Why Educators Should Become Avid Readers

It is very odd whenever I meet an educator who doesn’t like to read or won’t take the time to read. So much of educating students well is based on the ability to read, so if people in the education field just stop reading, it will negatively impact the students they are trying to educate. Research has shown that once college students finish college, they tend to stop reading and spend most of their time on social media. It is vital that educators not fall into that same negative trend, because it will negatively impact the entire field of education and more importantly, the outcomes of students.There are many reasons why educators should become avid readers both personally and professionally. Let’s begin by discussing why people go into education in the first place. Some want to make a difference in the lives of students, some have a basic love of learning that makes them passionate about teaching others that same love, and some were once inspired by a teacher who had a major positive impact on their own lives. Whatever their reason for going into education, reading is the foundation of their passion, their success, and indeed their interest in education overall.If you are in the education field, you already know how important it is to get your students to read daily. It is how they prepare for the daily lessons you are teaching them. Indeed, research has demonstrated that students who read a lot both in and out of school generally perform better in school. Well, what about the teachers? Shouldn’t they also read, so they can be good role models for the pupils they are teaching? Be a good model for their students to read as well? If a teacher demonstrates a joy for reading, his or her students will become eager to read and even enjoy reading.Further still, teachers who make reading a big part of their educational journey are on the way to their own self-improvement as well as that of their students. School leaders who make reading a key skill in their schools are positively influencing their students and also their staffs. Some schools utilize The Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) Program for their students. In it, the staff drops everything and will have silent reading for a certain length of time every day. They know that DEAR can impact the entire school and its learning atmosphere and student outcomes.As educators, we know that all reading is beneficial, but educators should spend even more time identifying books, articles, and magazines that can help them become experts in their field as well. (The education field as well as their specialty?)
Below are some of the benefits educators will gain if they become avid readers:1. Stimulate the Mind – Constant stimulation will improve the brain and even slow the progress of mental disease.
2. Acquire Knowledge – The more you read, the more knowledge you gain and the better you are equipped for the challenges ahead.
3. Sharpen Writing Skills – The more exposure you have to well-written material, the better your writing will become.
4. Improve Critical and Analytical Skills- Being able to discuss, provide details, and use your critical thinking skills are all positive outcomes of reading regularly.
5. Improve Memory- While reading, you will remember an assortment of facts, and that skill will strengthen your memory.
6. Expand Vocabulary -The more you read, the more words you will see, gather, understand and use again either for future better reading or even for writing.
7. Boost Concentration – When reading, your full attention is focused on what you are reading, a valuable skill to have for learning and teaching others and one’s career
8. Reduce Stress – Reading can distract you and keep your mind off other difficult situations. Reading can even relax you, become a pleasurable activity.As educators, we should never stop learning and reading. Being an avid reader should be one of the many goals that educators should practice because they want to keep up with the best skills in education, and be able work to achieve their fullest potential in their own specialty. Good teachers also want their students to reach their fullest potentials. Becoming an avid reader can help both teachers and their students become their very best.
Remember— reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. It keeps the mind fit.

An Inside Look at the Special Education Profession

Special education professionals work to promote students’ overall behavioral, social and academic growth. Special education professionals aide students in developing socially appropriate behavior within their family, school and community. Teachers of special education help students become more confident in their social interactions. Special education professionals administer activities that build students’ life skills.What Does the Job Entail?Are you interested in helping others? Can you handle and care for people who learn differently and have other behavioral problems? Do you want to make a difference in a young child’s life? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you might consider a career in special education. Below is a breakdown of the short and long-term responsibilities of a special education teacher.First and foremost, special education teachers focus on the development and academic needs of children with disabilities. They encourage learning in disabled students by implementing educational modules and behavioral techniques. Special education teachers work alone or with general education teachers to individualize lessons, develop problem-solving techniques and integrate children into group projects with other students. Furthermore, special education teachers are responsible for ensuring that the needs of disabled children are met during assessment periods.Did you know that special education teachers work with a team of professionals, qualified staff and family in order to fulfill their job requirements? It is true. In fact, special education teachers work in conjunction with these entities to create an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for each student. An IEP is designed in collaboration with a child’s parents, school principal, social worker, speech pathologist and general education teacher to ensure effective implementation. An IEP targets a student’s needs and growth areas for maximum response. The specialized goals set by the IEP are woven throughout all aspects of a child’s daily activities. Teachers of special education must monitor a child’s setbacks and progress and report back to parents and administrators. Planned goals and tasks are outlined for family members to refer to while a student is at home as well.The types of disabilities a special education teacher might encounter are difficult to predict. For one, the qualifications for special education services vary greatly from mild disabilities to extreme cases of mental retardation or autism. Types of disabilities include, but are not limited to, the following: speech impairments, hearing disabilities, emotional disturbances, orthopedic impairments, brain trauma cases, blindness, deafness and learning disabilities.Do You Exhibit These Qualities?Now that you have an idea of the job’s demands, let’s see if you have the right qualities to be a special education teacher.Recognize the symptoms and needs of special needs studentsPatienceAbility to work with one or more parties to achieve short-term and long-term goalsStrong communication skillsAbility to motivate othersAbility to multi-taskKnowledge of the most recent education modules, medical research and behavioral practicesCreativityKnowledge of the latest medical technology relevant to special educationTaking the Next Step toward a New CareerOnce you have decided to enter the field of special education, you will need to follow several steps. Due to the specialization of the field, special education teachers in all 50 states must receive licensure before employment. Licensures are approved by each state’s board of education, and the requirements for certification differ between states. Nevertheless, the growing shortage of special education teachers has led institutions of higher education to offer more special education degree and certification programs. In fact, special education degrees are offered at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels throughout the nation. Not to mention, the booming field of distance learning has made certification more accessible from any location in the United States.In many cases, hopeful special education professionals do not meet the requirements of special education licensure due to their prior completion of degree programs outside of the field of education. Therefore, several states have begun to offer alternate forms of certification. The hope of these programs is to attract new special education professionals and fill the growing need for teachers. The chance to positively impact the lives of special needs children is one of the driving motivations and benefits of entering this field.After several years, some special education teachers look for new opportunities within their field. In the most common situations, special education professionals transfer to administrative or supervisory positions. Others, after receiving a higher degree, become college professors and educate new students in the field of special education. Experienced teachers of special needs students have also moved up to serve as mentors to incoming special education teachers.As for the future of special education and employment, there are many changes on the horizon. Most significantly, the job market in special education, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), is projected to “increase faster than the average of all occupations by 2014.” Due to the new emphasis on education and training in legislature, special education professionals will become even more valued.Can I Make a Living as a Special Education Teacher?As mentioned previously, the special education job market is on the rise. In 2004, the BLS reported 441,000 employed special education teachers in the nation. While only 6 percent worked within private schools, over 90 percent were employed by public schools or districts. In rare cases, special education professionals were involved in home or hospital care.Several factors determine a special education teacher’s financial compensation. Such factors include experience, educational background, area of specialty and geographical location. In May 2004, the BLS reported the following breakdown of median annual earnings of special education teachers:Preschool, kindergarten and elementary school level: – $43,570Middle school level: – $44,160Secondary school level: – $45,700
Special education teachers receive increases in salary through additional involvement in their schools’ educational activities and through coaching school athletic teams. In some districts, being a mentor to a new special education teacher carries additional monetary benefits. However, the most common way to increase earnings is through the completion of a higher degree, which can also make a teacher’s instruction more credible and valuable.