Meeting the Needs of Visually Impaired Students in Washington State: An Exploratory Study of the Working Conditions that Affect Teachers of the Visually Impaired
Meador, Craig A.
MetadataShow full item record
With the ongoing shortage of available teachers of the visually impaired and the increasing number of students and demands on time, this study examined the working conditions that affect itinerant teachers of the visually impaired. Through observations and interviews, data was gathered and analyzed to determine the issues that created challenges for these specialized teachers. This qualitative case study represented thirteen teachers of the visually impaired on the Eastside and Westside of Washington State during the 2013-2014 school year. These teachers ranged in experience from three to 25 years plus, and their teaching assignments reflected both rural and urban settingsThe study found that the teachers of the visually impaired encountered many of the same issues that their classroom based special education colleagues encountered but unlike their classroom colleagues they dealt with multiple school sites and districts due to their itinerant position. This added a complexity of contextual issues that they could not control requiring them to develop strategies to deal with the challenges such as: caseloads, time management, professional learning, dealing with others and isolation. Successful teachers of the visually impaired employed strategies within their settings that provided levels of direct and indirect support, which helped to meet the needs of their students and their needs as professionals. Despite the very challenging nature of the job, teachers of the visually impaired did not suffer the same attrition rates of their special education peers and expressed great satisfaction with their profession.