERIC – A bibliographic database with over 1.1 million education topic citations dating back to 1966. There are more than 100,000 documents that can be downloaded for free by anyone.
Documentary Educational Resources – This site has a huge collection of documentaries focused on cross-cultural understanding. Search by title, subject, or geography.
National Geographic Education Subject Guides – For teachers, kids, and students. Find lesson plans, maps and geography, photography, news, adventure and exploration, history and culture and more.
Discovery Education's Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators – This is a categorized list of sites for teaching and learning to enhance curriculum.
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