There's a shortage of special educators these days. Special education teachers are badly needed by almost all of school districts today. They are wanted in 98% of all the educational institutions of the U.S. And over the next years, more than a million new special educators are required.
Special educators leave their jobs a lot faster than regular teachers. This is because of the tasks that are placed on their backs. Special educators are tasked to manage IEPs, give alternative assessments, become paraprofessionals, use assisting technologies, comply with complex legislation, and write all the paperwork. All of these they have to do, on top of the emotional and physical toll of doing individualized instruction.
The effective way of mentoring special educators play a special role in their development and preservation. To mentor special education teachers, the following should be done:
1. Effective identification, recruitment, and selection of mentors.
There may be a handful of special education teachers. But only a few of them are really up to the task. Before training a teacher to be special education teachers, they have to be psychologically, physically, and emotionally up to the task.
2. Provide adequate action planning
With the many tasks facing a special educator face, mentors should take part in the action planning process in everyway they can. Mentors should be always available for the teacher could confer with them. Mentors should take part of the special educator's task every time they can.
3. Continuous evaluation
The evaluation of special educators should be continuous. The regular evaluation of special education teacher is going to be helpful in determining whether or not the skills and abilities of the teachers are up to the present challenges of their job. Should teachers fall short, they can easily update their knowledge through retraining.
4. Address diminishing support
Diminishing support for special educators is real. Expect this to happen even if you have tried hard to provide the support special educators need. Whenever the support of your team to special teachers is failing, address it with a special meeting to solve the immediate problems the teacher encounter at hand.
5. Check instances of isolation and burnout
The psychological and emotional toll of teaching special education is high. Teachers get drained out most easily if they feel isolation from their peers and experience burnout with their work. Try to check the level of isolation and burnout teachers have. Solve it by offering out of town team building activities, regular brainstorming and interaction with colleagues.
6. Conduct regular counseling with teachers
Teachers should be subjected to regular counseling sessions, whether they need it or not. This would help teachers a lot, because they could share their stories, experiences, frustrations, and successes with a person that could really help. Regular sessions would help teachers with their day-to-day activities.
7. Facilitate workshops and trainings
Special educators need to update their knowledge through trainings and workshops. These activities are very important because it allows them to learn more techniques that could help them a lot in their daily jobs. Make sure that the workshops and trainings made for teachers are as lively and as fun as it should.
These are the things can do to properly mentor special education teachers so that they won't give up their jobs easily. These professionals are very important in the society. Their roles are indispensable so they have to be given the proper attention they need.