Special Education Teacher Preparation

Something that has always irritated me is when I am expected to do something that is a waste of my time. After all, life is short and valuable. Some people say “time is money,” but I don’t really like to use that phrase. I prefer to think of it like this: something that is a waste of my time is a waste of my life.

If I am going to write something, I never want it to be something that is a waste of words and energy, because I don’t want to waste my audience’s time, either. Your life is just as valuable as mine. Which brings me to my current predicament: I have a writing gig for writing pre-tests and the assessment I am writing right now feels like an utter waste of my energy and time. But more importantly, I feel that it is a waste of the test-taker’s time.

My current project is about special education. General teacher preparation is lacking in some respects, but in my opinion, special education is even more lacking. In my experience- and I am by no means a special education expert- special education courses that were required for my education degree gave me very few tools and tricks for my career as a teacher. Most of it was stuff that was covered just as in-depth, if not more so, in my general education preparation courses.

I have been reviewing the content which special education pre-service teachers are expected to know and so far, none of it has been very different from general education. Not that special education teachers don’t need to know the same things general education teachers know. They just need to know more and be more specialized so that they can best serve the group they are preparing to teach.

We need to make a change in our special education teacher preparation so that our special education teachers are better prepared to face the challenges that they will face and to best serve students with varying levels of ability. Unfortunately, I don’t have a solution for this problem, but maybe bringing the issue to light can spark a conversation which will lead to meaningful change.

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