Why I Believe Special Ed Teachers Have Superpowers?

By Zyra Palaypay-Paguio

SPET I - Balanga Elementary School

Date posted: December 14, 2018

Everyone has a dream of becoming a superhero. Both children and adult are crazy over heroes because they have extraordinary powers. They are amazed by their powers. In my opinion, the real heroes are the ones who don’t wear capes. Guess Who? The real heroes and incredible people who are working to make a difference in the community are the Special education teachers. Yes, you heard it right! Sped Teachers. Want to know why?

Sped Teachers accept learners with special educational needs wholeheartedly. They give ample time and effort catering learner’s needs. From the moment a child enters the school, Sped teacher welcomes the child with a genuine smile and acceptance. A smile that says, “You are a special gift from God that has a hidden potential and talent; and this sped teacher will help you”. No matter if the child is deaf, blind, child with ADHD, child with Autism and Down syndrome; sped teachers are not just an ordinary teacher. They give their hearts to sped children who are not even their own. Just like any other superheroes, they save lives of people whom they don’t even recognize. Sped teachers do not just teach; they deliver therapeutic teaching: a teaching that involves power of understanding, caring, building deeper relationships, genuineness, empathy, value and respect.

These values are shown through the following:

Understanding- Sped teachers have extensive knowledge and understanding about their learners. They know each ones weaknesses and strengths; as if they are reading minds of learners with special educational needs. They extend their knowledge through attending seminars and workshops. Teaching learners with special educational needs is challenging. The more it is challenging, the more it is interesting to broaden their knowledge. It is important for Sped teachers to attend seminars, workshops and trainings to understand their learners more and to update their practices. Sometimes, sped teachers spend their own money to attend trainings. With different disabilities that they need to understand, it is essential for them to update their practices to provide quality education and to impart their knowledge to receiving teachers.

Caring- Sped teachers provide therapeutic care. Their service is unlimited. Lessons for the blind were translated into braille. Try to imagine the sped teacher with 10 blind pupils and each of them has 8 subjects per day, can you visualize how the sped teacher will sleep and eat? During Periodical Test and other activities, answers/output will be transcribed by the resource room teacher to be understood by the regular teacher.

Building deep relationship- Sped teachers are not just typical teacher. It is not just delivering the lesson and you’re done. In sped, it takes time to prepare a child to learn to sit, to look at you in the eye while talking, to stay focus on the task given and to finish all the tasks given. Building a deeper relationship with the child should come first. It also includes knowing what their feelings right now, what makes them happy and sad and why they hurt themselves and others.

Empathy- It is putting oneself in the place of the learner. It is deeper than understanding. It is teaching them independent skills that they can use in their daily lives.

Value- Sped teachers value each pupil. They make sure that they develop individualized education plan for each pupil. It is an IEP tailored to meet the needs of the child. It should be progressive, monitored and evaluated. It is not just an ordinary progress card. It is carefully plan by the Sped teacher. That is how sped teachers value their sped pupils.

Respect- Sped teachers respect their being; that they are people in this world with a purpose; that they are accepted in the society. Sped teachers advocate disability awareness so people will know how to give respect to learners with special needs.

Genuineness- This is priceless. This is one of the superpowers of sped teacher that cannot be replaced by material things. It is beyond what our eyes can see, what ears can hear and what lips can say. It is a touch that comes from the heart. It is a passion for teaching children with disability.

These values are the superpowers of sped teachers. Hence, teaching is rendering service but teaching in sped is far greater than service-it is a call that cannot be ignored.