Ten things they don't teach you in College
Special Education Edition
10- how to teach a student how to blow their nose.(You can read the story behind this here)
9- how to control your gag reflex in response to the sights and smells of toilet training. I find that ripping off a piece of baby wipe and secretly putting it up my nostrils helps significantly.
8- how to hold your lunch and eat it with one hand while feeding a student their lunch with your other hand- because most special education teachers don't get a lunch break.
7- how not to laugh when you accidentally curse and then a student whose suppose to be non-verbal repeats it.
6- how to sing every task analysis to the tune of "If you're happy and you know it" because that's the only way the students learn. (see below for the lyrics of hand washing).
5- how you will spend more money on supplies and equipment for your classroom than you did on your entire college education.
4- how to resist the urge to conform to the other teachers and put a movie on in the classroom every Friday. (I've seen this happen with at least one teacher at every school I've taught at)
3- how to manage your para-professionals who are anything but professional. I've had some of the best and some of the worst para's in my short teaching career thus far and I don't ever remember talking about them in college and the crucial role they play. I was a para before I became a teacher and think it should almost be mandatory that all special education teachers be one before the can teach.
2- how to cope when a student passes away...3 months into your first teaching job.(This is true and happened to me and I will never forget it)
1- how to mange both a professional and personal life at the same time.It's hard, but I seem to have the hang of it most of the time....but it took me a few years to find my balance.