Special education teachers play a significant role in the IEP process, delivery of services, and advocacy for students and their families. These teachers are teachers of content, classroom leaders, managers of behavior, consultants, case managers, advocates, and collaborators. Within these various responsibilities, it is also important to maintain confidentiality while still providing appropriate consultative services, delivery of instruction, and collaboration with faculty, staff, administration, and parents.
Allocate up to 1.5 hours in the field to support this field experience.
Because this course does not require you to have a fingerprint clearance card, your field experience must be completed before or after school, or during another designated time when students are not present.
In person or via phone, interview a certified special education teacher specific to a grade range relevant to your program of study. Be prepared to take notes, as these will be submitted as part of the assignment deliverable.
In the interview, address the following.
- Discuss the similarities and differences among students with and without disabilities.
- Describe the characteristics of various disabilities and their educational implications for students at your school.
- Explain the effects disabilities can have on students’ academic and social development, attitudes, interests, and values.
- Describe how factors such as cultural diversity and human issues affect students with disabilities.
- Explain how you address the unique learning needs of students with disabilities in the classroom, including those students with culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
- Explain strategies you use when collaborating and co-teaching with general education teachers. Include discussion of why it is important to avoid becoming a silo, behavior enforcer, or aid in the classroom rather than a co-teacher.
- Describe how you use various types of technology to support students with disabilities in both the special education and regular education classroom.
- Describe the legal responsibilities you have to protect the rights and privacy of students with disabilities. Include discussion of IDEA, procedural safeguards, FERPA, HIPAA, etc. Include examples of some dilemmas associated with upholding these standards.
- Discuss how you collaborate with general education teachers to communicate, create, and store student documentation.
- Describe one or two of your favorite co-teaching strategies.
In 250-500 words, reflect on what you learned from the interview and discuss the following:
- Describe the unique needs of students with disabilities and the effects disabilities can have not just on students’ academic progress, but also on their social development, attitudes, interests, and values. Include discussion of additional factors related to culturally and linguistically diverse students.
- Explain why it is critical for special education teachers and general education teachers to communicate, collaborate, and co-teach to meet the needs of students with disabilities. Include explanations why this is important not just for teaching students, but also in documenting and communicating information related to progress and meeting IEP goals.
- Summarize why it is important to properly execute the IEP process and maintain confidentiality for students with disabilities. Include discussion of the challenges and dilemmas that can result when collaborating with general education teachers to ensure compliance in these areas.
- Summarize what you learned from the interview and discuss how it can be applied in your future professional practice.