Tips, Tricks + Advice for First Year Special Ed Teachers

Check out tips, tricks and advice for first year special ed teachers so you don’t get overwhelmed! Are you a brand new special education teacher? Keep reading!

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Being a brand new special education teacher is overwhelming, to say the least. Back when I began teaching-I wish there would have been more advice and resources available for my special ed classroom. This is why it is my passion to make your first year in special education as successful as it can be! Check out the tips, tricks and advice below for first year special education teachers!

Survival Guide for the First Year Special Education Teacher

How do you survive your first year teaching special education? This is a pretty loaded question, isn’t it? I so wish for you that there was a magic wand to wave to give you 20 things to do to make your year a breeze. Instead let’s talk practical advice that will help you to have a really great plan for your new position. Check out this advice below for first year special ed teachers!

survival guide for the first year special education teacher

Tips, Tricks & Advice for First Year Special Ed Teachers

As a new special education teacher, there are 4 important things that I want you to remember:

1. You will make mistakes (and learn from them).

If I had a dollar for every mistake that I made during my first year of teaching special education, I would probably be pretty rich. There is so much “on the job learning” with special education that college just cannot teach. Here is a list of 5 mistakes that I see new teachers make often.

2. Always have a plan in place but know that things will come up and “change” your plan.

You can type up beautiful lessons for the entire week or month if you want to. You definitely want to have a plan of action for each day. But beware that things will still “arise” throughout the day and week that may make some things go on the back burner:

  • There may be behavior issues with a student.
  • Your paraprofessional that you were going to have take data may get called to sub for another class.
  • There may be a surprise fire drill you were not expecting.
  • Some lessons and routines may take longer at first then you anticipated.

3. Make sure you have structure and routine in your day.

Structure and routine are important for a few reasons:

  • Structure and routine helps eliminate power struggles because students know what is coming.
  • Having a classroom routine with visual schedules helps students to be more independent at school.
  • A routine and schedule also makes it easier for staff members to step in when needed if you get pulled from your classroom.

Try starting your day with a morning meeting! Your students and staff will love it! Plus, once you have it prepped-it is ready for the ENTIRE YEAR! (That’s a huge win!)

4. Establish relationships with your students and show them that you care

When you engage and interact in a friendly manner and truly get to know your students, this is where the real magic happens. Take an interest in their preferred activities, what makes them smile and what strengths they have. Students will begin to feel comfortable with you and you will get MUCH MORE learning done when you have a safe and secure relationship established. Check out some simple ways to get to know your students.

establish relationships with your students and learn their preferred activities

First Year Special Education Must-Haves

Being a first year teacher in special education can be pretty overwhelming. Sometimes you are walking into a totally empty room without any supplies or curriculum. I wish someone would have told me these 5 must-haves for a successful special education classroom.

First Year Special Education Checklist

As a brand new special ed teacher, here is a checklist of all the things you want to complete or have before the beginning of school:

  • Read through IEPs and take some time to get organized with the IEP Planner.
  • Take some time to create IEP goal bins. (You will be glad you did later in the year when things get crazier).
  • Start making a schedule with input from other teachers, paras and related service providers. (And then know that it will be edited a bunch throughout the year!)

Or make it easier on yourself and purchase the Special Education Classroom Setup Bundle For New Teachers.

the morning message from the special education classroom setup bundle

First Week of School in Special Education

Your room might be set up, you have checked over IEPs and now comes the more difficult part-what do you teach during the first week of school? You can make it simple on yourself and grab The First 10 Days of School Plans. These plans will teach students different school routines through social stories and comprehension activities. In addition there are crafts and visual recipes to use as well.

Ultimate Survival Guide for New Special Education Teachers

If you need a one stop shop for all resources for brand new special education teachers, you are going to want to check out the Ultimate Guide resource for new special education teachers.

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What other questions do you have or things do you need help with as a first year special education teacher? I am here to help!

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