What Do Special Ed Teachers Actually Do

As special education teachers, we spend a lot of our days running around from meeting to the classroom and back again. Each day is a whirlwind. But what would you say if someone asked you, “What do special ed teachers actually do all day?”

What do special ed teachers really do

While we may be aware of what the job entails, most people – including general ed teachers – are not. So, let’s break it down and explain what exactly it is that we, as special educators, do every day.

What Special Ed Teachers Do All Day

Not all special ed teachers have the same responsibilities, but there are many tasks that overlap. For many special educators, here’s what happens throughout the school day.

Special Ed Teachers Co-Teach

Co-teaching with other special ed and general ed teachers can take up a large portion of the day.

Plan, Plan, and Plan Some More

From planning classes and lessons with other special educators to planning with general ed teachers to planning for meetings, there are a lot of hours spent planning – and then planning to plan!

Meetings, Meetings, and More Meetings

There are meetings to plan for meetings, meetings about meetings, and then meetings themselves.

All Things IEP

From planning for IEP meetings to implementing IEP goals to writing progress notes for IEPs, anything related to IEPs is on a special ed teacher’s daily to-do list.

Counsel Students

Special ed students often develop a bond with their special ed teachers and that means more counseling happens than in the general ed classroom.

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Progress Monitoring

Are students making progress on their IEP goals? Only a special ed teacher can tell you for sure because part of her job is to do progress monitoring checks on each student for each IEP goal. That’s a lot of goals and a lot of time spent monitoring!


Did someone say paperwork? If so, it was probably a special ed teacher because they have more paperwork than any other teacher out there.

Win Step Counting Contests

Do special ed teachers ever sit down? It’s rare! They’re constantly running from one meeting or task to another and sit-down time is often a luxury. It’s not uncommon for them to rack up over 10,000 steps during the school day!

Communicate with Parents

Parents of students with special needs and IEPs often need more communication sent home. Special educators often spend part of their day sending home notes, leaving voicemails, and returning emails and calls to keep families apprised of how their students are doing.

Special Ed Teachers Teach Students

Don’t forget that special ed teachers are also responsible for teaching students! Many general ed teachers forget that they need to create, plan, and implement lessons for their students as well.

What do you do as a special education teacher that we missed on the list? Leave a comment below and let us know!




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