They say that teaching is a thankless job – not only are teachers underpaid, but many of them dedicate countless hours of their free time to do extra work for their students. Being a teacher, in general, can be very difficult, but being a special needs teacher comes with its own unique set of challenges. Whether you are a special needs teacher or the parent of a special needs child, keep reading to learn some helpful tips for making the most of your child’s education.
What are the Challenges of Working with Special Needs Students?
Compared to most other professions, the burn-out rate for special needs teachers is extremely high – approximately 50% of special education teachers leave their jobs within just 5 years. Teaching is a difficult and stressful career in and of itself, but special education adds an extra layer of difficulty. Some of the biggest challenges of working with special needs students are as follows:
- Lack of parental support. You can pour your heart and soul into your efforts as a special education teacher but if the child’s parents are not on board, all of that work could be for nothing. Having a positive relationship with the parents of your students is essential.
- Lack of appreciation. Teachers do not teach because it is a prestigious or high-paying career – they do it for love of the students. Still, a little appreciation goes a long way, especially in a challenging and stressful field like special education.
- Too much paperwork. Every special needs
If you live in the United States you cannot help but be aware of the gender gap. In the professional world, men are paid more than women and women often do not receive the same opportunities as their male counterparts. But how does the gender gap manifest in schools, especially public schools?
The sad truth of the matter is that low-income students often do not receive the same quality of instruction or educational opportunities as upper class students, but even within the lower income class there are disparities between boys and girls. There is a great deal of evidence to suggest that low-income boys are more disadvantaged than low-income girls and they may have a harder time breaking out of the broken public school system to make a better life for themselves.
Public School Statistics in the United States
According to the Southern Education Foundation (SEF), low-income students have become the majority in children attending public schools. A survey conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) showed that 51% of the students in the U.S. public school system came from low-income families in 2013. In some states the percentage is even higher. For example, in Mississippi the number of low-income children in public schools is 71% - that is nearly three out of four students.
Not only are these statistics troubling in terms of educational disparity, but the SEF comments that, “No longer can we consider the problems and needs of low income students simply a matter of fairness… their success
The fact of the matter is that some students learn more quickly than others and some students need more individualized attention. In order to accommodate the differing needs of their students, many schools started to adopt a tracking system, separating students by academic ability into different groups for certain subjects or for all subjects. This type of program is sometimes called ability grouping (though these are technically two different things) and it is a hotly debated issue in public schools. Before you decide whether tracking might be a good option for your child, take a moment to learn what it is as well as the pros and cons of this type of system.
What is Tracking or Ability Grouping?
Also referred to as phasing or streaming, tracking is a system in which students are divided into classes based on their overall achievement. Students are ranked as being average, normal, or below average and they are divided into classes with students of the same achievement level. Tracking has been used in American public schools for nearly a century and it has changed and developed a great deal during that time. In the early years, tracking was a response to growing numbers of immigrant children coming into the public school system. The goal was to provide those children with an education that was catered to their limited understanding of the English language and their limited preparation, as compared to native students. What ended up happening, however, was a form of internal segregation within
Children can be cruel and it is not uncommon for grade school students to come home in tears after someone called them a name on the bus ride home. Unfortunately, many parents do not understand the potentially damaging effects of bullying not only on a child’s confidence and self-esteem but also on his academic performance.
Shocking Statistics About Bullying
According to StopBullying.gov, a website managed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, nearly 50% of students in grades 4 through 12 experienced bullying within a given month and more than 70% of students admit to having seen bullying occur in their school. Verbal and social bullying are the two most common types, including things like name-calling, teasing, spreading rumors, stealing belongings, sexual comments and gestures, or physical violence. Physical bullying happens less often than social bullying and cyberbullying, though it is becoming increasingly prevalent, is still less common.
While many people assume that a little bit of bullying is harmless – it may even be helpful for the child to teach them how to stick up for themselves. In reality, however, an estimated 160,000 children miss school on any given day due to fear of bullying by other students. Every day, more than 280,000 students are physically attacked in schools and one out of ten students who drop out of school mentions repeated bullying as a factor. Bullying can have a serious impact on a child’s educational experience, and not just by causing him or her to miss school.