Discrepancies in the Ideal Perceptions and the Current Experiences of Special Education Teachers

Amanda Andrews, Jennifer L. Brown


The field of special education continues to have lower teacher retention rates compared to general education. As a result, concerns over the quality of special education teachers’ professional experiences have risen. Both general and special education teachers have their ideal views of the profession, including ample classroom facilities, available resources, and supportive administration; however, many factors can cause teachers to have less than ideal experiences in the field. The purpose of this study was to examine special education teachers’ ideal perception of teaching compared to their current experiences. The researchers conducted a causal comparative research study using the Perceptions of Success Inventory for Beginning Teachers (Corbell, Osborne, & Reiman, 2010; Corbell, Reiman, & Nietfeld, 2008). The study included a sample of 14 participants employed as special education teachers in one school system located in the southeastern United States. A series of paired sample t-test analyses were conducted. The results revealed special education teachers’ current experiences were rated significantly lower than their ideal perceptions in 7 out of 8 scales (i.e., colleagues, administration, classroom, success, resources, workload, and parents). This research could provide administrators with insight into what special education teachers view as essential, or ideal, for effective teaching. Then, administrators can better determine how teachers’ current experiences are or are not meeting the teachers’ expectations.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11114/jets.v3i6.984


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Journal of Education and Training Studies  ISSN 2324-805X (Print)   ISSN 2324-8068 (Online)

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