7 tips for a special education teacher

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Your students are special and so are you. This week we have celebrated on Twitter (come say hello @latchonprogram) the 17th National Literacy and Numeracy Week, here in Australia.

This year, they encouraged the community to get involved and participate because “positive [community] engagement and involvement promotes literacy and numeracy learning and student outcomes. This statement could not be truer. After all, we preach the creation of strong communities of practice to our partners.

Celebrating our special education teacher community

To celebrate, we wanted to give a special shout-out to the special education teacher community. So here are 7 tips taken directly from our workbooks. As a Latch-On partner and teacher you will be given four modules, one for each semester. Each module gives you tips and tricks along the way, as you progress through the program with your students.


1. Start from the learner


What is the literacy level of your student? Take the time to assess their reading, accuracy, rate, comprehension and vocabulary. We all start at different levels of literacy on the continuum. The key is to identify where they are at and where they want to go. For example, Amy’s goal was to be able to read bedtime stories to her little nephew and menus at the restaurant without anyone’s help. Reading was her main goal.

Our workbook will give you the tools and effective ways to teach literacy foundations skills.


Special education teacher


2. Keep records from the start

Measuring the literacy progress of your students is extremely important. So keep records from the start. Anything from video footages, anecdotes, photographs, drawings, stories, and of course the activities they will complete in their workbook. Many parents go talk to the teachers to share the amazing improvements they see in their child. However nothing beats tangible evidence of the students’ writing and reading skills before and after the Latch-On program. Speaking skills will also improve; so video footages are a special way to celebrate their progress.


special education teacher


3. Set high expectations

“The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get less than you settled for”, said Maureen Dowd. Always have high expectations for your students, and students in turn will respond to these expectations. Stand by this manta and your students will achieve great results. After all, you are the ones helping them transform their lives. Research shows that that students with disabilities have more steady employment “if they have strong self-advocacy skills, a realistic understanding of their aptitudes and strengths, and a family who has high expectations for them” (Education Week article).



3 Latch-On special education teacher


4. Talk about experiences


We all learn and communicate more when we can relate. Talk about your students’ experiences. It will help you assess their language competency and progress. We always advise teachers to keep topics very relevant and interesting. What movie do you like? Who is your favorite band? What sports do you like?

Part of the program is to create a community. This means that keeping up-to-date with your local news is important. Keep your students interested and invested.


special education teacher


5. Understand your students’ needs


This tip goes without saying. As Dr Kevin Maxwell said “our job is to teach the students we have. Not the ones we would like to have. Not the ones we used to have. The ones we have right now. All of them.” People are different, so are their needs. The program is structured but flexible for you to respond to the varying needs of your students.


special education teacher


6. Provide ongoing support

Be the champion your student is looking for: someone who will never give up on them and who helps them achieve their goals. You are the architects of change. Work with the learner, not for the leaner.


special education teacher


7. Lifelong learning is the ultimate goal

The last quote we are going to leave you with is: “Stop thinking in terms of limitations and start thinking in terms of possibilities” – Terry Josephson. Lifelong learning is the goal. Giving the vital tools to our young people is the goal: literacy, numeracy and technology. Create your community of practice and promote lifelong learning.


special education teacher


Share this post with friends and family if you found it interesting or inspiring.

If you would like to teach our award-winning literacy and numeracy program, email us and we will answer any of your questions and send you all the necessary information to get you started.


Read: 5 easy steps to become a Latch-On Partner [Illustrated]


Until next time, we hope to connect with you on Twitter where we try to post inspiring quotes and stories everyday: @latchonprogram


The Latch-On Team


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