This is an analysis of the project we did for researching a job we are interested in and believe will benefit the most from doing. We had to visit Sokanu.com to take a career test that was analyzing our traits, likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses in order to get a summary of careers best for us based on what we want to do and our personality. My top matches are as follows
- High School Teacher
- School Counselor
Despite the results for my career matches, I did not find that any of the careers that were closest to the best fit for me were anything I truly wanted to do. I looked between Counseling and Teaching, deciding that the best career for me would be a mixture of both. I decided then that the test did not matter – that I should do what I am passionate about by analyzing a career in Special Education.
My ideal job would be in a career working with young people during growth in brain development – one that would combine the knowledge of psychology, educational pedagogies, literature and composition. More specifically, I would like to work in special education because I think it could possibly be the career in which I would feel I have the most impact. My reasons for wanting to work in special education is because I am passionate about those with learning disabilities and behavioral issues, many of whom with precarious brain/emotional states, being given the opportunity to learn as and possibly beyond what their capabilities can allow. This job will have an increase in the next few years and beyond due to the ever-increasing amount of children and young adults who are diagnosed with learning disabilities and behavioral difficulties. The Bureau of Labor Statistics confirms that Special Education teachers will increase by 6% between 2014 and 2024.
Despite there being a shortage of special education teachers in the state of Georgia, Georgia has higher on average in the number of special education teachers than the rest of the United States
Moreover, it will require that I constantly learn more about English, about psychological states and teaching strategies to become a more effective teacher. I question whether it is the better of career choices because stability in work load, stress and money is one of my major factors in choosing a job. I worry about getting involved in it only because I’m afraid I would get too frustrated with the way things are in education and psychiatry, and then end up overstepping my bounds as a teacher. That’s why, even though I want to see myself working in special education, I also want to take baby-steps in finding out first if I even like being an educator before I make the commitment to
I would be interested in working for Mill Springs Academy in Milton, Georgia as an English teacher because it’s near to where I live and in a successful school for those with learning disabilities/behavioral problems finding the life skills they need in order to be successful in life. I would very well be expected to move to another location in order to find a special education job because from what I have researched on Sokanu, there is not a swarm of special education jobs in a particular area. There’s usually one school for the area that needs it. In “Fair does not mean equal: Creating an inclusive environment for students with disabilities”, I learned from Jennifer Meglemre that students are shuffled into general education classrooms from their special education main classroom – which means that the realization of the need for specialized-subject instruction to those with learning disabilities and behavioral issues is not changing any time soon. What this means to me is that I have to be open-minded to other subjects if I want to teach those with disabilities, which is something I’m not so sure I want to do. I have to then decide whether English means more to me than the psychological side to education because teachers need specializations and I cannot create hybrid specializations in already established institutions in order to have a career.
My major I am studying is English education with a minor in educational psychology. My major teaches me about rhetoric, composition, literary criticism, the major works of literature, how students relate to literature and to composition; it enables me to have a general understanding of the subject I want to teach – one that I would hope I could include in my teaching strategies. My minor in educational psychology which is about how the mind learns and it would teach me the different brain states effected by development, disorders and interests that effect how people learn; it greatly helps me because of the unique cognitive challenge of teaching to those with special needs. By the time I finish my degree, I should be informed with a basic understanding of teaching my subject, but it will not directly translate into the practical application of teaching students with special needs because of the need for additional education with more of a focus on the psychological side that I am not sure I have the money to do.
In order to become a special education teacher, I would have to follow through with a teacher certification program and/or an additional certification/specialization in special education. I would have to study for the test to become a teacher by preparing for the knowledge that is needed. Provided that I may fail the test, and or could instead be accepted into graduate school, my plan would be to get a master’s degree in any educational program I am accepted into provided that I have the money and resources to complete graduate school because those who are enrolled in graduate school would not have to take the test to become a teacher. Afterwards, I would have the opportunity to specialize in special education with the teaching experience that I had and would have the experience in teaching that would make me qualified for the job. Using additional opportunities to have internships with special needs children would enable me to be more prepared for the future career.
