According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Better screening and identification of various disabilities in children are expected to increase the demand for special education services. In addition, children with disabilities are being identified earlier and enrolled into special education programs, increasing the need for special education teachers in preschool and kindergarten grades.”

(Photo Courtesy of Carlitta Tucker-Powell)

(Photo Courtesy of Carlitta Tucker-Powell)

Carlitta Tucker-Powell, Case Manager and Special Education Teacher for Chicago Public Schools, offers some insight into what it takes to succeed in the special education field.

How does your education relate to your current role?

“I have a master’s degree in special education, and a Master’s of Education in curriculum and instruction. At Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy, I am responsible for managing teachers and para-professionals through annual meetings involving student education plans, goals and progress. As the direct liaison for parent concerns and questions, I am responsible for taking care of any issues that may arise during the child’s time at school. As an inclusion teacher, I go into several classes with students who are identified as needing assistance in their general education courses. I provide accommodations and modifications to the students’ work if necessary, and collaborate with teachers to ensure everything is being done for student success.”

How has your education contributed to your success?

“My education has introduced me to a world I would not have had the opportunity to understand or contribute to if I had not acquired the information I did from my graduate program in special education. The success in my career is directly related to the classes I took in graduate school that introduced me to the field of special education, and the many challenges and opportunities I would encounter working with diverse learners.”

What advice can you offer others entering the education field?

“My advice for someone going into special education is to understand that all of your knowledge won’t come from the classroom. There will be curves and bumps; but if you always keep in the back of your mind the reason you considered going into education in the first place, the challenges you may face will not seem very big at all! Education is a very rewarding field to enter.”

Sara Lugardo is a professional writer out of Chicago, Illinois. She has a bachelor’s in communication and is currently working on her master’s. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.