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5 Traits of Effective Special Education Teachers

Teachers are the cornerstone of children’s development. A solid teacher offers inspiration and encouragement so that students achieve success inside and outside the classroom. When it comes to children with special needs, teachers must possess characteristics that help them deal with physical and cognitive disorders.

This career is in high demand, and employment growth is expected to expand by 6 percent over the next decade. Here are five effective traits of every special education teacher.

1. Patience

When a child has special needs, patience is a must. Since this type of student takes longer to perform simple tasks, understanding is key for development. No matter how long it takes, a special education teacher must give a child time to complete the task. Having a good sense of humor will help along the way. Although the classroom is a place for serious learning, dealing with a special needs child will require the ability to create a cheerful environment that empowers this type of student to gain success. Also, it is up to this teacher to take time and comprehend each student’s individual needs so that frustrating situations can be avoided.

2. Organization

Organization is key for all teachers, especially those who deal with disabled students. When a child is taught in an organized environment, he or she will have higher confidence levels. There are numerous ways a teacher can remain organized. For example, it is possible to use color-coded folders and notebooks. To cut confusion, it is wise to label various areas of the classroom. Every special ed teacher must keep records so that he or he can accurately report students’ accomplishments to administrators and parents as well.

Related: Top 20 Most Innovative Master’s in Special Education Degrees

3. Creativity

Since all children have different learning styles, a special education teacher must have the ability to adapt lessons that work for the strengths of each child. In certain circumstances, students may function well but have social interaction problems. Others may not be able to perform basic speaking or motor skills. While designing daily activities and plans for the classroom, a teacher must get creative in order to accommodate all of the children’s needs. Since disabilities may manifest differently each day, planning must remain flexible as well. There must be time to deal with outbursts or other roadblocks. New teaching techniques are developed on a regular basis, so a special education teacher must remain abreast of the most effective methods.

4. Acceptance

A special education teacher works alongside disabled students with various problems. No matter the issues, this professional must accept all children and interact with dignity and respect. Even children who are unable to communicate properly or function at low developmental levels sense negativity, especially when a teacher is acting in an uncomfortable manner. It is key to create a sense of value within the classroom so that all children have the maximum chances of gaining success.

5. Intuitive and Calming Nature

Certain children find it difficult to express their feelings, especially when they have communication problems. Oftentimes, special needs students withdraw or act negatively when they get confused or feel overwhelmed. A special education teacher must use his or her intuitive skills to uncover the underlying reasons behind the poor behavior.

Also, it is essential to provide a calm temperament when dealing with these type of students. Many children must balance behavioral and learning issues, so a classroom environment can be extremely stressful. An effective teacher will be able to calm his or her students so that anxiety is reduced. When children feel safe, they are more likely to be open to learning.

Special education teachers require a number of skills different from traditional educators. They play a vital role in the classroom and must work hard to maintain balance. The above traits are just a few characteristics that create an environment that works well for children with physical and emotional disabilities. When a teacher possess these virtues, special needs students are sure to thrive.