Become a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments
In inclusive settings across British Columbia, Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments (TSVIs) champion meaningful access to learning opportunities for students with visual impairments, including those with additional exceptionalities and deafblindness.
The TSVI provides direct instruction in areas of the Expanded Core Curriculum. The TSVI also consults and collaborates with the educational team to ensure that the classroom program in the core BC curriculum is accessible to the learner while working directly with the learner to support access through the effective use of adaptive tools, strategies, and technology.
The Role of the TSVI in K-12
In British Columbia, all TSVIs serve students through the itinerant model of service delivery. TSVIs travel to schools where students with visual impairments are enrolled to provide service through direct and consultative modes:
- Direct Service involves work directly with the student with a visual impairment toward goals set out in the students' individualized programming plan.
For example: Implementing a series of lessons to familiarize the student with various low vision device options (e.g., handheld magnifiers).
- Consultative Service involves collaborative work with the student's educational team to ensure that the sum of the student's educational program is made meaningful and accessible based on the student's functional vision profile.
For example: The TSVI consults with the classroom teacher of a student who reads braille to create a workspace for the student that maximizes their collaborative connections with peers while providing sufficient space for the student's extensive inventory of adaptive tools and materials.
More information on the responsibilities of the TSVI can be found in the Division on Visual Impairments and Deafblindness position paper:
Spungin, S. J., Ferrell, K. A., & Monson, M. (2016). The role and function of the teacher of students with visual impairments. Position paper of the Division on Visual Impairments, Council for Exceptional Children. Arlington, VA: Council for Exceptional Children.
TSVI Qualifications in British Columbia
According to Special Education Services: A Manual of Policies, Procedures and Guidelines, a specialist Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments should possess:
- a valid B.C. Teaching Certificate, and;
- a Master's degree or diploma in the education of students with visual impairments.
Are you a qualified teacher interested in working in this rewarding and engaging field?
The University of British Columbia offers both MA and MEd degree options in Special Education with an emphasis in Visual Impairment.
The program accepts new students every two years. The next application period is from September - December 2022 for a July 2023 program start - updated flyers will be posted below when they are available. The program is delivered through a combination of on-campus courses during the summer and online courses during the fall and spring so that teachers can continue working while studying. For more information, see the following documents:
- 2021-2023 Cohort info - Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (PDF)
- Become a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments Flyer (PDF) - updated for 2020
There are currently a number of full-time and part-time positions available for teachers of students with visual impairments in British Columbia. For more information, please visit our Employment Opportunities page.