- Capella University - MS Ed - Special Education Teaching
While children in general need plenty of love and attention from their parents and teachers, children with special needs are most benefited by people whose personality traits enhance the learning process. Both passion and concern for children with special needs are necessary to be a good special education teacher. In addition, a few commendable personality traits of special education teachers have been listed below. If you are considering teaching special needs kids prepare yourself for a challenging, life-changing yet rewarding career.
1. Love and Acceptance
In order to relate to any child, you must be able to love and accept them as they are. This is especially important for special needs children. Regardless of their capabilities or behavior each child is unique and worthy of your notice. Some special needs kids may demand excessive attention or completely disregard common etiquette, but it is important to respect and treat them as unique individuals with unique needs. By attempting to understand and encourage your students learning will be enhanced on all levels.
2. Organizational skills and Intuition
As is the case in any kind of education, students need structure to succeed. But with special needs students, structure is all the more important. The special education teacher must provide the class with a physical and academic structure favorable to learning. Whether the child is dyslexic, physically or mentally handicapped or has some auditory learning disabilities or other injuries, students may be incapable of expressing their feelings or communicating their needs. The special education teacher will need to be intuitive and involved so that any students’ needs can be foreseen and addressed even when students lack the ability to tell you about them themselves.
3. Creativity and Enthusiasm
The ability to think out of the box and combine both creativity and enthusiasm are signs of the makings of a fine special education teacher. The ability to put difficult concepts in plain and interesting words or display a complexity in simple form is often the most effective trait a special education teacher can possess. The teacher’s creativity and enthusiasm will inspire the students to be creative and enthusiastic as well. By bringing creativity into the classroom the classroom environment will change from monotonous to inspiring.
4. Confidence and Calm
Many special needs students suffer intellectual disabilities and emotional disturbances and when special education teachers are not calm, kind, confident and helpful, even in difficult situations, students can lose their tempers and become violent. It is important that the teacher keeps his/her wits and deals calmly with the situation. Teachers must be self-assured and take the lead at all times. The confidence displayed by the teacher will eventually calm the antagonized student and peace will be restored in the classroom.
5. Humorous and Easygoing
Special education teachers with a fine sense of humor and easygoing manner will more easily be able to cope with the stress of teaching special needs kids. Regardless of their disabilities, students can sense when teachers enjoy spending time with them and sharing laughter and fun. This is especially so as teaching special education can sometimes be frustrating especially for teachers who are overly sensitive to thoughtless negative comments. Developing ones sense of humor will protect you from becoming overly hurt due to personal quips.
6. Dedication and Optimism
Sometimes even the simplest task can become long and difficult for a student to master. It is at times like this that teachers must offer hope and encouragement by celebrating any and all victories no matter how big or small the accomplishment. It is important to remember how frustrating it would be for you to have to try so hard to master subjects, techniques or actions. This will enable the teacher to see things from the student’s point of view and remain optimistic and dedicated to the cause. The teacher’s dedication to the students serves as a huge confidence builder for them. A teacher’s dedication bridge the gap in meeting the needs of these unique students.
While there is no definite must have list of personality traits for special education teachers, the above traits point in the right direction. To build a rapport with ones students, trust is essential. And trust can only be cultivated by developing the personality traits discussed above. Someone once said every child is gifted; they only open their packages at different times. This is the perspective in which teachers must look at each exceptional student.