Special education teachers have contractual professional goals that include writing IEPs (Individualized Education Plan) for each student in special education.
Goals should include learning objectives and outcomes that grow both teachers and students in and beyond the classroom.
Goals for each student’s specific needs
Keep in mind that each student is different. Each student's IEP (Individualized Education Plan) will be differentiated and individualized according to their learning deficiencies and skill levels. Your professional goals must meet the individual needs of your students in creating the student's IEP; implementing the legalities of the IEP in academic and behavioral skills for the mainstream and special education classroom; and ensuring that student's are being served when assignments and readings need to be modified.
Goals and objectives should be realistic and attainable
Make sure you will be able to achieve your goals. It’s always better to have less expectations and succeed with more than you planned. Remember that you will need time to meet your student's specific needs and your own. Take into consideration the current level of each student's skills. If you are a new teacher you need to learn about each student before you write your professional goals to align with your student's needs and expectations. Review the classroom grades and assessments to help you learn about each student's progress and educational needs in the classroom.
Follow the school district guidelines
Make sure you read the school district guidelines. Most of the time they have special rules for writing your professional goals. You can also ask the special education director for some specific criteria. Goals must include school, District and personal goals that are aligned with reading, math and testing growth for each student.
Ask for the help of the general education teacher
If the student is part of a general education classroom, you have the chance to collaborate with the teacher. He/she will be able to provide you with a lot of useful information. You can provide professional advice to each other about new goals and objectives for the student. The general education teacher can inform you about how well the student is performing by providing consistent verbal and written feedback.
Challenging goals and objectives for each special education student
Keep in mind that the goals should not be the same ones during each new school year. They must change according to their individual performance. The professional goals for a special education teacher must be reasonable, but at the same time challenging for the student. Try to keep the special education student engaged in learning and the teacher engaged in the instruction.
Individualized Education Plan (IEP)
Special education teacher will organize a Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for every student. This will also include any transition goals for middle school or high school. The Individualized Education Program will also be discussed with the parents.
Another important aspect of the professional goals for a special education teacher is preparing the student for the social life. Teaching the student how to behave after graduation and during the school years leading up to graduation may be an integral component for some student's IEP, so it is also part of the teacher’s job to insure that teaching social skills is a part of the student's educational plan.
To be able to set the best goals for the students you should arrange meetings with the parents and other involved teachers. Together you will succeed in meeting each student’s needs. Ask them if they have any problem with your list of objectives and provide amendments in the IEP if necessary to meet the student's learning goals.
Professional goals for special education teachers can include a number of opportunities to grow and develop learning objectives and outcomes that will grow students for a lifetime.