Education is one of the most rewarding professions. Special education is particularly rewarding. The joy you feel when a person who is having problems makes some progress is unmatched in any other field. But to be a special education teacher takes a special type of person. It not only requires special training, one must also be very patient and love people no matter what their special needs. If you are the type of person who combines all these elements then a career in special education could be for you.To teach special education you must be licensed. Getting a license requires you to have at least a bachelor’s degree and complete an approved training course in teaching special education. Some states require a master’s degree. Acquiring the training is not very difficult. Many colleges offer undergraduate, graduate and doctorate level courses in the field. Teachers who want to focus on special education often have to complete longer periods of training than teachers in other areas. You can choose to specialize within the special education field or you may pursue general special education training. The last year of training usually entails working in a classroom under the supervision of a certified teacher.Teachers wishing to work in special education often receive general training and must then receive further training in a particular area that prepares them to work with people with physical, mental or emotional difficulties. Depending on the state in which you live or hope to work you may be required to be licensed to teach people with a wide range of disabilities or one of the many different subsets within special education. You should contact the board of education in your state to find out their specific requirement for certification.There are alternate routes to a career in special education. Some states allow people with at least a bachelor’s degree who receive supervised training through a college or an accredited program, teach under supervision for 12 to 24 months and pass an assessment test to be certified. Many of these alternative certification classes are designed to encourage people without a traditional teaching background to enter the profession. These non-traditional teachers may bring unique talents in art or music which they attempt to use to reach out to students who traditional teaching methods have been unable to reach.But teaching those with special needs requires more than academic training. It takes dedication to master the craft. There have been many instances where people with excellent teaching credentials and a genuine interest in helping special needs students have been unable to succeed when they try to work in special education. Working with people with special needs can frustrate even the most well-meaning individuals. Some come into the field with unrealistic expectations of the impact they can have on the students they work with. Often the pace of learning is glacially slow or the students and the new teacher fail to connect for whatever reason.Some new teachers fit right in. They are able to reach the students and help them to make remarkable strides. Other new teachers are just naturally patient and accept the pace at which their students learn and are satisfied when the students make incremental progress. Occasionally there are special education teachers who are able to make major breakthroughs. They may have a natural feel for the classroom and the students or are able to create innovative ways to reach the students and help them to make real progress. Their new techniques can then be shared with others in the field.Patience, creativity, organization, the ability to accept and understand the differences in others and the ability to motivate people with special needs are essential for a successful career. Often teachers who are able to identify, appreciate and celebrate small victories with their students find it easier to work with students with special needs. But there are no hard and fast rules. Teachers must know the basics of education, but to be successful they must also be perceptive and, above all else, patient.Few things are more rewarding than knowing you have made an impact on the lives of people who are struggling to reach their full potential. If this holds interest for you then you may be ideally suited for a career as a special education teacher.
Most high school graduates are pretty much on their own when it comes to furthering their education, since parents are not able to help due to the increased cost of living throughout the United States. This was usually the case until just recently, when many different programs were developed for aspiring college students to make their dreams come true. Because not all students qualify for financial aid and other programs, they are left to cover the entire cost of their education, including books, lab fees, and living costs.One program that was recently developed is the Education IRA, which works just like a retirement IRA. IRAs are meant to help people save up for a certain event in their life, like retirement or college education. The Education IRA is meant to help students save up for their college education, unlike other programs, which only offer tax incentives for high education expenses.An Education IRA is a tax-advantaged saving account program that was created in 1997 by the Taxpayer Relief Act. Anyone is able to contribute to an Education IRA, whether related to the account beneficiary or not. There is a $2,000 maximum limit to an Education IRA, as long as the parent’s earned income is under $190,000. Families with smaller incomes are able to make smaller contributions to the account, and individual filers are also granted the same option for contribution.An Education IRA is very similar to a Roth IRA, since after-tax money is sheltered in an account to save up for a certain event. The money in the account will remain tax-free as long as all the money will go to education costs only. By setting a savings account up for education costs, a great amount of money can be made by the time a child is ready to continue their education. Education IRAs are best when they are started when the child is young, so they will have many years of built up interest to use for the child’s education.An Education IRA is a very effective method when trying to get money to put a child through college, since it is earned money rather than a loan. Because all of the money earned on an Education IRA is actually earned and not loaned, there will be no payments to pay back any costs of education. Education loans carry high interest rates and can take years to pay off, but Education IRAs can cover all of the costs without having to pay anything back.Setting up an education IRA for children is very important, because it gives them a chance to go to college and pursue any dream they wish. With the costs of college education rising, it is important to have a plan to put a child through school while they are still young, until waiting until the last minute and having to take out loans or refinancing homes.It is not necessary to contribute the entire $2,000 each year for each student, and you actually can choose not to make any contributions in a given year. You can contribute to the account each year until the child reaches eighteen years of age, with the exception of special needs children who can receive contributions after their eighteenth birthday. If funds remain in the Education IRA account after the school is paid for, it is subject to taxes and penalties that are determined by the bank. Unlike most other IRA accounts, Education IRA accounts allow you to withdraw money at any time. It is up to the account holder to make sure the funds are going toward education only, since this is what is outlined in an Education IRA.You can contact your local bank or financial institution for more information on Education IRA or any other type of IRA accounts.
