Special Education Approach and Practices

by Josie Barton

Savanna Wilson is a K-5 Special Education Teacher at Hampton Elementary School since September of 2020. Wilson’s goal as a teacher is to change children’s lives for the better through a fun and productive learning environment. She strives to engage both academically and personally to her students to build relationships.

“My students are my biggest achievement,” Wilson said.

Wilson holds high expectations for her students. “Every student learns differently,” she remarked.

She believes that her role as a teacher includes providing tools her students can use to find success. Before each lesson, Wilson makes sure to inform her students of the importance of that days’ lesson.

Wilson believes community in the classroom is most important to student success and communication provides a comfortable learning environment for children. Wilson makes sure to communicate her expectations directly to her students.

Since Wilson works in special education, the structure of her lessons requires in-person communication. Unfortunately, Coronavirus restricts face-to-face contact. Many of Wilson’s students are non-verbal, so several communicative issues arise through remote learning. Other students require occupational or physical therapy in school which cannot be provided over Zoom.

Students in special education require a different learning environment and lesson structure than students in general education. “Special education is very individualized so It’s difficult to know if your student is progressing on their preexisting educational abilities,” Wilson said.

“Empathy, trustworthiness, passion, and organization are the most important skills every teacher should possess,” Wilson said. She believes, through experience, that students will respect their teacher more when they trust the position in authority. “This leads to less behavioral problems,” she added.

Wilson advises students who are looking to work toward a career in education to get certified in special education along with general education because public schools are becoming more inclusive.

“Networking is very important. Don’t be afraid to put your foot in the door to open further job opportunities,” Wilson said.

On the account of student learning, Wilson said, “Students learn in thousands of different ways. Don’t hesitate to use your own personality to great lengths to teach a lesson to your students.”

Wilson’s future goals are to land a position in general or special education so she can provide her own unique classroom environment to students. Wilson also wants to go back to school for her master’s in special education or to receive her reading specialist certification.

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