About Special Education

What exactly is a special education teacher?

A special education teacher serves both as an educator and as an advocate for students with special needs. His or her schedule is divided among planning, instruction, assessing students and managing student individualized education programs (IEPs). The role of the special eduction teacher is to plan and provide for appropriate learning experiences for students with disabilities in a variety of educational settings.

What is their role in a school?

The special education teacher in today's schools plays a very critical role in the proper education of exceptional students. The teacher is unique in that he/she can fit many different roles in the educational environment. Each role involves a variety of responsibilities and functions. Some common roles include: consulting teacher, resource teacher, inclusion specialist, transition specialist or itinerant teacher. Special education teachers may be faced with a variety of responsibilities including but not limited to:

  • Curriculum modification
  • Parent Conferences
  • Pre-Post testing, progress monitoring
  • Involvement in the annual review
  • Involvement in the triennial evaluation process
  • Monitoring the IEP, modifications and accommodations

Consulting Teacher is assigned to work with a child with a disability right in the mainstreamed class as determined as his/her least restrictive environment.

Resource Teacher divides time among directly instructing students, working with teachers regarding students' needs, and co-teaching. This teacher works with students to meet goals on their individual IEP. The classroom setting, which is sometimes called a resource room, also provides the teacher the opportunity to work with his students on life skills and behavior modification techniques.

Inclusion Specialist provides student instruction, problem solves with teachers, and coordinates the services a student receives.

Transition Specialist works in primarily high school settings and helps prepare students to transition from school to vocational training, employment, or postsecondary education.

Itinerant Teacher is employed by an agency hired to visit various schools in several districts and work with children with disabilities. This provides each child with the required auxiliary services and allows a district to meet requirements without having a program of their own.

The special education teacher, encounters a variety of situations that require practical decisions and relevant suggestions. With a solid base of knowledge in legal and educational foundations, he/she needs to fully understand symptoms, causality, evaluation, diagnosis, prescription and remediation as well as be skilled in communicating vital information to professionals, parents and students.

(Adapted from the Special Educator's Survival Guide/Pierangleo/Jossey Bass Publishers/2005)


The mission of the Muskingum University Undergraduate Initial Teacher Licensure Preparation Program is to develop teacher-leaders who encourage, equip and empower all students.

The philosophy and purpose that the Undergraduate Initial Teacher Preparation Program and Graduate Initial Teacher Preparation Program use to articulate this mission closely align with the University’s mission statement. The philosophy is grounded in the commitment to help candidates develop intellectually, ethically, socially, and physically. The purpose of the program is to nurture candidates into becoming educators who in turn nurture their students to their fullest potential by

  • encouraging their efforts, increasing motivation;
  • equipping them with the knowledge and skills they need in order to be successful, professionally and personally; and
  • empowering them to become active participants their own professions, families, and communities.
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