Travel Nurse Stories, Resources, and Tips

Travel Nurse Stories, Resources,
and Tips

The new school year is here and teachers across the country are gearing up for another exciting year of educating the next generations.

Back-to-School Tips and Tricks for Teachers: Special Education Edition

The new school year is here and teachers across the country are gearing up for another exciting year of educating the next generations.

For special education teachers, speech-language pathologists, and occupational therapists, this time can bring both excitement and a dash of nerves. Those first day of school jitters aren’t just for the kids so we put together a list of tips and tricks to help you make a positive impact on your students and ensure a successful academic year.

Read on to dive in!

Review Your Individualized Education Plans (IEPs)

As a special education teacher, SLP, or OT, you are working with students who have diverse learning needs that change throughout the school year. One way to prepare for this is to thoroughly review each student’s IEP from previous school years to understand their unique goals, accommodations, and specific needs. If you are familiar with this information early on, you can devote more time on the first day of school to connecting with each student.

Having a deep knowledge of the student’s unique needs will also help you tailor your lessons and interventions for the new school year accordingly. This will level up your skills and ensure that each of your students receives the support they require.

Collaborate with General Education Teachers

Every school district operates a little differently, but it is no secret that teachers are in the school building weeks before that first day to prepare for their new classroom. Utilize these student-less days to connect with the general education teachers in your new district. Get familiar with the building, the schedule, and the culture to build your own comfort.

As you familiarize yourself, you can begin to connect with the teachers and collaborate to reach the best success together for students with special needs. You can brainstorm some strategies, learn about the history of progress, and make any modifications needed to facilitate a smooth learning experience for students in inclusive classrooms.

Create a Positive and Inclusive Environment

In the days leading up to the first day of school, spend some time decorating the classroom with positive and encouraging posters, diverse books, and visual aids that cater to different learning styles. Encouraging students to appreciate each other’s differences and promote a culture of respect and acceptance will help create a warm and welcoming environment.

Utilize Assistive Technology and Implement Multi-Sensory Teaching Techniques

Assistive Technology can be a powerful tool for special education teachers, SLPs, and OTs. Explore various apps, software, and devices designed to support students with different disabilities. From communication apps for non-verbal students to interactive learning platforms, assistive technology can enhance the learning experience you bring to the classroom.

Multi-sensory learning experiences cater to diverse learning styles and typically result in high engagement with students. You can incorporate visuals, hands-on activities, and auditory aids into your lessons. This approach helps students retain information better and can be especially effective for those with learning differences.

Utilizing assistive technology and adding multi-sensory techniques into your classroom repertoire will push your students to achieve their next milestone in progress.

Foster Independence and Social Skill Development

Encouraging independence in your students and setting aside time for social development is another way your teaching skills will stand out and drive results with your students. Teaching life skills and fostering self-advocacy will empower your special needs students to become more self-reliant, improving their confidence and overall quality of life.

Take Breaks When You Can

It’s easy to feel in the first few weeks of the school year that the to-do’s on your list never end. We encourage you to be proactive and intentional with your time away from the classroom. Planning breaks to refuel, whether it be a social break, a meal break, or a rest break, try to tap into your own needs and set aside time from there. Honoring your own needs will only allow you to show up better for your students throughout the school year.

Prioritize Self-Care

Along with taking breaks comes self-care. This is another way to reset your mind and your body, especially after an emotionally or physically demanding day. Prioritizing self-care can prevent burnout and helps you maintain a healthy work-life balance. Find time for activities that rejuvenate your mind and body, such as exercise, your favorite hobbies, or spending time with loved ones.

Gifted is Here to Help

As you prepare for the new school year, remember that each student is unique, and your dedication to their growth and development makes a significant impact on their lives. Embrace the challenges with enthusiasm, and always celebrate the victories – no matter how small they may seem.

Always remember, Gifted is here to help you every step of the way. Lean on your recruiter and Gifted team for resources to help you keep doing your best. Together, we can create an inclusive and nurturing learning environment for all of your students!