Would you like to know how to become a special education teacher, the meaning of special education, the qualities of a good special educator, and lastly the importance of special education?
Well, in this post, we have provided you with an answer to all of these questions. Read on to find out below.
Table of Contents
What is a Special Education?
Special education is a style of education that accommodates children and adults who are disabled, be it physically or mentally.
In most African countries, there is a lesser emphasis made on the importance and the need for special education compared to the western countries, owing to how many people discriminate against disabled individuals.
Most people do not care to make research about why a disabled individual is encountering difficulties, talk less about trying to learn how to become a special education teacher to help create solutions to these problems.
Even most of the infrastructures and opportunities in African societies are structured in a manner such that it will not allow this category of individuals to live life to the fullest among the able-bodied ones.
Whereas, we need to understand that regardless of the disability status of these individuals there is no hindrance whatsoever to the functionality of the invention they’ve got on the inside.
Their gruff exterior may be a turn-off, but I can bet you that if time and every other necessary resource are channeled into making the best out of life for them, never will they be liabilities to their families and the larger world around them.
The likes of Stevie Wonder, Stephen Hawking, and Nick Vujicic are living proofs of ability in disability. There is a genius in every child, irrespective of what has made the child disabled.
You might wonder how and where they will function, however, I can assure you that when you see them do what they know how to do best, you will be left in awe.
In the modern world, there is a need for state-of-the-art development in the special education sector. We need the most modern of modalities in place if this sector must develop.
The Qualities of a Good Special Education Teacher
Below is the list of characteristics features a special education teacher must possess-
1. You Must Be Passionate
If you want to pursue a career in special education, you must be passionate about it and extremely love your profession regardless of the challenges that come with it. This will be the driving force that will motivate you at that moment you get downcast in the future.
The passion is why you will see the good in every child already deemed as a useless and inherent failure.
However, this comes with the price of innumerable sacrifices that will yield numerous fruits in the long run. Passion is the fuel that will sustain the vehicle of progress that will convey you to your destination.
2. You Must Be Patient
Patience is an underestimated skill set in today’s world, especially in a clime like ours where everyone wants instant results. For anyone who wants to excel in this field, you must be very patient.
This ability is what will help you bring out the very best in every child you will teach. Also, patience will help you keep track of every progress special needs children in your care makes, irrespective of how irrelevant they look to those in the outside world.
Therefore, patience is a virtue that you must imbibe as a special education teacher.
3. You Must Be Free-Spirited
As a special education teacher, another unfriendly act you need to get rid of is rigidity and scornful attitude.
As an expert who intends to train individuals with special needs, there is a need for you to be free-spirited because you have the intent of transmitting your free-spirited ability to your students.
Remember, one of the reasons special education is this important is to teach this category of individuals self-care and independence to the fullest capacity.
Also, you must be ready to see them fail as much as they will, and then you help them brace up for every future challenge. With time, this will help them attain the same status as the regular individuals out there.
4. You Must Be Optimistic
Optimism is very important in the field of special education as this may simply imply that you are a person in whom a smidgen of hope is always left, irrespective of what happens.
You must never see every special needs child as unworthy of getting all the needed love and care, as far as living a good life is concerned.
Also, you must see the bright side in these individuals’ lives as this will help you have a glimpse of the kind of future they aspire to have.
5. You Must Be Empathic
If you are not empathic enough, you will never be able to make any meaningful impact as a special educator. For this reason, you must be very compassionate about every child’s needs.
This attribute of being empathic is the key ingredient that will help you see every child as important as yourself and every other able-bodied personality out there.
This is what will help you teach them about self-love, such that they can face any form of bully coming from the outside world. This skill set will also help them learn the act of selflessness in totality, such that they will be able to give their very best in every moment lived.
6. You Must Be At Alert Always
Due to the disabilities that are associated with the conditions these special needs individuals are faced with, you must be alert at all times, because of an increased risk of accidents that could cause life-altering trauma for your students.
For this reason, each of your five senses will have to be at work as you will have to monitor them at all times.
Some of your students may have health complications associated with some disabilities. Hence alertness is core in making sure things do not get complicated to the extent of being irredeemable.
After you have learned about the qualities a special education must possess, see in the following section, the requirements needed and how to become a special education teacher.
How to Become a Special Education Teacher
Special education can be studied at colleges of education and universities. At the College of education, it is a three-year program, while at the University, it is a four-year program. The requirements and how to become a special education teacher are listed below:
The Requirements and Steps to Take to Become a Special Education Teacher
There are different ways to become a special educator, having met the above characteristic features of a special educator, you can become a special education teacher by passing through the following processes.
Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Relevant Fields
The most suitable way to become a special education teacher is by earning at least a bachelor’s degree in
- Special education
- General Education
And some other subject-based and related courses.
In some African countries like Nigeria for instance, before you can be admitted into higher institutions to study special education, students may be tested on the use of English and three other relevant subjects, depending on the institution of your choice.
Also, most universities accept passes in at least two advanced level subjects (social science or art subjects) as well as NCE holders if you wish to get into 200L via direct entry.
Earning a Master’s Degree in Special Education by Continuing Education
It is a known fact that the master’s degree program comes with advanced teachings and practices.
Many teachers have come to understand the struggle for relevance and space in the education sector, this is why many choose to go as far as earning a master’s degree in education by continuing education in other to boost their chances of landing their desired jobs.
As a special education teacher with only a bachelor’s degree, you might find yourself struggling for relevancy in a very competitive habitat, but with a master’s degree, the competition becomes reduced and the employer will be left with deciding based on other features such as the qualities expected of a good special education teacher listed above.
Obtain the Special Education Licensure
Special educators are awarded a license by most states before they can be allowed to work in the states.
It is important that you seek information about the licensing procedures and obtain a certificate from the relevant body in the state if you are hoping to work in either public or private schools.
Importance of Special Education Teachers
- They serve as advocates for students with disabilities and special needs
- Special education teachers help disabled students to realize hidden potentials and gain more confidence in themselves
- Their primary objective is to make the public understands that there is no limitation to what disabled students can achieve provided they are given equal care and opportunities as the able ones.
- Helps to impact knowledge into students with special needs just as every other teacher out there, but with different strategic methods of teaching.
Conclusion on How to Become a Special Education Teacher
With these few qualities we have x-rayed in this write-up, you need no soothsayer to mention that special education is no mere field. Rather, it is a place where heroes are made.
If you are an individual who possesses these characteristics, then it is required of you to have learned also in this article how to become a special education teacher.
Good Luck with your special education teaching adventure!