Whether you’re beginning or about to finish your training, your end goal is to land a job as a special education teacher. It’s always best to prepare ahead and know what to expect when you begin your job hunt, and that includes prepping the materials you’ll need when applying and interviewing for a teaching position. These materials include a special education teacher resume, a teacher cover letter, any certifications you hold and a portfolio. When gathering these materials, it’s important to focus on what a school principal is looking for when filling an open teaching position. Because special education is a specialized field, your materials should include relevant information that shares why you’re the ideal candidate for the job.
Whether you’re beginning or about to finish your training, your end goal is to land a job as a special education teacher.
It’s always best to prepare ahead and know what to expect when you begin your job hunt, and that includes prepping the materials you’ll need when applying and interviewing for a teaching position. These materials include a special education teacher resume, a teacher cover letter, any certifications you hold and a portfolio.
When gathering these materials, it’s important to focus on what a school principal is looking for when filling an open teaching position. Because special education is a specialized field, your materials should include relevant information that shares why you’re the ideal candidate for the job.
One of the best ways to accomplish this is by tailoring your resume to a job description. This is common advice across several industries. Hiring managers want to see if you have the skills and experience needed to do a job well. By understanding what a principal is looking for in a special education teacher, you can better put your best foot forward and make a great first impression.
While each job description will vary based on the needs of the school district, below we’ll explore the type of special education teacher job description you may see when searching for jobs, as well as other information that will help you tailor your job application materials so that you can land the teaching job of your dreams.
Special Education Teacher Job Description
A special education teacher's job description often revolves around the duties of this type of educator.
What is a special education teacher? Special education teachers work with students who have a variety of disabilities. They typically work with and instruct kids in grades preschool through 12th who have mental, learning, emotional or physical challenges.
Special education teachers may adapt general education lessons and teach various subjects to students who have mild to moderate disabilities. Teachers who work with students who have severe disabilities may teach basic skills.
When searching for a special education teacher job opening, you’ll likely see job descriptions that take into account the above definitions. For example, here is a special education teacher job description you may see:
Provide special education students with experiences that help propel their academic, emotional, physical and social growth. Adapt general education curriculum and prepare lessons that are tailored toward students’ ability levels. Develop and update IEPs, and utilize progress monitoring tools to provide this specially-designed instruction.
While some job descriptions may be more general in nature, others may be more specific, including position details such as:
- Teach appropriate behavioral strategies
- Coordinate progress reports and report card grades
- Work with Special Education directors to develop growth plans
- Deliver instructional training modules at staff development workshops
- Attend student IEP meetings and collaborate with parents
- Attend professional development workshops and conferences
- Chaperone student field trips
- Conduct school duties such as supervising bus drop-offs
- Collaborate with general education teachers
- Plan assignments for teacher aides and volunteers
- Use technology in the teaching and learning process
- Intervene in crisis situations as outlined in a student’s IEP
- Keep informed of state regulations and school policies for special education teachers
- Maintain confidentiality
- Attend faculty meetings and serve on staff committees
When pulling together your job application materials, such as your resume, it’s important to focus on a job description and match your experience with what the school district is seeking in a special education teacher.
But what if you’re working ahead and aren’t ready to seek out specific job listings yet? Or what if you find a job listing you’re interested in, but it’s vague when it comes to requirements or position details?
In the next section, we’ll dive further into the responsibilities of a special education teacher so that you can begin crafting an attention-catching resume.
Responsibilities Of A Special Education Teacher
Every special education teacher's job description will be different. Some will be detailed, while others will be vague.
If you’re struggling with knowing what to focus on in your resume, it can help to better understand what the overall responsibilities of a special education teacher are since nearly every open position could benefit from someone who has this type of experience.
Understanding these responsibilities may better help you when searching for the type of special education job you want as well. For example, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act breaks disabilities into 13 categories:
- Specific learning disability (SLD) - e.g., dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia
- Other health impairments - e.g., ADHD
- Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
- Emotional disturbance - e.g., obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, bipolar
- Speech or language impairment
- Visual impairment / blindness
- Hearing impairment
- Orthopedic impairment
- Intellectual disability
- Traumatic brain injury
- Multiple disabilities
If your training involves specializing in one or more of these areas above, this is something you will want to include prominently on your resume and in your cover letter … especially if you are looking for a teaching job that specifically works with special needs students who have physical disabilities or have speech and language delays, for example.
