Teaching Exceptional Children
What is special education?
Special education is a legal definition for programs that provide greater support for certain students. In Charlotte, Special Education is referred to as Exceptional Children (EC). Special education, or Exceptional Children, does not refer to a specific location or fixed concept, but rather includes a broad range of student services from a smaller, more individualized learning environment, to assistive technology, to a modified curriculum that capitalizes on a student’s particular strengths. Under the law in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), all students are provided services that support their needs.
Every teacher in the public education system works with children with disabilities, and, therefore needs a basic understanding of the special education system. Teachers of Exceptional Children work largely or exclusively with students who qualify for services.
TEACH Charlotte participants who teach in a special education setting with students who have mild-to-moderate disabilities will work with students who have difficulty in areas such as reading, math, writing, or communication.
For more information on the history of special education and the movement to provide all children with a free and appropriate education (FAPE), visit the website for the Council for Exceptional Children.
For resources for teachers, parents, and students involved in the system, visit the website for Learning Disabilities (LD) Online, and the home of CMS' Programs for Exceptional Children.
What are the benefits of teaching Exceptional Children?
Exceptional Children programs are designed around the concept of individualized curriculum. Classes are smaller, and the teacher has the opportunity to get to know students and their families at a much more personal level. The teacher’s job is to meet educational goals that have been tailored to the needs of a particular student and write new goals each year as (s)he meets with a team that assesses the child’s progress and determines next steps in the student’s education. TEACH Charlotte participants teaching Exceptional Children will likely have the opportunity to team teach or use other teachers as resources, building relationships throughout the school site to support learning in the classroom. Teachers in this setting may also design individualized schedules so that students participate in academic classes with their grade-level peers for a portion of the day.
One of the most exciting aspects of a position working with Exceptional Children is the opportunity to be both advocate and teacher. While teachers are first and foremost responsible for academic goals, they also work to develop a positive school environment for their students with special needs. As a case manager, Exceptional Children teachers monitor students’ progress and report to families and other teachers, while at the same time relying on organizational skills to develop individualized tracking systems and manage case-related paperwork. In addition, participants will receive specialized training and support through TNTP Academy.
For more information about teaching special education in Mecklenburg County, visit the website for CMS’ Programs for Exceptional Children. Tell a Friend!
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