“So, what do you do?”

When I was in the classroom, I almost always answered, “I’m an educator.” Or, “I work in special education.” It sounded better than saying, “I’m a teacher,” and then hearing the predictable refrain of “summers off, short workdays, and you get to play all day.”

While is it easy to debunk the commonplace myths of a career as a teacher, what is not as discernible are the misconceptions surrounding special education teachers.

Special education teachers have unique challenges that even their general education counterparts don’t quite understand.

Here are some of the biggest misconceptions about being a special education teacher.

Myth #1: We have extreme patience.

I have had the privilege of working with many special educators over my 15 years in the field and only a handful of them would I describe as “patient.” The overgeneralization of this personality trait also fails to describe both what a special education teacher does and is.