Depending on the needs of children, a special education teacher may also:
- Provide one-on-one tutoring
- Teach in a specialized classroom with a low student-to-teacher ratio
- Work alongside a general education teacher to assist a student who is in a general classroom
- Pull a student out of non-core classes a few days a week to receive extra reading, writing and math tutoring
- Help develop and implement a student’s individualized education program (IEP)
- Assess children’s skill levels, academically and socially
- Create a supportive and positive learning environment
- Apply a variety of special educational skills and techniques to reach students in different ways
- Teach and reinforce socially-acceptable behaviors
- Modify lesson plans to align with a student’s IEP
- Encourage students to be curious, investigate and explore their own ways of interacting with the world
- Meet with parents to discuss how all parties involved can support the child
- Keep accurate records
- Perform regular testing and assessments
Suppose your teacher training includes experiences with any of the above responsibilities. In that case, it is important to highlight this in your resume and any other job interview prep materials you are gathering.
What To Do If A Job Description Is Unclear
As we mentioned above, some districts keep their hiring ads short and sweet. They’re in need of a special education teacher. If you are and have your Texas teacher certification and possess the skills of a special education teacher, you’re invited to apply.
There are still some actions you can take to make a great first impression based on the information that is available to you. By researching the school district and specific schools where there is a job opening, you can discover information like key demographics, district-wide goals and mission statements.
Researching a school’s education philosophy or mission statement may provide clues about its approach toward teaching methods, discipline and behavior management, curriculum development and leadership.
Knowing which teaching methods, programs and technology a school district uses can also help you speak to which qualifications and previous experience you have using them. For example, suppose a school promotes inclusivity among its special education student population. In that case, you can make a positive impression when responding to the job posting by sharing your work in inclusive classrooms.
Another tip is to use your teacher certification program’s resources for advice. The best teaching credential programs have an extensive network of school districts that they work with to fill open positions. The best programs also employ instructors who are former or current teachers and can provide insight into school districts in their areas.
Need more advice on how to find the right special education teacher job for you? Our article, Texas Teacher Search Tips For Landing The Best Job, offers advice on the best hiring sites to use, why job fairs are a great way to get face-to-face contact with districts, and how your network plays an important part in jumpstarting your special education career.
What is the job description of a special education teacher? ›
Special education teachers work with students who have learning, mental, emotional, or physical disabilities. They adapt general education lessons and teach various subjects to students with mild to moderate disabilities. They also teach basic skills to students with severe disabilities.What are the 3 most important roles of a special education teacher? ›
The three most important roles of a special education teacher are being a resource, support, and mentor to their students. Special education teachers have a big impact on their students, and it is important to understand the nuances of the roles that a teacher fills to be successful within the role.Why do you want to be a special education teacher answer? ›
Special education's person-centered approach makes the job as varied and unique as the individual students. Both compassion and creativity are at a premium in this field, which sometimes makes special education more challenging — but it also makes the career deeply rewarding.What are the 10 most common interview questions and answers for teachers? ›
- What are your strengths as a teacher?
- What's your biggest weakness as a teacher?
- How do you interact with parents?
- Why did you leave your last teaching (or other) job?
- What's your educational background?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- How do you handle classroom management?
Develops, plans, and implements curriculum, lesson plans, and educational programs for student audiences within areas of expertise. Advises, tests, and teaches students audiences in a variety of academic subjects. Presents and reinforces learning concepts within a specified subject or subject area.What do you put on a special education teacher resume? ›
- Special Education.
- Emotional Disorders.
- Behavioral Disorders.
- Behavioral Analysis.
- Curriculum Development.
- Student Assessments.
Special education teachers should always motivate their students and appreciate every achievement of the students. They should always look at the problems from a student's perspective to remain calm and optimistic. The teacher's dedication to the betterment of the students serves as a huge confidence builder for them.What are the four goals of the special education teachers? ›
- Intellectual Development. Cognitive or intellectual development is one of the biggest goals of early childhood special education. ...
- Physical Development. ...
- Emotional Development. ...
- Social Development.
