A good teacher under the discipline of special education has implicit understanding of the needs of students with special challenges. Such a teacher will have a desire to go out of his or her way to reach out to every student within a class.
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As a teacher under the sub discipline of special education I play a leadership role in ensuring that my students are motivated and inspired to learn despite their circumstances. However, this cannot be achieved working alone. It requires a collaborative approach that involves teachers, students, caregivers, and the society at large.
Schools form a system that contributes towards the existence of the greater society. Within this system, the teacher assumes the role of a leader to give direction and guidelines to students in addition to supporting the substance of a school. The leadership roles of teachers may either be formally or informally assigned.
Nonetheless, teachers would still play the following leadership roles in their capacity as teachers: resource providers, instructional expert, curriculum consultant, classroom supporter, learning facilitator, and student adviser.
The teacher as a leader is guided by the ethics of care and connectivity. Care and responsibility develops from an individual’s feeling of interconnectedness with others. It is contextual and arises from experience. It is on one hand characterized by nurturance and an emphasis of responsibility to others.
On the other hand it is characterized by rationality that emphasizes on individual rights. Within the context of education, ethics of care has to be pursued by teachers and located within the framework of friendship. The friendship is further based on love and trust.
The teacher as a leader is also based on the philosophical model of democracy and dialogue. The concept of dialogue has been described by philosophers as a true human feature. It is a prerequisite for working with each other in creating a cultural world.
Without dialogue teachers and other stakeholder of a school can never work together for a common goal. This implies that as teachers become instructional specialists, curriculum specialists, classroom supporters, learning facilitators and mentors, they utilize the concepts of dialogue and democracy.
Parents and guardians are an essential part of the learning process. They enable teacher to understand students and also assist teacher to implement curriculum. As a leader, the teacher has to therefore build relationships with caregivers and involve them in the growth of their children. This is a critical aspect of special education where the input of the caregivers is highly appreciated for proper development of these children with special needs.
I therefore see myself as a leader within the school setting on a mission to ensure that my students are successful in their quest for education through building effective relationships with students, colleagues, and caregivers. My goal is to gain more knowledge and skills in the process of learning in addition to igniting the passion for knowledge within my students.
In teaching under special education, I have to take into account the special needs of my students as I impact knowledge in them. These children have special challenges towards learning including physical, emotional, behavioral, and communication challenges. Being sensitive to the needs of others, I strive to ensure that these children are not left out because of their state.
Blase, J., & Blase, J. (2006). Teachers bringing out the best in teachers: A guide to peer consultation for administrators and teachers. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Press.
Killion, J. (2001). What works in elementary schools: Results-based staff development. Oxford, Ohio: National Staff Development Council.
Larner, M. (2004). Pathways: Charting a course for professional learning. Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Heinemann.