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  • Chris McMillan

Why I choose to work with children with special needs

The Pride

4th March 2022

Why I choose to work with children with special needs

Reader shares how working with children with special needs for more than 8 years has kept her grounded and grateful for life lessons.

Our Reader. Jacklyn Ng

“Why special needs?”, “Isn’t it very tough?”, “You must be very patient!”, “Do you have a calling for this?”, “Wow, you are so noble!”

These are just some of the common reactions I get when I tell people I have been a special education teacher in Singapore for more than eight years. While some of these may be reasons why some of my peers around the world enter the field of special needs, I don’t exactly call myself a patient person, nor do I believe that working with people with special needs is my life’s purpose.

In fact, I have many qualities that do not fit the stereotype of a special education teacher – I am not exceptionally hardworking, my results in school were average, I like to be a fashionista, and much more.

Teacher, therapist or…?As a special needs educator, there are many challenges. For example, special needs educators are generally less recognized for their work. We sometimes find ourselves torn between identifying ourselves as formal school educators, therapists or other professionals.

I often get told that educators in the special needs field have it easier because we have shorter working hours, and need not be involved in activities like setting exam papers or grading assignments. While some of us may have shorter official hours, we are just like other educators because our work often continues outside the classroom.

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