Education is the primary agent of transformation towards sustainable development, increasing people’s capacities to transform their visions for society into reality. Education not only provides scientific and technical skills, it also provides the motivation, and social support for pursuing and applying them. For this reason, society must be deeply concerned that much of current education falls far short of what is required. When we say this, it reflects the very necessities across the cultures that allow everyone become responsible towards quality enhancement.Improving the quality and revelation of education and reorienting its goals to recognize the importance of sustainable development must be among society’s highest priorities. It is not that we talk only about environment but also about every component of life.We therefore need to clarify the concept of education for sustainable development. It was a major challenge for educators during the last decade. The meanings of sustainable development in educational set ups, the appropriate balance of peace, human rights, citizenship, social equity, ecological and development themes in already overloaded curricula, and ways of integrating the humanities, the social sciences and the arts into what had up-to-now been seen and practiced as a branch of science education.Some argued that educating for sustainable development ran the risk of programming while others wondered whether asking schools to take a lead in the transition to sustainable development was asking too much of teachers.These debates were compounded by the desire of many, predominantly environmental, NGOs to contribute to educational planning without the requisite understanding of how education systems work, how educational change and innovation takes place, and of relevant curriculum development, professional development and instructive values. Not realizing that effective educational change takes time, others were critical of governments for not acting more quickly.Consequently, many international, regional and national initiatives have contributed to an expanded and refined understanding of the meaning of education for sustainable development. For example, Education International, the major umbrella group of teachers’ unions and associations in the world, has issued a declaration and action plan to promote sustainable development through education.A common agenda in all of these is the need for an integrated approach through which all communities, government entities, collaborate in developing a shared understanding of and commitment to policies, strategies and programs of education for sustainable development.Actively promoting the integration of education into sustainable development at local communityIn addition, many individual governments have established committees, panels, advisory councils and curriculum development projects to discuss education for sustainable development, develop policy and appropriate support structures, programs and resources, and fund local initiatives.Indeed, the roots of education for sustainable development are firmly planted in the environmental education efforts of such groups. Along with global education, development education, peace education, citizenship education, human rights education, and multicultural and anti-racist education that have all been significant, environmental education has been particularly significant. In its brief thirty-year history, contemporary environmental education has steadily striven towards goals and outcomes similar and comparable to those inherent in the concept of sustainability.A New Vision for EducationThese many initiatives illustrate that the international community now strongly believes that we need to foster – through education – the values, behavior and lifestyles required for a sustainable future. Education for sustainable development has come to be seen as a process of learning how to make decisions that consider the long-term future of the economy, ecology and social well-being of all communities. Building the capacity for such futures-oriented thinking is a key task of education.This represents a new vision of education, a vision that helps learners better understand the world in which they live, addressing the complexity and inter-contentedness of problems such as poverty, wasteful consumption, environmental degradation, urban decay, population growth, gender inequality, health, conflict and the violation of human rights that threaten our future. This vision of education emphasizes a holistic, interdisciplinary approach to developing the knowledge and skills needed for a sustainable future as well as changes in values, behavior, and lifestyles. This requires us to reorient education systems, policies and practices in order to empower everyone, young and old, to make decisions and act in culturally appropriate and locally relevant ways to redress the problems that threaten our common future. We therefore need to think globally and act locally. In this way, people of all ages can become empowered to develop and evaluate alternative visions of a sustainable future and to fulfill these visions through working creatively with others.Seeking sustainable development through education requires educators to:• Place an ethic for living sustainable, based upon principles of social justice, democracy, peace and ecological integrity, at the center of society’s concerns.
