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What to Do When You Aren’t Given a Curriculum

Ah, teaching. It’s a wonderful opportunity to touch lives and make a difference. Being provided with all of the materials and curriculum you need to teach your students is so amazing.

Wait, what?!

What to Do When You Have No Curriculum

While teaching is a great profession, many teachers find themselves dropped into schools where there are no resources. So, what do you do when you aren’t given a curriculum?

You have to get creative!


No Curriculum? You’re Not Alone!

Sadly, if you are like most Special Ed teachers in the United States, your job entails not only teaching your students, but piecing together a curriculum for them from multiple places. There are few schools where a Special Ed curriculum is provided and, those that are provided, are usually not teachers’ favorites. 

That means that on top of an already stressful caseload, you also have to spend hours searching for materials that will work for your students. In most cases, those materials are purchased out of pocket which creates additional stress.

We asked veteran Special Ed teachers to share their best tips and tricks for piecing together a curriculum. If you have not been provided with a curriculum, this is where you need to start!

Ways to Create a Special Ed Curriculum

Teachers Pay Teachers

From adapted books to social-emotional resources, Teachers Pay Teachers is a great place to begin your specialized curriculum search. There are thousands of resources to address the needs of the Special Ed classroom no matter what age group you are teaching.

Be sure to read the product reviews for the resources you are interested in, as they can give you insight into how other teachers have implemented the materials in their own classroom. Their ideas may spark new ideas for you!

Modify the General Ed Curriculum

Many districts expect Special Ed teachers to simply modify the general education curriculum. This may mean creating additional resources like quizzes or outlines that might not typically be used.

For some curriculum, it may mean a full overhaul of the resources provided, so be aware that “modifying” may turn out to be more like creating from scratch.

Collaborate with Other Teachers

If possible, avoid recreating the wheel and collaborate with other Special Ed teachers in your building or district. Sharing resources that you have adapted or created while others share theirs can cut down on everyone’s workload and stress level. 

Do be certain that any purchased materials you are sharing are not licensed for single-classroom use only. If they are, purchase additional licenses for your colleagues or direct them to the link where they can purchase their own.

Make Use of Online Resources

In addition to TeachersPayTeachers, there are many teacher material sites online. Some teacher favorites include:


While your district may not provide you with a curriculum, there are many resources available online and within your own school building that can help you find materials for your students.

Do not be afraid to reach out and ask for help from other teachers you know both in-person and online. Don’t forget, the wonderful teachers in our Facebook group are always there to support and assist you however they can!


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I'm a special education teacher, presenter, curriculum writer, and educational blogger behind Mrs. D's Corner.
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