Example: ”As a special ed teacher, I hope I'm making contributions each day in the classroom. My most important mission is to help every student learn based on their needs and abilities. If I accomplish this each day, I am very satisfied. What I bring to the school is my experience and skills in this area.How do you nail a sped teacher interview? ›
Describe a time you encountered a major challenge at work, and what you did to overcome that. Tell us about how you include parents and support staff in the educational process. Describe the most difficult student you've ever worked with and why. How did you work with them to succeed?
What are the professional qualities of a teacher give at least 5 answers? ›
- Good Teachers Are Strong Communicators. ...
- Good Teachers Listen Well. ...
- Good Teachers Focus on Collaboration. ...
- Good Teachers Are Adaptable. ...
- Good Teachers Are Engaging. ...
- Good Teachers Show Empathy. ...
- Good Teachers Have Patience. ...
- Good Teachers Value Real-World Learning.
Sample Answer: I decided to become a teacher due to several reasons. One, I have a knack for learning new things and when you teach, you often get more lessons than you give. Two, I like being around young minds since their creativity and imaginative power is incomparable which also explains the former.What are 5 responsibilities of a teacher? ›
- Mentor. During the formative years of students, teachers play the role of a mentor. ...
- Mediator. ...
- Resource House. ...
- Morale Booster and Motivator. ...
- Demonstrator. ...
- Continuous Learner. ...
- A Good Listener. ...
Prepare classroom for class activities. Provide a variety of learning materials and resources for use in educational activities. Observe and evaluate student's performance and development. Assign and grade class work, homework, tests and assignments.What can I say instead of a Special Education Teacher? ›
- Intervention Specialist.
- Exceptional Education Teacher.
- Accessible Education Teacher.
- Accessibility Specialist.
- Learning Specialist.
- Exceptional Student Education.
- Individual Needs Teacher.
- Learning Strategy Specialist.
A typical resume sample for this position mentions duties such as implementing behavior guidelines, preparing class activities, using various teaching methods, assigning homework, giving tests, and monitoring student academic performance. They may also be required to manage classroom materials and inventory.What is the objective of special educator? ›
Objective of Special Education:
To develop a realistic self-concept in handicapped children. 3. To reach the maximum level of effectiveness in school subjects. effective living or specific types of handicapped children.
- knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses.
- sensitivity and understanding.
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations.
- the ability to work well with others.
- the ability to create the best conditions for learning or teaching new things.
- knowledge of English language.
- Organization. The teacher, as well as the classroom, must be organized. ...
- Creativity. ...
- Highly intuitive. ...
- Calming nature. ...
- Detail-oriented. ...
- Deadline-oriented. ...
- Adaptability. ...
- Even tempered.
You'll need patience and have highly-developed, flexible communication skills. You'll be responsible for people with a range of needs so being highly organised, flexible and able to prioritise effectively will be vital.
What are the two duties of a special education teacher? ›
The special educator initiates individual educational planning for students with additional requisites and ensures its implementation. The special educator ensures the involvement of parents of students with additional requisites in the educational processes of their children.How do you teach special education students effectively? ›
- Set clear expectations for all students.
- Break assignments into smaller pieces to work on in short time periods.
- Space breaks between assignments so students can refocus on their tasks.
- Share ideas with parents so they can help with homework.
This bestseller is grounded in the synergy of five big ideas for connecting mind, brain, and education research to classroom practice: neuroplasticity, potential, malleable intelligence, the Body-Brain System, and metacognition.What are the roles of SPED teachers in the planning of IEP? ›
Beyond helping to write the IEP, the special educator has responsibility for working with the child to implement the IEP. He or she may: work with the child in a resource room or special class devoted to children receiving special education services; team teach with the child's regular education teacher; and/or.What are the 3 components of special education? ›
That's three separate, distinct, and critical elements–special education, related services, and supplementary aids and services–and each is worthy of a book on its own.What is your greatest weakness as a teacher? ›
So as a recap, the four answers that you can give when being asked, what are your greatest weaknesses, are, I focus too much on the details, I've got a hard time saying no sometimes, I've had trouble asking for help in the past, and I have a hard time letting go of a project.What is the most important thing in special education? ›
The key to inclusive special education programs is understanding and accepting students for who they are. This means not just helping them overcome their weaknesses but assisting them in finding and developing their talents too.How do you manage a sped classroom? ›
- Establish Relationships With Students. ...
