What Does A Secondary School Special Education Teacher Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

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Secondary School Special Ed Teachers

Secondary School Special Ed Teachers teach secondary school subjects to educationally and physically handicapped students. Includes teachers who specialize and work with audibly and visually handicapped students and those who teach basic academic and life processes skills to the mentally impaired.

Salary
$66490
Becoming One
Hard
Education
Bachelor's degree
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth

Personality
Interest Match





Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

What they do

Secondary School Special Ed Teachers teach secondary school subjects to educationally and physically handicapped students. Includes teachers who specialize and work with audibly and visually handicapped students and those who teach basic academic and life processes skills to the mentally impaired.

  • Develop and implement strategies to meet the needs of students with a variety of handicapping conditions.
  • Observe and evaluate students’ performance, behavior, social development, and physical health.
  • Establish and enforce rules for behavior and policies and procedures to maintain order among students.
  • Teach socially acceptable behavior, employing techniques such as behavior modification and positive reinforcement.

Typical day

On a daily basis, Secondary School Special Ed Teachers prepare materials and classrooms for class activities. They use computers, audio-visual aids, and other equipment and materials to supplement presentations.

A typical day for a Secondary School Special Education Teacher will also include:

  • Maintain accurate and complete student records, and prepare reports on children and activities, as required by laws, district policies, and administrative regulations.
  • Establish clear objectives for all lessons, units, and projects and communicate those objectives to students.
  • Plan and conduct activities for a balanced program of instruction, demonstration, and work time that provides students with opportunities to observe, question, and investigate.
  • Prepare students for later grades by encouraging them to explore learning opportunities and to persevere with challenging tasks.
  • Prepare for assigned classes and show written evidence of preparation upon request of immediate supervisors.

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Secondary School Special Ed Teachers also attend staff meetings and serve on committees, as required. They may also meet with parents and guardians to discuss their children’s progress and to determine priorities for their children and their resource needs.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Secondary School Special Ed Teachers attend professional meetings, educational conferences, and teacher training workshops to maintain and improve professional competence. They might also confer with parents or guardians, other teachers, counselors, and administrators to resolve students’ behavioral and academic problems.

In addition, they confer with other staff members to plan and schedule lessons promoting learning, following approved curricula.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them confer with parents, administrators, testing specialists, social workers, and professionals to develop individual educational plans designed to promote students’ educational, physical, and social development.

To some Secondary School Special Ed Teachers, it is also their responsibility to provide additional instruction in vocational areas.

Freedom to make decisions

How much decision making freedom does this job offer?

No freedom
0%

Very little freedom
0%

Limited freedom
3%

Some freedom
61%

A lot of freedom
37%

Structured vs unstructured work

To what extent is this job structured for you versus allowing you to determine your own tasks, priorities, and goals?

No freedom
0%

Very little freedom
0%

Limited freedom
17%

Some freedom
48%

A lot of freedom
36%


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What is the job like

Job satisfaction

High

Is this job meaningful

Very High

73% said they were satisfied with their job and 73% said they found their job meaningful.


Phyllis G. Williams

I’m described as a (LIMM) Learning Impaired Mild to Moderate teacher which is simply a special education teacher. However, the Department of Defense loves their acronyms.

As a sped teacher, my key responsibility is generating and following an Individual Education Plan (IEP) for students with unique needs on my caseload and making sure that the general education teachers are also doing the same. An IEP is a legal agreement.

Some students with IEPs don’t need intensive help. They only need mild assistance. I teach both in my classroom and the general education classroom. It’s best to make co-teaching a team effort. Depending on the teacher, I walk around and assist all students at their desks. This may be redirecting or rephrasing or giving mini-lessons. It could also include pulling some students to a center for accommodations or remediation.

I also do more intense intervention in my room which is referred to as the resource room. As implied, it’s a resource and students don’t stay in the room all day. My goal is to expose them to the grade-level curriculum and also address their individual foundational needs. My assistants and I may work in three small groups. I use research-based programs and research-based methods to bridge the academic gaps. If students in the general education classroom are working on double-digit multiplication, one center may focus on multiplication fluency. Another center may focus on word problems at their current ability level, and I will lead the center from the curriculum that reads Tier-3 Intervention which focuses on double digit multiplication with hands-on material and possibly a video to explain differently.

Many people especially those who attended school before No Child Left Behind have a different image of special education. They imagine a special education teacher at her desk eating while students color all day or watch movies. This is far from the truth. We aim to have all students perform in the average range with accommodations and/or modifications.

In addition to teaching, there is paperwork galore. As a special education teacher, I often have to do paperwork that includes data collection, IEPs, and reports. It takes me about one and a half hours to write an IEP. Please keep in mind that we have a 45 minute planning. It takes me longer to complete because we have to collaborate with others, synthesize and analyze data, and complete the many sessions of the IEP.

Whenever I have a substitute, they often comment on the pinging about in the building. They don’t have to wear as many hats as I do since I plan their lessons. As a special education teacher, I feel mostly like a teacher, data processor, and a paralegal. Special education teacher “The Swiss Army Knife of Education” that sums it up. Since I like being resourceful and prepared, it’s the right fit for me.

My typical day

I start with checking emails and then go to duty. As a special education teacher, you always wear many hats. This year, I helped in the cafeteria. Afterward, I’m helping in the general education classroom and teaching in my classroom with my co-teachers. The student-to-teacher ratio is not overwhelming.

I’m a very animated person so I get to be silly in the classroom. Everyone else may think that I’m as exciting as a plain potato chip but my students and co-teachers know better. During my break, I work on paperwork of some sort. It may be a progress report, an IEP ( individual education plan), collection of data, or an educational performance report.

