It is one of the great blessings of public education that children who at one time might have been characterized as unable to learn now can prosper in a public school. They do so thanks to a group of teachers with some extraordinary gifts of imagination and patience: special education teachers.
So many of these children have made tremendous advances that will change the rest of their lives, thanks to a great teacher.
It is, therefore, frightening to the parents of special needs children to consider that with the opening of traditional-calendar school closing in, there is a shortage of special education teachers in Wake County. Specifically, the county needs more than three dozen special education specialists who can teach children with autism and moderate intellectual disabilities. Teachers so trained know how, for example, to modify a classroom to more efficiently get and maintain the attention of students.
Special education students also get individual attention. One 10-year-old boy in the Wake schools, for example, was found to respond well to a teacher who could play and make him laugh. For such teachers, the task of doing their jobs can be more demanding – but more rewarding as well.
What to do about the shortage? The Wake schools office is having a “hiring blitz” for licensed special education teachers a week from today. Given the low morale among our state’s educators in the wake of their poor treatment by lawmakers and their continuing low pay, may enough saints still answer the call.