Special Ed. Math

Yesterday I got a chance to observe a special education math class. It was a small class with only 12 students and it wasn’t what I expected. None of the kids had anything like downs syndrome or severe autism, I think they all just had various learning disabilities. I got the chance to go over two problems with the class and I really enjoyed it. The first problem was a unit conversion and the second one was a word problem about an inequality.

I saw that the way he taught the class was very similar to how I’ve helped my sister with math. After I would do one step of the problem, the teacher asked every student individually if they understood what just happened and if they had any questions. When I asked the class if they had ideas for what the next step in the problem would be, the teacher would relate it to other things they knew or concepts that were easier for them to understand. That’s exactly how I’d help my sister. I’d go over the problem with her, ask her if she understood every step (because they don’t always realize they don’t get it, or they don’t speak up about not understanding, you *must* ask them), and many times, break down a more complex problem into an easier one.

I could see a bunch of the kids getting frustrated when they didn’t know what was going on, but they also light up more than mainstream kids when they finally understand something. I also found out that there’s a unique certification for special education math. I think that might be my calling in life. Teaching math is the most fun when the kid is either very smart, or struggling. When the kid is smart you can challenge what they know with more advanced concepts and when the kid is struggling you have to figure out multiple ways of explaining one concept. But teachers for honors classes aren’t in demand. Special ed. teacher’s are. Now all I need to do is find out what the certification requirements are 😀

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