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Special Education Teachers, Secondary School Career

Career Description

Teach secondary school subjects to educationally and physically handicapped students. Includes teachers who specialize and work with audibly and visually handicapped students and those who teach basic academic and life processes skills to the mentally impaired.

What Job Titles Special Education Teachers, Secondary School Might Have

  • High School Special Education Teacher
  • Special Education Resource Teacher
  • Special Education Teacher
  • Teacher

What Special Education Teachers, Secondary School Do

  • Establish and enforce rules for behavior and policies and procedures to maintain order among students.
  • Teach socially acceptable behavior, employing techniques such as behavior modification and positive reinforcement.
  • Modify the general education curriculum for special-needs students, based upon a variety of instructional techniques and technologies.
  • Develop and implement strategies to meet the needs of students with a variety of handicapping conditions.
  • Maintain accurate and complete student records, and prepare reports on children and activities, as required by laws, district policies, and administrative regulations.
  • Prepare, administer, and grade tests and assignments to evaluate students' progress.
  • Meet with other professionals to discuss individual students' needs and progress.
  • Confer with parents or guardians, other teachers, counselors, and administrators to resolve students' behavioral and academic problems.
  • Employ special educational strategies and techniques during instruction to improve the development of sensory- and perceptual-motor skills, language, cognition, and memory.
  • Teach personal development skills, such as goal setting, independence, and self-advocacy.
  • Guide and counsel students with adjustment or academic problems, or special academic interests.
  • Instruct through lectures, discussions, and demonstrations in one or more subjects, such as English, mathematics, or social studies.
  • Confer with parents, administrators, testing specialists, social workers, and professionals to develop individual educational plans designed to promote students' educational, physical, and social development.
  • Prepare materials and classrooms for class activities.
  • Prepare students for later grades by encouraging them to explore learning opportunities and to persevere with challenging tasks.
  • Plan and conduct activities for a balanced program of instruction, demonstration, and work time that provides students with opportunities to observe, question, and investigate.
  • Meet with parents and guardians to discuss their children's progress and to determine priorities for their children and their resource needs.
  • Establish clear objectives for all lessons, units, and projects and communicate those objectives to students.
  • Observe and evaluate students' performance, behavior, social development, and physical health.
  • Coordinate placement of students with special needs into mainstream classes.
  • Monitor teachers and teacher assistants to ensure that they adhere to inclusive special education program requirements.
  • Meet with parents and guardians to provide guidance in using community resources and to teach skills for dealing with students' impairments.
  • Prepare for assigned classes and show written evidence of preparation upon request of immediate supervisors.
  • Instruct students in daily living skills required for independent maintenance and self-sufficiency, such as hygiene, safety, and food preparation.
  • Prepare objectives and outlines for courses of study, following curriculum guidelines or requirements of states and schools.
  • Confer with other staff members to plan and schedule lessons promoting learning, following approved curricula.
  • Provide additional instruction in vocational areas.
  • Use computers, audio-visual aids, and other equipment and materials to supplement presentations.
  • Administer standardized ability and achievement tests and interpret results to determine students' strengths and areas of need.
  • Attend professional meetings, educational conferences, and teacher training workshops to maintain and improve professional competence.
  • Attend staff meetings and serve on committees, as required.
  • Collaborate with other teachers and administrators in the development, evaluation, and revision of secondary school programs.
  • Plan and supervise class projects, field trips, visits by guest speakers, or other experiential activities, and guide students in learning from those activities.
  • Perform administrative duties, such as assisting in school libraries, hall and cafeteria monitoring, and bus loading and unloading.
  • Select, store, order, issue, and inventory classroom equipment, materials, and supplies.
  • Instruct and monitor students in the use and care of equipment and materials to prevent injuries and damage.
  • Provide assistive devices, supportive technology, and assistance accessing facilities, such as restrooms.
  • Provide interpretation and transcription of regular classroom materials through Braille and sign language.
  • Visit schools to tutor students with sensory impairments and to consult with teachers regarding students' special needs.
  • Sponsor extracurricular activities, such as clubs, student organizations, and academic contests.

What Special Education Teachers, Secondary School Should Be Good At

  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Fluency of Ideas - The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

What Special Education Teachers, Secondary School Should Be Interested In

  • Social - Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
  • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

What Special Education Teachers, Secondary School Need to Learn

  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Clerical - Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
  • Therapy and Counseling - Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Median Salary: $59,700

This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.