Student teaching might very well be the best experience you will encounter along your educational journey. What better way to gain valuable experience while also helping to care for children with disabilities? Although student teaching is a requirement for the completion of your program, if you have a huge heart full of love, then spending your internship time with these special children will be an honor and a pleasure.
While earning your online Bachelor’s degree in Special Education, of course, your student teaching component of the program will need to be fulfilled through a local school or facility close to you. Often, your online program will work closely with area schools to find you a student teaching opportunity that is convenient for you.
As teaching for the first time can be intimidating, if you can power through, you will gain the concept of what your everyday teaching responsibilities will consist of, especially when working with children that have developmental or physical disabilities. This field can be stressful, so student teaching in this environment will test your ability, along with your desire to pursue a career in Special Education. Before your first day, try to meet your mentor and other administration to discuss curricula, expectations and teaching methods. This will make you feel at ease before you begin interaction with the students.
Here are a few important facts about student teaching: Most likely, you will not get paid for your internship. Your employment is part of your bachelor’s degree program and your valuable experience is your compensation. You should also prepare ahead of time financially because you will be expected to pay your college tuition as regularly scheduled.
Depending on your state’s requirements, your student teaching experience generally lasts one to two semesters. With this time, you will experience all aspects of teaching in Special Education. Your time spent will help you decide if you love this line of work or perhaps, you may find that you are better suited for another specialization in the world of teaching.
You will have a licensed teacher to observe and then, they will eventually evaluate you on your performance. During your internship, you will take on increased teaching responsibilities as your mentor recommends. While eventually assuming all teaching duties, you will be required to plan lessons, in addition to, maintain classroom order.
While working with children that have special needs, you will need to develop a teaching method that works for you, as well as, your students. Be a good observer. Evaluate what your students respond to and what doesn’t work. Being creative is key to keeping their attention. Students will look to you for classroom management to feel secure and safe and to maintain control always, as autistic students are sometimes particularly sensitive to noise and chaos. In addition to preparing for classes, other duties may include grading student’s work, attending conferences with parents and participating in extra-curricular activities. The more effort you put into your internship, the better training you will receive, in addition to, an excellent grade towards earning your degree.
As a student in an online Bachelor’s degree in Special Education program, typically you will have learned to make modifications in course content for individualized students. Your student teaching experience will help you to implement what you have learned. Teaching learning disabled students will present you with new and unique challenges daily. But, the end results will be so worth it. To see a child take an interest in something that is new to them will reward you with a great feeling like no other career can provide.
If you are interested in this career, please see our Top 20 Bachelor’s in Special Education Degree Programs.