Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Special Education

Committee Chair

Barbara L. Ludlow.


With today's increasingly diverse classrooms, teachers are challenged to provide strategies that are effective in ensuring that all students reach success, regardless of race, class, or disability. Teacher education programs are also responsible for providing the type of experiences that prepare graduates to meet the needs of today's diverse classrooms. This study investigated the types of hypothetical teaching positions that pre-service students in special education deem as most ideal and the factors present within those positions. It also sought to determine if any relationship existed between participants' perceptions of beliefs and their choices of teaching positions. Pre-service students in special education at West Virginia University were asked to rank six (6) teaching positions from most ideal to least ideal. Follow-up interviews were conducted to ascertain the motives behind the rankings and also to determine what factors specifically influenced the type of teaching positions that are chosen upon graduation.;Preliminary results of this study indicate that participants were more drawn to wealthy suburban areas, with little to no racial diversity. However, additional data revealed that participants had a preference for more diversity in terms of race, class, and disability in their ideal teaching positions yet felt as if they were not prepared to effectively teach in these particular teaching environments. The results also indicated that participants found that they were provided with ample clinical experience, yet more exposure to specific areas of student diversity, namely race, class, and disability is needed within these clinical experiences in order for graduates to feel adequately prepared to teach in today's classrooms.