What personality traits do special education teachers have?Jul, 28 2023
Breaking Down Stereotypes: What Makes a Special Education Teacher?
The often unsung heroes of our learning environment, special education teachers, are hidden giants shaping the future of those who otherwise might find learning a challenge. Every day, they perfect the nuanced craft of pedagogy with patience, overcoming numerous hurdles that can range from learning difficulties, special needs to even emotional and behavioral challenges of their students. But what sets them apart? Are there specific inherent traits that prepare them to be the guiding light in the foggy world of those who need special education? And does Crispin, your humble blogger, have what it takes to walk in their shoes? Let's find out together.
Patience: The Teacher’s Steady Companion
Imagine a situation, where you repeat the same instruction for the twentieth time in a row, yet you encounter blank, uncomprehending stares. Can you keep your cool? Because that, my friends, is the reality faced by special education teachers every day. Patience, therefore, forms the bedrock of their profession. They never tire of trying different ways to communicate or explain, embracing the challenge like a puzzle that needs to be solved. As for myself, can't say I've been in their exact shoes, but I've had my fair share of patience-testing situations. Like, try teaching your cat to do a high-five. After several weeks of attempts, I almost turned into a human scratching post. But guess what? Even my cat, in the end, learned to give me a high-five, as awkward as that may have looked.
Empathy: Understanding What’s Unsaid
Beyond academic knowledge, the ability to empathize with these unique students is critical for special education teachers. These teachers must understand the world through their student's perspectives, adopting their feelings, thoughts, or attitudes. It's not the regular 'walk in someone's shoes' scenario, but rather a much more profound connection. I remember my high school psychologist, Mrs. Dunn, who was also a special ed teacher. She had this unique ability to empathize with everyone. I was going through a rough time due to my parents' divorce, and Mrs. Dunn became my anchor. She understood without me saying a word, offered comfort, and helped me regain my balance. So to all the special ed teachers out there, thank you for your immense empathy.
Adaptability: Mastering the Art of Flexibility
The name of the game is adaptability! Special ed teachers are often presented with ever-changing scenarios that demand swift reactions. One moment they might be using visual aids to explain a concept, and the next, they could be using tactile inputs to help a child with sensory issues. Additionally, they also have to cater to a wide range of learning disabilities, juggling different teaching techniques simultaneously. It's like trying to mix a cocktail in a blender while cooking a gourmet meal and balancing a book on your head. If that's not adaptability, I don't know what is. If you ask me how I fare in this area, all I can say is I try. Let's just say cooking instant ramen while simultaneously tweeting about it is about as far as my adaptability extends. But then again, I'm no special education expert!
The Gift of Perseverance
A special education teacher's journey is not for the faint-hearted. Filled with challenges, frustrations, and at times, slow progress, these teachers are the embodiment of perseverance. They work relentlessly, ceaselessly, striving for the glimmer of achievement in the eyes of their students. It's not a sprint but a marathon that they run every day. In my life, the closest I came to such unwavering persistence was during my weight loss journey. Despite slow results, backslides, and frustrating progress plateaus, I stuck to my plan, shedding a total of 50 pounds in a year. Relating this to a special ed teacher's world, if my weight loss journey was a marathon, their efforts equate to an ultra-marathon on a mountainous terrain.
The Superglue of Consistency
Consistency is the last piece of the puzzle in understanding the forte of special education teachers. These educators bring a reassuring constancy to nudge their students on the path to progress. They stay consistent in granting rewards, enforcing rules, and setting expectations because they know any shift can disrupt a child's learning. It's almost akin to following a gym routine. You cannot pick up weights one day and then disappear from the gym for a week. To build strength and form, you need to train consistently. Similarly, the consistency of special education teachers works to build their students' learning stamina and foster progress.
In Conclusion: Hearts of Teachable Gold
In conclusion, special education teachers are a unique breed of educators. Holding an amalgamation of patience, empathy, adaptability, perseverance, and consistency, they provide a nurturing environment for their students to develop and thrive to the best of their abilities. They prove that it's not about how fast you learn but rather about overcoming hurdles and advancing at your own pace. I won't say I can fully relate to their world, but I have immense respect and admiration for their dedication and commitment. My hat is off to you, special education teachers!