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The Truth About SPED Teachers

Updated: May 13, 2021

A few weeks ago, GYTO posted this image on their IG. I laughed because it is so very accurate and so relatable! If you're reading this, you are likely someone in the education arena and knows what really, REALLY goes down in education. I don't think the general public realizes exactly what a day of teaching actually looks like. It ain't for the faint of heart, y'all.

This got me thinking about all of the responsibilities people don't really know about, especially when working in special education. There's an unfortunate misconception that special education teachers have a cushy job and don't shoulder as much responsibility or stress to deal with.

My entire career has been spent teaching in & supporting various SPED classrooms. Here are a few of the more common (wildly inaccurate & slightly offensive) things I've heard over the years as it relates to teaching SPED:

  • "How hard can it be to have only 4 (8, 13, etc.) students?"

  • "She has each kid for only like an hour each day. It's not like having the kid all day."

  • "They don't even do anything in there. They're just babysitting." (enter: Red Ross)

  • "Must be nice to have a small class and that many paras."

  • "All I ever see her do is sit at her computer with some kind of binder."

  • "They just color and sing songs all day. The kids don't learn anything."

Cringeworthy. Please don't ever say anything along those lines to, about, or around a SPED teacher (or any teacher, really). Like your specific field, there's so much that goes on that many people aren't aware of. The variety of responsibilities differ among specialties, but the quality, quantity, and importance of responsibilities are still the same.

Many people don't do your job and don't know what all is involved in your job.

So here's to you, SPED teacher!

Here's a more accurate (and partly satirical) representation of what you REALLY do.

It's not exhaustive, but it's a start.

I would venture to say that the proportions are pretty accurate as well :)

ALL educators have so much on the plates, and I am 1000000% sure that you can create a similar graphic from the view of every educator!

I'd love to hear from you. What would you include? What would your proportions look like?

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