Becoming a special education teacher is a challenging yet rewarding career choice. A special education teacher works with children and youth that have special needs and in some cases are disabled. This profession is important for our communities and will help our young generation develop skills that they can benefit from in the long run.

Special education teachers are trained professionals that can strive beyond limitations. They are patient, understanding and supportive. These teachers can help disabled children learn life skills and basic literacy. They offer hope to young disabled children as they promote the child’s growth in conjunction with special needs.

In this profession, the teacher modifies the general education curriculum to make sure each child’s special needs are met. It is not easy to communicate with special needs children as they require more attention.

Are you thinking of becoming a special education teacher? If you are, you will be contributing significantly to the economy and the future of children with special needs. If you are really passionate of working with special needs children, these following steps will help you towards becoming a special education teacher:

Step 1: Minimum of a bachelor degree

To qualify for a special education teacher position, you will require a minimum bachelor’s degree. There are some provinces that might require a master’s degree, but a bachelor’s is the minimum. There is a bachelor degree in special education that you can consider. If you consider the latter, you will have an advantage in both regular classroom and leadership positions in the school system.

Step 2: Special Education Teacher Certification

To teach at public schools, you have to obtain a teaching certification from the province you are teaching in. You may have to pass a professional certification exam. It is important to find out from the Board of Education the certification you require for pursuing a career in special education. In Ontario, you must be certified by the Ontario College of Teachers to teach in public schools. There are a number of requirements you have to meet in order to be certified.

Step 3: Characteristics and qualities

Becoming a special education teacher requires certain skills and traits. You need to be patient, calm, organized, accepting and inspiring. As a special education teacher, you are passionate about helping disabled children. You are dedicated, patient and tactful. You relate with children easily and are flexible. You have a knack for motivating children and are considerate for children with special needs. You help and conduct learning programs for children with learning difficulties.

Step 4: Teaching Experience

Special education is a necessary component of education. Schools and education institutions have to serve all types of children. Teaching is simple with the right education and qualifications. However, teaching special needs children can be very challenging. Experience matters and you may need to have teaching experience in order to concentrate in the area of special education.

Step 5: Volunteering

If you are lacking in the number of years required to be qualified as a special education teacher, you can volunteer to gain the necessary experience. There are many volunteering opportunities available. This will give you an opportunity to work with all types of children including deaf, blind and autistic. Special needs volunteer will have different roles to perform giving you an opportunity to excel in all fields of special education. Volunteer work also demonstrates your interest in teaching.

Step 6: Obtain a membership

It is important to become a member of the Ontario College of Teachers to teach in Ontario public elementary and secondary schools. With this membership, you can take advantage of the resources and services available to you to allow you to excel in your teaching profession. Through the membership, you are always kept up-to-date on all matters and new requirements for maintaining a special teacher education position.

Step 7: Special education program

There are a few reputable universities offering courses in special education programs. These universities offer programs that the Education Boards always look for when hiring a candidate. These courses are specifically designed to introduce the aspiring teachers to various anomalies of special education.

There is a specialist course for teachers interested in a more concentrated area of specialized teaching. Special education certificate programs are designed for teachers to overcome challenges they generally face within their classroom. It will train teachers to develop Individual Education Plans for all types of children with special needs.

Additionally, these courses inform teachers of education policies, regulations and current requirements. You are also exposed to the Accessibility Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

Step 8: Understanding the Education Act

To be approved as a qualified special education teacher, you have to hold qualifications that are in accordance with the regulations under the Education Act. You will be responsible for developing an Individual Education Plan for students with special education needs as well as modify as necessary. You are responsible for following all board policies and procedures regarding special education. It is important that you familiarize yourself with the Education Act.

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