- Positive Learning Environment. ...
- Set Expectations. ...
- Organize Your Lessons. ...
- Focus on Strengths. ...
- Behavior Specific Praise. ...
- Greet Students at the Door. ...
- Reminders and Cues.
Research Educational Buzzwords
Terms such as differentiated instruction, data-driven instruction, problem-based learning, flipped classrooms, student-centered, and digital literacy are just a few you should be prepared to speak to when answering teacher interview questions.
How do you meet a wide variety of needs for the students you support? Tell us about how you lesson plan. Describe a lesson that failed and how you handled it. Explain how you will keep communication open with parents.
What to do when a student refuses to listen? ›
- Train Students to Listen for a Certain Sound Other Than Your Voice. ...
- “Harry Wong-It” All Year Long. ...
- Allow Chances to Earn Whole-Class Rewards. ...
- Give Students More Voice. ...
- Turn Up the Engagement and Fun Factor.
- Establish Trust. 'Difficult' students may have difficulty trusting adults and authority figures, perhaps because they have been jilted in the past. ...
- Reconsider Student Engagement Strategies. ...
- Personalize The Learning. ...
- Stay Positive. ...
- Stay Safe. ...
- Help Them Rebuild.
- Become a role model for student interest. ...
- Get to know your students. ...
- Use examples freely. ...
- Use a variety of student-active teaching activities. ...
- Set realistic performance goals and help students achieve them by encouraging them to set their own reasonable goals.
Preparing, administering, supervising, and grading examinations, quizzes, and other assignments. Educating students on following a school's moral codes and behaviours. Planning and organizing academic events and activities, both in and outside of school property. Keeping the classroom neat, organized, and orderly.Why should we hire you answers? ›
“I should be hired for this role because of my relevant skills, experience, and passion for the industry. I've researched the company and can add value to its growth. My positive attitude, work ethics, and long-term goals align with the job requirements, making me a committed and valuable asset to the company.”Why are you a good fit for this position answers? ›
💡 Example answer
My skill set matches all the requirements laid out in the job description. In particular, my ability to work to tight deadlines and manage my time effectively make me a good fit for the role.
I would describe myself as a positive, energetic, knowledgeable, and industrious teacher. I have a flexible style of teaching that can cater to all students and abilities. I would also say that I am a high-achieving teacher. For example, in my last role, I managed to turn around an underperforming class.What are the roles and responsibilities of a special educational needs coordinator? ›
A SENCO is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the school's SEN policy. A SENCO is a qualified teacher that arranges extra support for children and young people with special educational needs (SEN). Their job is to: put the setting's SEN policy into effect on a daily basis.What is the job description for an autism teacher? ›
An autistic support teacher plans and delivers educational instruction to students with autism spectrum disorders and emotional disabilities. They may work for a school, counseling center, or other special needs facility.Which of the following are responsibilities of an education specialist? ›
Educational specialists evaluate and provide recommendations to improve curriculum planning, individual lessons and teaching methods at one or more grade levels. They also help coordinate and communicate expectations and progress among students' parents/guardians, guidance counselors and teachers.
What are the roles and responsibilities of each IEP team member? ›
Each team member brings important information to the IEP meeting. Members share their information and work together to write the child's Individualized Education Program. Each person's information adds to the team's understanding of the child and what services the child needs.What is the role of a special needs classroom assistant? ›
adapt teaching support according to student's needs. look after children's physical, social and emotional welfare. create an interesting environment for students. keep records and attend review meetings.
The teachers identify their special students' social, emotional, behavioral, physical, and academic strengths. They consult the students' parents or guardians to get more information about their needs. The teachers create individualized education plans and proper accommodations based on this information.What are the job duties of working with autistic children? ›
The main responsibility of an autism program specialist is to provide individualized care, behavioral intervention and attention to clients with autism, using the methods of applied behavior analysis.How do you handle an autistic child in the classroom? ›
- Create an environment that is not over stimulating. ...
- Create a structured environment with predictable routines. ...
- Give fewer choices. ...
- Select repetitive motions when working on projects. ...
- Keep voice low and clear when teaching. ...
- Limit physical contact.