Teaching children with special needs is a big challenge. Teaching children with special needs without a proper support system or competency can be worse but if you’re looking for a highly satisfying and rewarding career path, becoming a special needs teacher will not just grant personal satisfaction, it will also create a huge impact in the lives of the children and their families.
The Malaysian government defines Special Needs Education as special education or intervention that is meant for students certified by a medical practitioner, or an optician, audiologist or psychologist as having learning disabilities or any combination of disabilities. This can include, but not limited to, visual, speech or hearing impairments as well as physical or mental inabilities.
Special education can be done in various settings but those encouraged by the government are special education schools or mainstream schools that have an inclusive special education programme so that these children are not left out of the national education system.
More importantly, we must have the right type of teachers within the system to provide for these children. Do you have what it takes to become a Special Needs teacher? Let’s find out…
- High level of patience and dedication – Granted this applies to all types of teachers. Patience and dedication are important for special education teachers to stay committed to the job, which otherwise can be demanding. Teaching special needs students can be taxing but with these two characteristics, you will be able to look beyond the challenges and focus on the end-goal – which is to provide an encouraging environment and guidance for the children’s growth and development.
- Non-judgmental and accepting – Special children have special needs. Teachers must first understand that while all children need to be treated equally, each child also has unique needs and wants. An accepting and non-judgmental teacher will know how to manage her classroom and have a developmentally appropriate classroom practice without any biases.
- Creative – A creative teacher is a happy teacher. Without creativity, teaching can become monotonous and dry. A creative teacher never runs out of ideas to make her classroom engaging and interesting. As learning takes time for children with learning, physical and mental disabilities, the creative teacher will always find ways to keep them interested.
- Intuitive – Learning, physical or mental disabilities can demotivate some children making them feel awkward in classrooms or open environments but teachers with good intuitions can monitor moods, behaviours and address any concerns so that the children can continue to have an enriching learning experience.
- Optimistic – A high level of optimism can get you up and running daily. A special needs teacher can never predict how her day will go but with a positive attitude and mind, she will be able to turn things around easily, even when her lesson plans or classroom don’t go according to plan.
If you believe that you make a good fit as a special education teacher, sign up for SEGi’s Bachelor of Education in collaboration with one of UK’s most established higher learning institutions, University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN). The dual degree programme offers four specialisations namely, Special Needs Education, Guidance and Counselling, Early Childhood Education and Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), with opportunities for overseas practicum placement.
SEGi University’s Faculty of Education also offers a Diploma in Early Childhood Education, Diploma in Early Childhood Education Online, Master of Education by Research, and PhD in Education by Research. Visit www.segi.edu.my to sign up or enquire.