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1. Set up a routine for your students
All students but especially those with special needs have their learning experience enhanced by a routine that gives them confidence. It gives a structure and minimizes discipline problems for children of different learning abilties.

2. Have your students involved in classroom decoration
This is a fun way to get everyone involved in their learning environment, and can be split up in several arts, crafts and writing activities. A classroom is never too much decorated.

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3. Be patient
You will not master special education in a day. Be patient with yourself, and with your students. Each year, things will get better over time as you know them better and find what works for you all.

4. Be organized
You will soon discover that as soon as you think you are done with paperwork, there is more to do. Keep up with it in a timely manner or you will be fast buried unto it.

5. Be dynamic
You will spend time looking for your path and then suddenly, something will change. A new student may be added to your classroom, there may be changes in the school staff, or your students start to behave differently. Do not take any of this personally and move on to find the next best solution!

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6. Adapt testing to your students
Not all children need to be tested the same way. Unlike mainstream classrooms, yours is special because you have the opportunity to make these students feel bright. For instance, the test can be in writing for some, in speaking for others.

7. Communicate with parents
They will love getting news from the classroom, but they will also provide you with amazingly helpful information on your students. They’ve probably figured out a few things on their child before you and what they haven’t figured out, you can share with them. Communication is the key.

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8. Do your research before buying supplies
Some school supplies out there are not truly adapted to special needs kids. Check that they are safe, easy to use and frustration free before making your purchase.

9. Find someone you can speak to
They don’t have to be in your field. It can be a friend, your spouse or whoever you are comfortable with! It’s always good to have a fresh set of eyes on your everyday problems or even just be able to vent.

10. Talk with other special ed teachers
They will always have interesting tips that worked in their classroom. It can be overwhelming if you try to make them all happen at once, but do take pieces of advice here and there based on your own classroom style.

11. Be proud of what you do
Because, you can! Remember those days when becoming a special ed teacher was just an idea and see all you have done. You do one of the most beautiful jobs in the world. Believe us, many parents out there are jealous of the time you spend with their little ones. They would take your seat, if only they could.

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12. Finally, relax!
You ARE a superhero (all teachers are). But even superheroes take breaks. Remind yourself that not everything can be perfect and as long as you have the right attitude, it will all work out.

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