Being a Special Education Teacher

Special education teachers may teach students in small groups or on a one-on-one basis.

Special education teachers work with students who have a wide range of abilities. They adapt general education lessons and teach various subjects, such as reading, writing, and math, to students with mild and moderate abilities. They also teach basic skills, such as literacy and communication techniques, to students with severe disabilities.

Special education teachers typically do the following:

  • assess students’ skills to determine their needs and to develop teaching plans
  • adapt lessons to meet the needs of students
  • develop Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for each student
  • plan, organize, and assign activities that are specific to each student’s abilities
  • teach and mentor students as a class, in small groups, and one-on-one
  • implement IEPs, assess students’ performance, and track their progress
  • update IEPs throughout the school year to reflect students’ progress and goals
  • discuss student’s progress with parents, teachers, counselors, and administrators
  • supervise and mentor teacher assistants who work with students with disabilities
  • prepare and help students transition from grade to grade and after graduation

Information: Bureau of Labor and Statistics