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Districts and schools define resource teachers in different ways, depending on job description and requirements. Some resource teachers provide traditional teachers with additional teaching materials, including supplementary texts, access to classroom speakers and sample lesson plans. Other resource teachers specialize in special education, providing additional resources for students with learning disabilities, vision or hearing challenges or other nontraditional needs. To find out whether this challenging but rewarding career is the right choice for you, you should first learn what it takes to become a resource teacher.
Earn a four-year college degree. Resource teachers must complete additional academic requirements before entering the classroom, but earning a college degree is the first step. Desirable undergraduate degree options include childhood development, education or liberal studies. If you’re already sure of a specialization (for example, you’d like to be a resource teacher for history teachers) then completing a four-year college degree in history is acceptable preparation for that role.
Complete a teacher certification program. Most programs run between one and two years, depending on part-time or full-time status and whether you’re seeking additional authorizations, such as a bilingual teaching certificate. During the student teaching segment of your certification program, visit with resource teachers on campus to learn about their job responsibilities, techniques for cooperating with traditional teachers and their role on campus. Some resource teachers may be assigned to meet the needs of one or two students. Others may work within a designated resource room or travel between multiple classrooms to manage a caseload of students with different needs.
Complete a master’s degree in a resource specialization, if the school district to which you're applying requires one. Some educators may work in a resource setting after completing a teacher certification program; other resource teachers may require additional education. Resource specialists may complete degrees in special education, library science or multimedia resources. Resource teachers working directly with other teachers may complete graduate degrees in education management, curriculum design or administration.
Resource teachers sometimes travel to different campuses to work with different teachers and students. Always adhere to school policies on individual campuses to maximize positive cooperation with administrators and other educators.
Some resource teachers may work in the same classroom with a traditional teacher when assisting other children. Be aware that learning from two different instruction types can be confusing or challenging for children; in those instances, you should model your instruction more closely on the traditional teacher’s for consistency. Other children may thrive with access to two different teaching styles in one classroom. Never attempt to undermine the authority of a partner teacher in front of students; when offering suggestions or advice, do so privately.
- Regina Coeli Child Development Center: Resource Teacher Job Description
- North Carolina State University; A Comparative Study of Resource Teacher Job Descriptions...; Marilyn Friend and Gaye McNutt; 2001
- Colorado College: The Department of Education: Becoming a Cooperating Teacher
- San Joaquin County Office of Education: Job Description: Teacher Special Education Resource Specialist
- Careers.org: Career Occupational Profile for Special Education Resource Teacher
Morgan Rush is a California journalist specializing in news, business writing, fitness and travel. He's written for numerous publications at the national, state and local level, including newspapers, magazines and websites. Rush holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, San Diego.