The special education industry is as diverse and varied as the mainstream student population, if not more so. Students work hard to adapt their methodologies in order to compensate for a variety of learning styles in the classroom. Special education teachers, however, not only have to adapt to different students personalities and learning styles, but also on their specific mental, physical, or emotional limitations. Teachers need to be aware of the difficulties that can arise with conditions such as Attention Deficiency Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, hearing or visual impairment, emotional disturbance, and many others. What’s more, special education teachers have to meet these challenges head on with an unfailingly positive attitude. It can be easy to lose motivation when you work with such a challenging population, but the teachers and other professionals who truly love what they do see the special education program as a happy challenge.
If you have viewed Annette Lambeth’s bio on any of her various social media accounts, then you know that she is exactly this type of educator. She currently works as the Executive Director of Student Support Services in the Adams 12 Five Star District in Colorado. As such, she has taken on the responsibility of providing children ages three years to twenty-one years of age with educational support relative to their specific needs. She has overseen a great improvement across all aspects of special education and continued to push her colleagues and superiors to make lasting and effective changes to the system.
If one were to think of special education as a regular classroom they would be incredibly wrong. The main difference between a special education classroom and a mainstream one is that teachers in special education need to be drastically more flexible. You cannot guarantee that any student in special education will be engaged or even active or responsive with whatever activity you are trying to facilitate. Add into this mix the fact that many students have medical conditions, and distractions and interruptions are as predictable as the weather. That is why patience and understanding is important for a special education teacher. If you find any aspect of a student’s disability frustrating, remember that this student has to deal with that every day for the rest of their life.
Annette Lambeth (on CrowdRise), researches the best learning styles of US teachers so that they can ultimately help their students better.