At the end of the day, I’ll end doing car duty.

Phyllis G. Williams
Progress Promoter


Pros

Suitable for people who like to help and teach others.

Suitable for people who value relationships between co-workers and customers and want to work in a friendly non-competitive environment.

This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.

Very good salary.

Cons

Not suitable for people who like practical and hands-on work.

It is hard to get into this career. A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.

Long working hours (More than 40 hours per week).

How much do they make

Average salary

$66490 per year

Average hourly wage

$* per hour

Entry-level Secondary School Special Ed Teachers with little to no experience can expect to make anywhere between $41,270 to $49,940 per year or $* to $* per hour.

Salary range Hourly Annual
Highest (Top 10%) $* $101,050
Senior (Top 25%) $* $80,210
Middle (Mid 50%) $* $62,320
Junior (Bottom 25%) $* $49,940
No experience (Bottom 10%) $* $41,270

What is the work day like

Working hours

Less than 40 hours
13%

40 hours
13%

More than 40 hours
74%

Working schedule

93%

7%

0%

Work with group or team

How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?

Not important at all
0%

Fairly important
0%

Important
6%

Very important
5%

Extremely important
90%

Deal with external customers

How important is it to work with customers in this job?

Not important at all
14%

Fairly important
6%

Important
17%

Very important
23%

Extremely important
40%

Manage or lead others

How important is it to coordinate or lead others in completing work activities in this job?

Not important at all
2%

Fairly important
6%

Important
11%

Very important
32%

Extremely important
49%

Email

How often do you use email in this job?

Once a week
2%

Every day
98%

Telephone

How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?

Once a week
54%

Every day
30%

Group discussions

How often do you have group discussions in this job?

Once a week
14%

Every day
86%

Public speaking

How often does this job require you to do public speaking?

Never
6%

Once a year
31%

Once a month
7%

Once a week
10%

Every day
46%

Frequency of conflict situations

How often are there conflict situations in this job?

Never
0%

Once a year
8%

Once a month
24%

Once a week
31%

Every day
36%

Dealing with angry people

How often do you have to deal with angry, unpleasant, or discourteous individuals in this job?

Never
0%

Once a year
24%

Once a month
16%

Once a week
36%

Every day
24%

Dealing with physically aggressive people

How often do you have to deal with physically aggressive people in this job?

Never
26%

Once a year
31%

Once a month
23%

Once a week
14%

Every day
6%

Level of competition

How much competitive pressure is in this job?

Not competitive at all
7%

Slightly competitive
12%

Moderately competitive
60%

Highly competitive
20%

Extremely competitive
1%

Repetition in this job

How important is repeating the same type of task over and over in this job?

Not important at all
41%

Fairly important
15%

Important
27%

Very Important
8%

Extremely Important
10%

Impact of decisions on co-workers or company results

What results do your decisions usually have on other people or the reputation or financial resources of your employer?

No impact
6%

Minor impact
16%

Moderate impact
20%

Important impact
38%

Very important impact
20%

Frequency of decision making

How frequently do you have to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the reputation of the company?

Never
9%

Once a year
12%

Once a month
17%

Once a week
11%

Every day
51%

Responsibility for others’ health and safety

How much responsibility is there for the health and safety of others in this job?

No responsibility
20%

Limited responsibility
16%

Moderate responsibility
21%

High responsibility
13%

Very high responsibility
31%

Responsibility for outcomes and results

How much responsibility is there for the work outcomes and results of other workers?

No responsibility
9%

Limited responsibility
22%

Moderate responsibility
22%

High responsibility
23%

Very high responsibility
23%

What is the work environment like

Office-style environment

Indoors in an environmentally controlled condition

Never
8%

Once a year or more
0%

Once a month or more
4%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
88%

Warehouse-style environment

Indoors in a non-controlled environmental condition such as a warehouse

Never
75%

Once a year or more
10%

Once a month or more
9%

Once a week or more
3%

Every day
4%

Outdoors

Outdoors exposed to all weather conditions

Never
59%

Once a year or more
26%

Once a month or more
15%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

Outdoors – Under Cover

Outdoors but under cover (e.g. structure with roof but no walls)

Never
74%

Once a year or more
16%

Once a month or more
10%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

How to become one

Difficulty to become one

Hard
You will need a considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience. Careers in this difficulty category usually require a Bachelor’s degree and several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training. Similar careers include Database Administrators, Chemists, Art Directors, and Accountants.

Required level of education

What level of education do you need to perform the job?

Less than a High School Diploma
0%

High School Diploma or equivalent
0%

Post-Secondary Certificate
0%

Some College Courses
0%

Associate’s Degree or similar
1%

Bachelor’s Degree
65%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
18%

Master’s Degree
16%

Post-Master’s Certificate
0%

First Professional Degree
0%

Doctoral Degree
0%

Post-Doctoral Training
0%

Relevant work experience

How much related work experience do you need to get hired for the job?

None
13%

1 month
1%

1 to 3 months
10%

3 to 6 months
10%

6 months to 1 year
34%

1 to 2 years
11%

2 to 4 years
10%

4 to 6 years
5%

6 to 8 years
0%

8 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
5%

On The Job Training

How much on the job training do you need to perform the job?

None or short demonstration
16%

1 month
4%

1 to 3 months
21%

3 to 6 months
11%

6 months to 1 year
16%

1 to 2 years
23%

2 to 4 years
9%

4 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
0%

Should you become one

Best personality for this career
The Helper

People with this personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.

24%

62%

57%

100%

52%

48%

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tend to like working with, communicating with, and teaching people. They like helping or providing service to others.

They also like working with ideas and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.

FAQ


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