What does it take to be a Special Education Teacher?

In an interview with Caitlin Gosnell, a Special Education Teacher who teaches children on the autism spectrum and designs curriculum for students in 5th, 6th, and 7th grade, we learn about what it is like to be a Special Education Teacher. As Caitlin describes it, every day is different each day has a lot of variety. Although as a teacher, she explains, you set the routine for the day but you have to be prepared for so many things that can happen that require your attention. Three key skills to be successful as a Special Education Teacher are collaboration, reflection, and decision making. Although teaching in general is extremely collaborative, the collaborative nature is amplified in the special education world as one regularly meets with other teachers and professionals within the school including Speech Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, social thinking experts, social learning developers, Psychologists, and more. As a decision-making job, a Special Education teacher has to constantly make decisions. Some are big decisions, some you don’t think about as much but may reflect upon later and think of other ways you may have handled a situation. Although patience is important to be successful as a special education teacher, the ability to think outside the box, willing to look at a situation from multiple angles, problem solve, identify how to change the environment to ensure student success. You can watch the entire interview with Caitlin on Vault Career Q & A: Professional Advice and Insight

By Eran Peterson
Eran Peterson Associate Director, Student Engagement