Being a teacher can be a hard job sometimes, especially if you’re a special education teacher. You’ll be dealing with kids for the entire day but you have to do it for the sake of that paycheck. If you think teaching special kids is hard, we’re going to provide you some 8 easy tips on how to get prepared as a special education teacher. Let’s dive in!
Never forget to bring your lesson plan, and also a back-up plan
- To keep your day organized, always bring a lesson plan with you. There may be times when a kid will show its tantrums and will ruin your whole plan. To avoid such situation, always keep a stash of educations things that the kids can do without you. This is advisable for example a kid is acting up and you’ll be having a hard time to teach the lesson you planned.
- In teaching, always think of different styles to tackle a topic. There may be times where what works for one kid may not work for the other. So teaching different learning styles is advisable. You can use a game and a work page or create some visual aids.
Create a Place for Kids to Calm Down
- Special kids can be over reactive sometimes. Small problems may look like big problems to them. These kids are used to failure and often have low-confidence. This means, when something gets hard, they get easily frustrated and might burst into rage quickly. Always have a “calm corner” or whatever you want to call it for kids to play on. Fill it with toys like teddy bears, dolls, blocks or even put a poster on the wall for them to stare at while they’re calming themselves.
Don’t let Yourself Blow up. Keep Your Cool
- Being a special education teacher can be frustrating sometimes. Endless meetings, kids who don’t understand a concept no matter how you taught it in different ways, kids randomly screaming in the room for 30 minutes, the list goes on and on. To keep things cool, always crack a smile. Even though you’re steaming inside, just fake it until you make it. If you lose control, the kids do too. These kids feed from your energy so always show a happy energy towards them. If you’re fed up with that randomly screaming kid, just keep smiling and take deep breaths as you go on with your class. Always keep a lookout on a kid that’s behaving well in your class to keep your cool.
Keep a Routine
- Special education students always have a lookout on what’s happening. They feel lost enough in the curriculum, they want to feel control of what’s happening and know what was going on throughout the day. Always keep a schedule posted maybe inside your classroom that the kids can check to know what will happen next. Some of these kinds can’t read properly, so it’s advisable to design your schedule with fun pictures and stuff to keep them entertained. If one of your kids are obsessed with time and gets upset because you’re a minute late, post the topics in the schedule but leave off the time. Always tell the kids first hand for unexpected routine changes.
Bring Fidget Toys to keep them entertained
- Having fidget toys for kids to play on is a great idea. Kids love toys, but it can be a distraction for your class. But you can still have fidget toys for them to play on as long as you set rules and guidelines for when it’s appropriate and when it isn’t. For example, you can make a rule where they can play with the toys as long as it can’t interrupt the class or stall them from doing class work.
Laminate almost Everything
- Special kids sometimes have no control on whatever thing is in their hands. Normal kids can break things too, but special kids can break things 10 times faster. They fiddle and bend such things or sometimes put it in their mouth for no reason. You may be wondering where that test paper had gone, and minutes later you’ll find out it was inside their mouth. Laminating things such as your lesson plan, visual aids, schedules is important in order to protect them from these uncontrollable kids.
A Behavior Management System is a Must
- Having a behavior management system is a neat idea to keep track on how your students are doing. Once you have this system, whatever you do always stick to it. Don’t let them get away with things or say “next time this will happen if you do that”. These kids needs to know when something isn’t right. It’s one way to discipline them to keep them from doing things they shouldn’t.
Track their Behavior and see what causes it
- When teaching in special education, you’ll encounter different kind of kids with different behaviors. These kids do things for a reason, it may seem logical at first but there is indeed a reason. For example, you have a kid that’s constantly acting up during writing. You may think that this kid hated writing but actually they don’t. It turns out your writing class was before lunch and this kid is definitely hungry. Implementing a “bite and write” rule is advisable for this situation. Where you let the kid eat while he/she writes to keep its cool.