The Attributes That Make an Excellent Special Education Teacher

A special education teacher must possess specific attributes to succeed without numerous roadblocks hindering them. Anyone who enters the education profession does so because of a particular calling, with the intent to help children and make a positive difference in the next generation’s lives. Many perceive teachers as organized, confident, detail-oriented, and caring human beings. However, those who succeed in a special education career face additional challenges in the classroom that benefit from educators liability & employment practices liability. These exceptional educators possess extra characteristics that help them support their students’ particular needs.

What Makes a Great Special Education Teacher

The following qualities are part of what makes a great SPED teacher.

A Special Education Teacher is Adaptable

The nature of special education means that the teacher will see a day of change, novelty, and uncertainty. Exceptional students are often unpredictable, and their needs are highly individualized, creating a new daily experience. Even the most experienced teachers cannot foresee what may occur on any given day, regardless of the meticulously detailed planning they may have completed. Adaptability is critical for special education teachers, starting with the understanding that these students are unique humans with various strengths and limitations that require their teachers’ flexibility to succeed.

A Special Education Teacher is Communicative

An educator’s communication is essential, mainly when working with exceptional children. SPED teachers must collaborate with other teachers, assistants, social workers, and psychologists, which requires strong written and oral communication skills. They must build cooperative relationships and create rapport with students and families, in addition to advocating for the needs of special education students with school-level and district administration.

A Special Education Teacher is Empathetic

Special education students often have trouble regulating their emotions, expressing their ideas, communicating their thoughts, and controlling their behavior. SPED teachers must employ empathy when working with these students, who frequently require more personal attention.

A Special Education Teacher is Patient

Working with students who display a variety of emotional, physical, and mental difficulties requires a high level of patience on the part of the special education teacher. Calmness and encouragement are essential for diffusing frustrating situations that often result from exceptional students struggling with tasks that come quickly to their normative peers. Part of patience understands that the students must complete the work independently, even though the teacher might find the temptation to speed it up by finishing it for them.


Special education teachers must be creative and resourceful to adapt general education plans to accommodate the needs of exceptional students. Educators must deliver skills and standards from a traditional classroom to enable the students to grasp and engage in complex concepts. In addition, these teachers must design Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) to assist each student in reaching their specific learning goals.


Most educators enter the profession because they are service oriented. Teachers are generally predisposed to being attentive, considerate, cooperative, and helpful. Their genuine concern for students and passion for assisting them in their growth and learning helps sustain these educators through the most stressful and demanding parts of the job. The most successful special education teachers can encourage students when they feel defeated and when they achieve success.

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