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About Collaboration Among Regular & Special Education Teachers

by Dr. Nesa Sasser

Special education teachers serve as prominent resources for general education teachers. Their collaboration requires trust, communication, planning time and coordination of effort. These professionals manage case files of special education students by making adjustments to student instructional plans, and they serve as liaisons between general education teachers and parents. General education teachers look to inclusion teachers for guidance on instructional planning, classroom management and parent communication.

Case Managers

Special education teachers serve as case managers for special education students. General education teachers look to case managers for advice on special education students during collaborative meetings involving teachers, students and parents. Case managers lead admission, review and dismissal meetings made up of teachers, parents and administrators who document student progress toward their individualized education programs. The IEP describes instructional and behavioral goals and any special support needed to boost achievement for special education students, according the an article by Kids Health. Special education instructors frequently meet with general education teachers about their assigned student caseloads.

Inclusion Teachers

Special education teachers who instruct special education students while they attend general education classes are called inclusion teachers. They must effectively multitask their duties that include maintaining accurate student records, communicating with parents and co-teaching with general education teachers. According to a study by "Teach Hub," co-teaching teams, made up of general and inclusion teachers, are responsible for instructional planning and delivery, assessing student achievement and facilitating classroom management. Inclusion instructors typically teach the general education curriculum to all students as well as implement IEPs.

Student Education Programs

Special education teachers set up cooperative teaching arrangements that use a variety of styles aimed to fit student needs, resources, time and teacher skills for a dynamic learning experience. The teachers revise the instructional plans and communicate with parents so they can be well informed of student expectations.

Parent Liaisons

Special education teachers collaborate with general education teachers as they serve as liaisons between general education teachers and parents. Special education teachers are responsible for contacting parents, getting approvals to lead review meetings and having parents and students sign necessary paperwork. A study by Access STEM says that special education teachers monitor accommodations -- alterations of environment, curriculum format, or equipment that allow special education students to gain access to education content or complete assigned tasks. The specialists might also suggest modifications, which represent a change in the curriculum for special education students who are unable to comprehend all of the content of a class.

About the Author

Dr. Nesa Sasser has served as teacher, school counselor, principal, and college professor. She earned a BBA in accounting from Texas A&M University; an MS in counseling; and an Ed.D. in educational leadership both from Texas A&M Univeristy-Commerce. Her dissertation related to Teacher Quality and Alternative Certification in Texas.

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