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Over the past ten years the number of U.S. special needs children has risen thirty percent (Younker, 2010). The demanding needs of each child require an array of different personal strengths from a special needs teacher. Some of these important strengths include, the ability to be restorative, being able to relate to people well, being positive, including others, and being harmonious. There are various strengths and passions involved in helping special needs children to help them have prosperous futures. Some people believe it is better to ignore ones disabilities and to treat them equally but infact, the opposite of that should be done. "It does a student a disservice to ignore his or her disabilities altogether, for to do so is to deny a part of his or her identity" (Messer, & Fink, 2010).
In my future I plan on being an elementary special education teacher. One of the most influential skills I will need is to be able to be restorative. Being restorative means one likes to solve problems and enjoys the challenges that life gives them. In the classroom of a special needs child there are many challenges and problems that are present each day. For example, a special needs child may have issues regarding their family. This may lead them to be easily distracted that day and more difficult to manage. Patience and the want to fix a problem will be really important to me. As the caretaker and instructor it is very important that I make an impact on their life. I will show concern for the children and help them restore their lives to a peaceful state where they can be as happy as possible. Without my presence in their life they may not live up to their full potential as a person in society.
Teachers meet new students year after year. This means instructors must learn new names and backgrounds constantly. "I continue to be inspired by all my students, and I have learned a great deal from them about teaching students who have a range of disabilities" (Younker, 2010). Being able to relate to others will allow me to connect with the children and also allow them connect with their classmates. My ability to make each individual child feel as if they are an important link in the chain will bring out a level of comfort and trust. Once each child feels free and relaxed they will be able to work together with one another and accomplish tasks both inside and outside the classroom. These tasks would otherwise not be accomplished if they felt alone. "Special education teachers enjoy the challenge of working with students with disabilities and the opportunity to establish meaningful relationships with them" (Bureau of labor, 2010).
Positivity is an essential when working with others. When one has a positive mental attitude they not only believe that anything can be accomplished, but also inspire all of those around them that 'impossible is nothing'. Inspiring people with positive attitudes and messages will allow kids with many different life struggles to develop from their situation and accomplish things beyond their dreams. "Don't underestimate any students. This may be the most important lesson that I have learned" (Messer, & Fink, 2010). The capability of children can only begin to be tapped when their mentors inspire them to reach for their highest level of achievements. "I have seen my son rise to meet high expectationsâ€¦I have seen him fail to practice self-control simply because an adult did not think him capable of it." (Messer, & Fink, 2010). As a special needs teacher it is not only a job but also a personal responsibility to take these children and help mold them into perseverance. Children with mental disabilities are often depressed and can feel angry. By surrounding them with positive attitudes it could encourage them to look at the bright side more than focusing on the negatives.
Children in the special education program sometimes may seem to be left out or out of place, it would be my responsibility as an instructor to make them feel included in their own comfort zone. Kids with special needs often feel like alone, with no one being there for them. "Special education teachers help their students' progress not only academically but also behaviorally by helping them develop emotional awareness, conduct themselves in a manner that is socially acceptable, and feel comfortable in social situations" (Special education teaching, 2010). Making sure they feel included in everyday activities in class should help their self-esteem. The ability to make children feel important is essential in inspiring them to achieve greatness.
Although each child in my special education class are all going to have their own disabilities, it's going to be my responsibility to show the students a peaceful and calm environment where they all mend together. The key to this is to discover harmony. In today's world, conflict can spark from anything. Therefore, it is my job to teach special needs children many different ways tor resolve disagreements of any matter, regarding severity. In the classroom if I were to see anything erupting I would have to stop it and explain the problem to the students. An easy solution they can all agree upon.
Although my responsibilities as an elementary special education teacher seem to be equally weighed and constructive, it is not going to be easy. "Many special education teachers are under considerable stress due to heavy workloads and administrative tasks" (Bureau of labor, 2010). In every job, a person has the duty to meet a certain criteria of expectations that has to be followed. "Without these expectations for disabled students, we will do them a disservice." (Messer, & Fink, 2010). The thirty percent increase in special needs children over the last decade demands for special education teachers has risen greatly. My responsibility is to develop these skills to the best of my abilities to help each child to have the greatest future possible.