Being a teacher is the same as being a mother — a mother of 100 kids. If you are the teacher, you are to uphold different roles in one body. You can be a singer, a dancer, an actor, a chef or even a ladybug. Funny as it sounds but it is certainly true. What makes it different from other occupations is that you get to see how the children learn and grow. However, this is just one side of being a teacher. Behind all these, there teachers also deal with all the crying, meltdowns, endless paperwork and unending preparations of instructional materials. Each learning day gets more and more interesting. Everyday teachers get to deal with different situations and there is no other way to have a smooth day than to be prepared.
Below are the special education teacher MUST-HAVES in a classroom:
- Timer is used in so many things. This is the best way to prepare students for transitions on top of the visual cue cards we show them. This is because not all children have the concept of time. With the timer, it is easier for them to see how much time they still have to accomplish a work or to play. The sound of the timer/alarm also help in transitioning from one activity to another.
- Fidgets, chair bands, wiggle seats & foot cushion
- These abovementioned things are often times not given attention in classroom set-up and structure. However, in a specialized classroom, there items give benefits to the children and their behavior in class. We utilize all of these sensory items in our classroom to help our children balance their sensory system and prepare them for the class. These will help them regulate their bodies, making them more focused and attentive in class.
- Sensory Reinforcements
- Reinforcements in a mainstream school may be candies, treats or stickers. However, in a special education classroom, sensory reinforcements come in a wide range of things. From clay to spike balls to theraputty to water beads, these things that the children need in case they are having sensory overload. Throughout the day, it is best to give a sensory break for the kids.
- Visual Cues and supports
- Most children with special needs have difficulty with expressive and receptive language. This is why visuals are the most important thing to help them through a day. Visual cues and supports help the non-verbal children to request what they want and at the same time, help them understand the schedule that is prepared for them in a day. These also help the teachers to communicate better with the children.
- Binder Tasks / Manipulatives
- One thing that makes our children busy are the hands-on manipulatives and binder tasks. These are critical learning tool for our students. This also helps increase their attention span as the tasks are back-to-back and there is no dull moment in class. Moreover, this helps in making our children independent in finishing tasks and activities.
Those are the 5 “must-haves” in a special education classroom. However, the top 1 must have are still love, patience, humor and dedication.