happy woman teacher

Saturday marks an incredibly special day – it is Special Education Day! Since 1975, December 2nd has been recognized in the United States as Special Education Day. This day marks the signing of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) which allowed students with special needs to access free public education. On this day, we pause to celebrate the hard work and dedication of special educators, who lead our students to success.

Special educators are some of the most important members of our communities. They play a critical role in guiding their students to reach their fullest potential, and providing them with the necessary tools and resources to do so. From helping develop individualized learning plans to providing much-needed emotional support in tough times, the importance of these individuals cannot be overstated.

We know teachers work tirelessly on behalf of their students to ensure they have access to the same educational opportunities as any other student. They push boundaries, think outside of the box, and come up with creative solutions that make learning easier for those with special needs. However, there are challenges that need overcoming in the field of special education. Some of the most common challenges faced currently include:

  1. Teacher Shortage

    There is a significant shortage of special education teachers. Fewer people are pursuing degrees in special education due to stressors in the field of education, leading to a lack of qualified teachers. This shortage can result in larger class sizes and less individualized attention for students.

  2. Heavy Workload

    Special education teachers are facing a heavy workload, especially in the aftermath of the pandemic. The impact of lost learning time has left students behind, and teachers are working hard to catch them up while also teaching career planning and independent living skills.

  3. Teacher Burnout

    The shortage of teachers in special education means that there are fewer educators available to meet the needs of students with special needs. This results in larger class sizes and less individualized attention for students, increasing the workload and pressure on teachers. Additionally, special education teachers have the additional responsibility of catching students up academically, as well as teaching important skills related to career planning and independent living. The heavy workload, combined with the challenges of meeting the diverse needs of students with disabilities, can take a toll on the mental and emotional well-being of special education teachers. The constant pressure to meet individualized education plan (IEP) goals, navigate complex legal requirements, and manage challenging behaviors can be overwhelming.

    If left unchecked, burnout can have serious consequences for both teachers and their students. Burned-out teachers may experience symptoms such as forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, and decreased motivation. This can impact their ability to effectively teach and support their students.

Despite these challenges, special educators continue to work tirelessly for better outcomes for their students. Today, let us express our gratitude and appreciation for all the amazing special educators who give so much of themselves to make a difference in our children’s lives.

At Conover, we are passionate about helping students and teachers reach their full potential. Our online assessment and curriculum system, Conover Online, can help educators eliminate stress and avoid burnout. Schedule a demo with us today and discover how we can support special educators in their important work.