What can school leaders do to reduce the number of special education teachers who leave each year?
Page 8: Job Design
Special educators’ jobs have been described as fragmented, with too many clerical tasks and not enough time to teach. Role overload occurs when special education teachers are unable to balance the demands of lesson planning and instruction with the other requirements of their jobs, such as attending IEP meetings, testing, writing reports, scheduling, and keeping up with paperwork. Role overload is a factor associated with special education teacher stress, dissatisfaction, and turnover. Special education teachers are clearly motivated to help their students to learn and want to spend their time on this important role, yet far too many do not see their roles as manageable.
School leaders can better structure special education roles, establish clear expectations, and help teachers avoid job stress and overload by considering the actions in the table below.
|Discuss the Job and the Expectations||Role ambiguity is a problem for new special education teachers. They might be confused about what they are expected to do.||School leaders can:
|Reduce Caseloads, Especially for New Teachers||Caseloads in special education have been growing; some suggest that they are getting close to those of general educators. Teachers with large caseloads have:
|Minimize Non-teaching Responsibilities||School leaders should eliminate unnecessary paperwork and make what is necessary clear and simple to complete.||
|Help New Teachers Locate Resources and Materials||Special educators require specialized resources for their teaching. These resources are not always readily available.||