• Encourage a meeting of disciplines, a linking of knowledge and of expertise, to create understandings that are more integrated and contextualized.
• Encourage lifelong learning, starting at the beginning of life and stuck in life – one based on a passion for a radical transformation of the moral character of society.
• Develop to the maximum the potential of all human beings throughout their lives so that they can achieve self-fulfillment and full self-expression with the collective achievement of a viable future.
• Value aesthetics, the creative use of the imagination, an openness to risk and flexibility, and a willingness to explore new options.
• Encourage new alliances between the State and civil society in promoting citizens’ liberation and the practice of democratic principles.
• Mobilize society in an intensive effort so as to eliminate poverty and all forms of violence and injustice.
• Encourage a commitment to the values for peace in such a way as to promote the creation of new lifestyles and living patterns
• Identify and pursue new human projects in the context of local sustainability within an earthly realization and a personal and communal awareness of global responsibility.
• Create realistic hope in which the possibility of change and the real desire for change are accompanied by a rigorous, active participation in change, at the appropriate time, in favor of a sustainable future for all.These responsibilities emphasize the key role of educators as ambassador of change. There are over 60 million teachers in the world – and each one is a key ambassador for bringing about the changes in lifestyles and systems that we need. But, education is not confined to the classrooms of formal education. As an approach to social learning, education for sustainable development also encompasses the wide range of learning activities in basic and post-basic education, technical and vocational training and tertiary education, and both non-formal and informal learning by both young people and adults within their families and workplaces and in the wider community. This means that all of us have important roles to play as both ‘learners’ and ‘teachers’ in advancing sustainable development.Key LessonsDeciding how education should contribute to sustainable development is a major task. In coming to decisions about what approaches to education will be locally relevant and culturally appropriate, countries, educational institutions and their communities may take heed of the following key lessons learnt from discussion and debate about education and sustainable development over the past decade.• Education for sustainable development must explore the economic, political and social implications of sustainability by encouraging learners to reflect critically on their own areas of the world, to identify non-viable elements in their own lives and to explore the tensions among conflicting aims. Development strategies suited to the particular circumstances of various cultures in the pursuit of shared development goals will be crucial. Educational approaches must take into account the experiences of indigenous cultures and minorities, acknowledging and facilitating their original and significant contributions to the process of sustainable development.• The movement towards sustainable development depends more on the development of our moral sensitivities than on the growth of our scientific understanding – important as that is. Education for sustainable development cannot be concerned only with disciplines that improve our understanding of nature, despite their undoubted value. Success in the struggle for sustainable development requires an approach to education that strengthens our engagement in support of other values – especially justice and fairness – and the awareness that we share a common destiny with others.• Ethical values are the principal factor in social consistency and at the same time, the most effective agent of change and transformation. Ultimately, sustainability will depend on changes in behavior and lifestyles, changes which will need to be motivated by a shift in values and rooted in the cultural and moral precepts upon which behavior is based. Without change of this kind, even the most enlightened legislation, the cleanest technology, the most sophisticated research will not succeed in steering society towards the long-term goal of sustainability.• Changes in lifestyle will need to be accompanied by the development of an ethical awareness, whereby the inhabitants of rich countries discover within their cultures the source of a new and active solidarity, which will make possible to eradicate the widespread poverty that now besets 80% of the world’s population as well as the environmental degradation and other problems linked to it.• Ethical values are shaped through education, in the broadest sense of the term. Education is also essential in enabling people to use their ethical values to make informed and ethical choices. Fundamental social changes, such as those required to move towards sustainability, come about either because people sense an ethical imperative to change or because leaders have the political will to lead in that direction and sense that the people will follow them.