Teaching is not just a job. Being a teacher is a calling that people with a true love for children and education answer. Being a special education teacher is rewarding, and allows you to impact the lives of students through your dedication, compassion and nurturing nature.
Special Education is a term assigned to any student who has a physical, mental or learning disability that inhibits them from being able to attend strictly traditional classroom activities.
How to Become a Special Education Teacher
This is a great time to pursue a dream of becoming a special education teacher. One out of every eight public schools in Texas is in need of teachers to fill these positions.
- You must have a bachelor’s degree issued by an accredited college or university. You also have to have had a GPA of no less than 2.5.
- You need to receive training through a specialized program called educator preparation programs.
- You need to take the TExES Special Education EC-12 exam.
- You need to take the TExES Core Subject EC-6 exam called the 291 exam.
- You need to take the TExES Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities (PPR EC-12 exam)
The TExES Examinations
These are a selected group of examinations given to individuals to check their knowledge and the skills they have that would allow them to become a teacher in a Texas education system.
There is a fee that you need to pay to take these examinations. Generally, the fee is about $131 dollars. The fee is not refundable if you fail to pass the examination. You will need to score a minimum of 240 on the examination to pass. The total score you can make is 300. If you do not pass the test you can wait 45 days and then register to take it again.
Registering for the TExES Test
You can register for the test online at Pearson Education, Inc.
Preparing for the test
- There are practice tests available online that will test your knowledge and show you what you need to concentrate on before taking your examination. These practice tests do not cost anything, and they give you a good idea of what you will need to study and improve on.
- PPR practice test: Here
- The PPR test has 100 questions. Only 90 of the questions will receive a score. The other questions are designed to determine future tests you may have to take before you receive the certificate you are seeking.
- You will have a five-hour time limit to answer the questions on the test.
- You will find great resources to help you prepare for the test online.
When you are talking about becoming a special education teacher you may already know what disabilities or what type of teacher you want to become. Teachers are needed to work with all age groups, and teachers with credentials that allow them to work specifically with one disability type are also in high demand.
Some of the most needed educators in this field are people who can teach:
- Children who are hearing impaired
- Children who are visually challenged
- Autistic children
- Children with reading or comprehension disabilities
- Children who are physically challenged and need special exercise or rehabilitation services.
Spend a day with a Teacher
Some schools will allow you to schedule an appointment to talk to the principal and the teachers of the special education departments. The teachers can arrange to spend some time with you, show you their classrooms, tell you what obstacles they face, and let you get familiar with what teaching skills are needed most on their campuses.
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We discussed the educational requirements that are established by the state of Texas for their special education teachers, but there are also unofficial requirements you need to meet before you take on a job like this.
You need to have:
- A genuine love of teaching
- Understanding for people who learn differently from the average person
- A calm demeanor
- The ability to ignore frustration and a mind that is always trying to figure out a solution to any problem so you can develop teaching techniques
This is a career that is not for everyone, but if you are considering it, then you already know that you have what it takes to make a difference in the life of a child.