Resource teachers are licensed educators who pull students from regular, inclusive classrooms to receive additional one-on-one or small group support. Most U.S. public schools have a resource room where these teachers help struggling students comprehend course content. It’s the resource teacher’s duty to modify lessons in a manner that helps children with learning difficulties develop the requisite skills. Resource teachers work closely with general education and special education teachers to keep students progressing towards their IEP goals. Whether in mathematics, language arts, science, or history, resource teachers lend assistance to help troubled students tackle their workload. Their rooms have computers, reference books, assistive technologies, and other learning aids to help meet individual needs. During testing, resource teachers often will deliver modifications set in IEPs to avoid distracting other students.
Income potential for resource teachers varies based on grade level. Resource teachers employed in elementary schools earn a mean yearly salary of $58,640. In middle schools, the average income for resource teachers is $60,300. The highest paid resource teachers work in high schools for an average salary of $62,180 each year. Resource teachers who teach special needs children in educational support services make $53,550 on average.
When just graduating from teacher’s college, resource teachers can expect to earn a starting salary in the bottom 10th percentile around $36,900 annually. However, experienced resource teachers with advanced training can eventually bring home over $86,990. Those making the leap into special education administration make an average salary of $92,940 per year.
Resource teachers have significant responsibility in helping children and adolescents develop the academic, behavioral, and social skills to fully grasp curriculum. They modify teaching methods to target the unique needs of students with mild or moderate disabilities. Resource teachers give added support on homework and exams as well as coordinate individual lessons to overcome learning problems. They’ll meet regularly with general education teachers and parents or guardians to assess each pupil’s progress. In high schools, resource teachers may add in life skills training or career counseling to prepare for after graduation. Resource teachers must attend regular professional development to learn new instructional strategies.
Working as a resource teacher requires a large dose of patience because students may keep failing to understand content or need instructions read slowly. Resource teachers must be caring, empathetic individuals willing to work with children diagnosed with various disabilities. Communication skills are essential to clearly articulate students’ development or deficiency to other teachers and parents. Having creative problem-solving skills is important for resource teachers to find engaging ways to modify tough curriculum. Technological abilities are a must for resource teachers to present lessons on computers, Smart Boards, audio players, and talking calculators. Resource teachers must be organized, intuitive, calming, cheerful, adaptable, and truly love children.
Degree and Education Requirements
Becoming a resource teacher in public school districts typically requires holding a bachelor’s degree from a four-year, accredited teaching institution. Most resource teachers major in special education, elementary education, special education, psychology, or a related field. Some may major in a content area like English, mathematics, or history while declaring a minor in education. Aspiring resource teachers should take courses to study adaptive curriculum, learning disabilities, instructional methods, and assistive technology. Learning American Sign Language (ASL), Spanish, or another language is suggested. Some states, such as New York, will mandate earning a Master of Education (M.Ed.) to achieve full teaching licensure.
Pros and Cons of the Position
Benefits from becoming a resource teacher are plentiful. Resource teachers have the ability to truly impact children’s learning and prevent them from falling behind. They’re able to avoid monotony by helping students comprehend content in various content areas, from algebra to chemistry and English literature. Resource teachers are in growing demand, so job searching shouldn’t be too difficult. Like other special educators, resource teachers reap rewards from overcoming academic and behavioral challenges. They’re given a decent annual salary, insurance coverage, and pensions while enjoying a much-deserved summer break. However, resource rooms may have a constant flow of student traffic that makes teachers juggle many IEP and progress reports. Resource teachers will face students who are aggravated with their difficulties and perhaps ready to quit school. They’ll have to work with several general education teachers with different personalities and teaching styles. Resource teachers also need to invest heavily in their own education, which can cause debt.
Acquiring plenty of experience with disabled youth is essential for becoming a resource teacher. During your schooling, request field practicum placements in resource rooms or special education classrooms to focus your teaching skills. All CAEP-accredited programs will have a student teaching semester where you could work under a resource teacher. Working for your college’s tutoring center may also help prepare you. At graduation, you’ll have the qualifications to sit for initial certification. Requirements vary by state, but you likely must pass Praxis exams, certify your bachelor’s degree, and submit to background checks. Once you’re licensed, you can begin applying for resource teaching jobs. You may have to begin as a substitute teacher or teacher’s aide to facilitate promotion. New resource teachers benefit from mentoring programs to learn from more experienced colleagues. You should also consider becoming board certified in one of 25 areas by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).
Children with disabilities are becoming more prevalent in United States classrooms thanks to better diagnostics and attention on intervention. It’s estimated that 2.8 million school-aged children have at least one disability nationwide. Increasing demand is stressing the already taxed special education field. The HECSE reports that 98 percent of America’s school districts report teacher shortages in special education, including resource rooms. More than 45,500 special educators aren’t even qualified enough for their positions. Therefore, the job outlook is favorable for licensed resource teachers with special education jobs expected to keep growing by 6 percent through 2024. Openings can be found in public, private, parochial, and charter schools as well as educational support services.
Resource teachers play a prominent role in giving the extra support some youth require to master tricky content. Some may co-teach with general education teachers, but the majority of their day is spent in fully equipped resource rooms. Here resource teachers can devote special attention on assignments or tests that PreK-12 students are struggling to complete alone. If you become a resource teacher, you’ll potentially impact hundreds of students and better their chances of succeeding in the classroom.