Secondary School Special Education Teachers

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Also known as:
Career and Transition Teacher, High School Special Education Teacher, Interrelated Special Education Teacher, Learning Disabilities Special Education Teacher (LD Special Education Teacher), Learning Support Teacher, Resource Teacher, Special Day Class Teacher (SDC Teacher), Special Education Resource Teacher, Special Education Teacher, Teacher

ABOUT SECONDARY SCHOOL SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER CAREERS
Video transcript

With patience, resourcefulness and strong communication skills, special education teachers create a positive learning environment for students with special needs. Special education teachers work with students who have learning, mental, emotional, and physical disabilities. They teach reading, writing, and math, and for students with severe disabilities they also teach communication and basic life skills. A special education teacher begins by developing an Individualized Education Program for each student, then implementing it and tracking student progress. Communicating with parents, counselors, other teachers, and administrators helps ensure they meet students' needs. Tasks vary based on the student's needs; teachers might develop flashcards for a student with hearing loss, facilitate a small group to teach collaboration for a project, or create a quiet corner for students with autism. Many use assistive technology to communicate with students. Most special education teachers work in public schools, with students ranging from preschool through high school. They generally work during school hours, following the traditional 10-month school year schedule. The work can be highly rewarding, but also emotionally demanding and physically draining. Special education teachers need a bachelor's degree in special education or in an education-related field; or a content area, such as math or science with a minor in special education. A license is required to teach in public schools. States may offer a general license in special education, or disability-specific credentials, such as autism or behavior disorders.

SNAPSHOT
Teach academic, social, and life skills to secondary school students with learning, emotional, or physical disabilities. Includes teachers who specialize and work with students who are blind or have visual impairments; students who are deaf or have hearing impairments; and students with intellectual disabilities.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
LOW
Dealing and handling conflict
HIGH
Competition for this position
MED
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Meet with parents and guardians to provide guidance in using community resources and to teach skills for dealing with students' impairments.

Select, store, order, issue, and inventory classroom equipment, materials, and supplies.

Sponsor extracurricular activities, such as clubs, student organizations, and academic contests.

Administer standardized ability and achievement tests and interpret results to determine students' strengths and areas of need.

Plan and supervise class projects, field trips, visits by guest speakers, or other experiential activities, and guide students in learning from those activities.

Meet with parents and guardians to discuss their children's progress and to determine priorities for their children and their resource needs.

Coordinate placement of students with special needs into mainstream classes.

Attend professional meetings, educational conferences, and teacher training workshops to maintain and improve professional competence.

Provide additional instruction in vocational areas.

Confer with parents, administrators, testing specialists, social workers, and professionals to develop individual educational plans designed to promote students' educational, physical, and social development.

Instruct students in daily living skills required for independent maintenance and self-sufficiency, such as hygiene, safety, and food preparation.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Coaching and Developing Others Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
Training and Teaching Others Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Psychology Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Clerical Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
TOP SKILLS
Learning Strategies Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
Service Orientation Actively looking for ways to help people.
Instructing Teaching others how to do something.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.