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An alternative education teacher is typically responsible for understanding the subject that needs to be taught and working to create lesson plans and units to facilitate that instruction. The exact nature of this work can depend a great deal upon the subject area that a person teaches, as this impacts the lessons created. Certain schools may have additional requirements of an alternative education teacher, such as the ability to work with students who may be at risk of dropping out of school. Many alternative education facilities also make use of different types of technology, including computers in the classroom and online classes, which an educator needs to be able to use.
Much of the work performed by an alternative education teacher centers on developing and creating lesson plans and units to teach to students. This is done specifically for the subject a teacher focuses on, such as language or mathematics, and the approach used by an instructor often depends on his or her field. Units are often planned out for large subjects, such as grammar in a language class, with individual lessons being prepared to cover different aspects of grammar. An alternative education teacher then presents these lessons in class to teach students, and provides additional information during a lesson.
It is important that an alternative education teacher be able to deal with any special needs or concerns that parents and school administrators may have. For example, some alternative education programs are established for students at risk of dropping out of school. An educator in this type of facility needs to be able to understand the issues facing these students and work to better reach and connect with them to help them finish their education. There are also opportunities for an alternative education teacher at a school that focuses on helping students with special physical needs; these instructors often need to assist students with disabilities or physical conditions.
An alternative education teacher can also use different types of technology employed by a school to better facilitate learning for students. For example, some alternative schools are set up so that students can attend classes online. Teachers at these schools use computers and software to create and present lessons for students online, and to accept and grade work done by them. This type of virtual classroom can be very effective for students who find traditional classrooms to be difficult environments for meaningful learning. An alternative education teacher needs to be able to use such technology to help students succeed and complete their education.