Special Ed teachers have a lot of different responsibilities throughout the school day. Most times parents only see a small fraction of what we do and don’t quite understand the scope of our work.
So, we asked the amazing veteran Special Ed teachers in our group, Mrs. D’s VIPs, what they want parents to know about life as a teacher. Their answers were heartfelt and telling of the discrepancies between what parents think they know about being a Special Ed teacher and what it’s actually like.
Read below to see their answers and visit the group to see all of the responses! Not a member yet? Join us!
What Parents Should Know About Being a Special Ed Teacher
1 – Special Ed teachers are not magicians.
As much as we wish we could wave a magic wand and help everyone get to grade level in a week, that’s simply not how it happens. We want the best for your child and will do our best to help him, but we can not magically make things happen.
2 – We are doing our best with the resources and information we have available.
Sometimes we are not given all of the information or resources we need to support your child in the way that you feel that he should be supported. But we are always doing our best with the information and resources that we have available to us at any given time.
3 – Negative behavior is not going to disappear overnight.
While we would love for negative behaviors to stop immediately, that’s not how behavior management and modification happen. It takes a lot of time, practice, and reinforcement to help students understand the behaviors that we want them to display in the classroom.
4 – When you go over the work at home to reinforce the skills it helps a lot!
We only see your child for a finite amount of time each day, but the skills we’re teaching need to be practiced outside of the classroom. When you help your child practice at home, it makes a big difference! We can always tell who has been practicing and we appreciate you stepping in and helping!
5 – Schools often limit what we can do, but we do whatever we can to help your child succeed.
Many times our hands are tied with what we can do, but that doesn’t mean we don’t try. Even if we’re not given the resources, many of us spend our own money to supplement the materials that we’re given to help your child.
6 – Your child is not the only student in my classroom.
It’s easy to be focused solely on your child when you’re a parent, but teachers don’t have that luxury in the classroom. Your child may be your only one, but we have many students who also deserve attention and instruction. We do our best to split our time amongst all of our students so that we can serve them best, but that means that your child will not have my full attention for the entire school day.
7 – We need you as a partner.
No one knows your child better than you do, so we need you to be our partner. Tell us what’s going on at home, how your child is doing, how the morning was, etc. When we work together as a team, we can help your child even more! We are on your side and want to help your child as much as we possibly can.
8 – We are human.
Please show us some grace when we make mistakes. We are only human and we worry all the time that you will sue the school because of mistakes that we make. Don’t worry, we do everything we can to rectify them as soon as we realize we missed a session or something got in the way of a 1-1 lesson. Our mistakes are not malicious – they’re simply because we are overworked and forgot something.
Teaching is often a thankless job, but when parents and Special Ed teachers work together, amazing things can happen. Be kind, show grace, and know that we are all in this together!