5 Top Challenges of Special Education Teachers

Though they can provide a very valuable service for the students that they teach, the field of special education does happen to have a very high frequency of burnout. Statistics show that nearly half of all special education teachers ends up moving on from the occupation within just five years, indicating a very high turnover rate. Even those who manage to stay longer than five years tend to not remain in the field for much longer than a decade.

In order to understand exactly what it is that compels so many different special education teachers to leave the field, it is necessary to understand what some of the biggest challenges of the occupation truly are. The following are five of the top challenges facing special education teachers across the nation on a consistent basis.

Scheduling Logistics

The logistics of teaching cannot be taken lightly. From meetings with parents to meetings with other teachers, there are all kinds of things that teachers have to schedule for aside from the lesson plan in the classroom. Teachers have to consistently make sure that their schedules are not only effective, but properly coordinated with all other faculty members. Constantly having to account for other responsibilities and obligations that both they and the students have can make scheduling feel like a full-time job all on its own.

Comprehensive Data Presentation

As is the case in every other industry, the importance of data in education cannot be overstated. It is through comprehensive data that the field of special education can be continuously improved and sharpened; however, accounting for all of the data needed to validate their practices and conclusions requires constant diligence. Before a teacher can make any statements regarding their students’ performance, the data to support that claim needs to be discovered and presented clearly.

A Lack Of Support From Students’ Parents

One of the most vital aspects of the success of any future, whether they are in special education or not, is the level of parental support that they have. Bridging the gap between home life and school life is absolutely vital in the success of a student, because if this gap is not bridged, students aren’t nearly as capable of recognizing their full potential; naturally, this is doubly crucial when it comes to special education students. What many special education teachers report is that they oftentimes don’t have see an equal investment in their students’ success from the parents, making the job much harder than it would be otherwise.

Related: 5 Tips for Teachers Dealing with Difficult Parents

Misguided Public Criticism

In addition to needing better support from parents, special education teachers oftentimes report that they need much more support from the public as well. Despite the fact that occupation requires so much for students to be given the best possible chance at succeeding, many in the general public underestimate just how challenging it can truly be. The abundance of criticism of teachers for a perceived lack of difficulty in their line of work is oftentimes in the place of the support that they need to do their jobs more effectively.

Paraprofessional Training

While some special education teachers are fortunate enough to have paraprofessionals on staff to help them out, these paraprofessionals still have to be trained. Teaching students is already challenging enough, but when paired up with the need to make sure that paraprofessionals are properly prepared for the job, it can take a great deal of patience and willpower to see both priorities through successfully. Teachers not only have to make sure that paraprofessionals are properly supervised, but also that they are on the same page when it comes to the perspective with which they approach the job in general.