However, there is a wide gap between what we think is necessary for a job in education and what is actually necessary for that job in order to get hired. When I was looking up the requirements for being a Middle Grades teacher, I found that a majority if not all of the Middle Grades teachers in the state of Georgia whether they are in public or private school are more likely to be hired if they have a master’s degree. Similarly, Salary.com shows that 62% of people who are hired to work in special education have a Master’s Degree while only 29% of those who are in special education have only a Bachelor’s Degree. A bachelor’s degree has over the years become the equivalent of a high school diploma so I can only hope that I would get a job in education, except if I wanted to work in early childhood education, that I would get into a graduate school. If I don’t get into a graduate school, I probably won’t have a job by the time I graduate with a degree in English and minor in Educational Psychology so the idea of chasing after a job in special education might be a waste of time because you can’t get a job without a degree, you can’t a degree without work experience and you can’t get a job or a degree without connections – which as someone who is socially inept and interacts mostly with her cats, I don’t have.
I interviewed my sister in law about her career in special education and this is what she had to say…
“Started in 2002 in Cobb County. Had a thousand dollar signing bonus and starting salary was about 34,000. I begin work at King Springs Elementary and I have worked there for 15 years. I started in an interrelated self-contained small group class k-5. I had one paraprofessional and about 8 or so students. The first five years I felt extremely overwhelmed and over worked; however, I sought support through my department which was very beneficial. I also took advantage of professional learning courses. I choose this career because I successfully completed college as a student with a learning disability and speech and language disability. I remember my 5th grade special education teacher, Mrs. Blanchard, because she taught me to read. That changed my education and direction. I wanted to return that gift I also have patience and am passionate about advocating for students with any disability to get an education that’s right for them.“
Special Education would be my ideal career. I would feel I was living to my life purpose of understanding emotional/behavioral problems, learning disabilities, the science of how people learn and the changes that can be made in pedagogy for general education teachers that benefit everyone across the board. It requires an extensive amount of education and money. I will continue to explore my interests for the rest of senior year in teaching those who have disabilities even if I never get to do it. I will eventually get to marketing myself with the help of someone who understands social media better than I do and by creating social media accounts after I gain the knowledge that I need to become an accredited teacher. I hope that I will one day get to become a teacher and be apart of a career where people feel so much purpose and fulfillment.
Looking back, I am not as sure that this was the best career for me. I saw some mistakes in my analysis of Special Education as the most beneficial career only because I decided that I had to chose between two things that I was interested in, and because my degree in English Education has very little application to the general knowledge that one is supposed to know for a Special Education Degree. I also learned from a close, inside source with many friends going into that degree that the market is flooded. Combined with the knowledge that the pay is lower for Special Education teachers than regular teachers and that the job market is smaller as of the present for those that are needed in individual schools, I’ve decided that Special Education may not be the best career for me after all. I should have decided to choose a different career for this paper – High School Teacher. Being a high school teacher has a significantly higher pay and aligns better with my career interests.
Things I did right and wrong
- I ignored statistics. The statistics showed that Georgia is flooded with teachers and I basically ignore the data, believing that I would get a job.
- I underestimated the work load cost. In proposing a project, one would want to use the easier method that would cost the least money. If the path to a goal in a project I could propose would be so blatantly long and tedious, it would have actually been better if I scrapped the idea entirely and chose the easier option.
- I also failed to demonstrate an emotional attachment to the career. If someone were to what to know my interest in a future job, I would want to communicate that the job seems to be the best way for me to make an effective change in the world. That I was excited for the career. I only chose Special Education because it aligns with my interests, that does not mean it is the best job for me.
- I did use a lot of research in my paper. I went right through deciding the pros and cons, concluding based on the evidence in a logical manner so that others could go through a similar inference process with career options.
My ideal job would be in a career working with young people during growth in brain development – one that would combine the knowledge of psychology, educational pedagogies, literature and composition. My major I am studying is English education with a minor in educational psychology. My major teaches me about rhetoric, composition, literary criticism, the major works of literature, how students relate to literature and to composition; it enables me to have a general understanding of the subject I want to teach – one that I would hope I could include in my teaching strategies. My minor in educational psychology which is about how the mind learns and it would teach me the different brain states effected by development, disorders and interests that effect how people learn. As a teacher, I would want to utilize different methods of linguistic pedagogy and educational pedagogy to best engage students into an interest of writing and reading as to dictate their long-term interest and developing knowledge-based skills. The best job for this would be a job in High School Education, where I could go extensively into the subjects of Rhetoric and Literature in a body of students that take their education seriously and where my expertise is valuable.
Re-writing that paragraph, I realize that I am still set on Middle Grades Education as my degree is a more broad-based knowledge of Rhetoric and Literature without the specialization of only Literature and/or only Writing that is required for High School. All in all, I find my career-searching to be a continual process of trial and error. While I’m grateful for taking the assessment via Sokanu to find what career I would be best suited for based on my interests and characteristics, I’m not going to let it define my entire career decisions.