5 Major Challenges of Special Education Teachers

29th July 2022

Did you know research revealed that 75% of those who teach special needs students will leave their job within 10 years of starting?

One of the major reasons for this is special education teachers have a higher rate of burnout than is found in most other jobs. Needless to say, teaching at any level can be difficult. Though the pandemic-related problems are certainly new, teaching has always had specific hitches, as does any profession. Furthermore, working with children with special needs is quite stressful as it requires more attention.

Major Challenges of Special Education Teachers

Let us go through some of the big and major challenges that special education teachers are always facing …

  1. Multiple Special Needs

    Dealing with multiple special needs is a major challenge for special education teachers. A special education teacher’s classes may have learners with various special needs. As each student is an exclusive case, the teacher must amend their lessons to make them a great fit for each student with special needs by providing individualized education programs. Moreover, special education teachers need to wear multiple hats with plenty of unofficial responsibilities that come with the job.
  2. Parent Support

    Sometimes parents completely hold the teacher responsible for their child’s education while being reluctant to put in any effort themselves. The importance of bridging the gap between home and school is extremely crucial in special education. That’s why establishing a positive relationship with parents is so important. On the other hand, they may be overly protective. Both parental attitudes shape kids in damaging ways. Parental disregard may make special needs learners less motivated and parents who are controlling often reduce their child’s self-assurance and make it harder for them to learn.
  3. Lots of Paperwork

    Dealing with lots of paperwork and meetings has been another major issue faced by skilled special education teachers. When it comes to teaching special needs kids, it’s important to distinguish that you will most probable to have more paperwork than teachers of traditional students. Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) for students with special needs require a significant amount of time filling out paperwork.
  4. Employment

    The shortage of skilled and professional special education teachers is prevalent all across the world. The BLS projects an 8% growth in employment for K-12 special education teachers by 2026. Also, the pay is still a big question mark. Teachers need to supplement with a side gig. Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that preschool special education teachers are an exclusion, with employment growth expected to increase by 11% through 2026.

    89% school-going children with special-needs are in elementary school, 2% in higher secondary
    (Credit -
  5. Problems of an Inclusive Classroom

    Managing the various problems of an inclusive classroom is yet another challenge for special education teachers. Also, the concept of having classrooms that cover both special needs students and students who are evolving typically is becoming a popular one. It brings new challenges for a special education teacher.

    Apart from the above-mentioned major problems, here are a few more challenges that special education teachers always face ---

  • Special education teachers often work with smaller groups and may feel isolated.
  • Frequently, special education teachers are being asked to do more with less.
  • The struggle of discipline in a special needs classroom is also a big challenge.
  • Another major factor that creates a great deal of stress is the lack of proper resources.
  • Teacher evaluation is another major issue in special education teaching.
  • Seeing students fail and feeling helpless in the condition is one of the worst things about being a special needs teacher.
  • Having fun is crucial in a special education classroom.
  • Data collection is enormous in special education. You need to be able to authenticate everything you do and make sure it accords with everything in the student’s IEP.
  • Collaborating with general education teachers sometimes becomes tough!
  • Training and supervising paraprofessionals is yet another challenge that also adds an extensive amount of work as well.

The Bottom Line

The reward of this profession is getting children into the right programs for their requirements. There is a sufficient number of moments that make the job very rewarding. Special Education courses prepare the teaching professionals who want to make a career out of it. It is designed to equip you with the skills needed to effectively work with these students.

Written By: Sonal Agrawal      

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