dcsimg

Career Story: Special Education Assistant

Special Education Assistant

Job Title: Teacher Assistant

Type of Company: I work in a public school district.

Education: BS, Education •• Certificate in Landscape Technology

Previous Experience: After graduating with teaching credentials, I worked as a teaching assistant one year and then taught for two years in the special education field. I then took a secretarial job with large computer company and advanced into support group for staff and then software support, and ultimately held a supervisor's position. I had maintenance and labor jobs with a landscaping company and plant nursery. I was a shipping manager at plant nursery. I even owned and ran my own nursery. But I am now back to teaching Special Ed.

Job Tasks: The main goal in our classroom is to help the students learn to do tasks at their ability level. There are eight students ranging from 5 to 10 years of age. Abilities are as widely variant as ages; some children have the ability to walk and speak, some have visual impairments, some have very limited self-help abilities because of severe brain damage or cerebral palsy. Each day includes toileting (many are still in diapers), feeding as some are unable to feed self and require special diets. During "work sessions" each day for 1.5 hours the children are engaged in their level of learning, be it math and spelling, learning colors and letters, controlling their writing, pre-braille, participating in story with communication devices, learning sign language. Self-help skills are also a focus and include brushing teeth, face-washing after lunch, cleaning up one task before moving to next, sitting upright and interacting with another individual (playing ball or following hand motions to a song).

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part is seeing small successes and improvements in each child as the weeks progress. Seeing the smile on their face when they achieve something.

The worst part of the job is that for all the progress the teachers, TA's, therapists (Speech, Physical, Visual, Occupational) might make with the child sometimes the parent doesn't see the benefit and isn't supportive to follow through at home.

Job Tips: Take the opportunity to visit, volunteer or do some trial work in a class program with exceptional children. This type of job is not for everyone. There is a lot of manual and physical labor involved, with lifting, repetition of tasks. Look for the small steps of progress and don't expect a six year old to act or be able to do the typical six year old tasks. Adjust your expectations to the abilities of each child. Be observant of the child.

Additional Thoughts: I love this job, as it is always rewarding. If you could imagine having a body that didn't work well, but having a very sharp mind, but no one ever listened or paid attention to you because they only saw that your body didn't work like theirs....This type of job allows these students to break through and shine in their own way, with the help of professionals looking closely and providing different ways for them to communicate, move, learn and grow.

Popular Schools offering Special Education Teaching Programs

quickinfoThese schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles).

Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.

Matching School Ads

You've found Ashford University, where school comes to you. Earn your bachelor's or master's degree online.

  • Programs: MA/Education - Special Education (non-licensure), BA/Education Studies, MA/Education - No Specialization, more...
  • Degrees: Master, Bachelor

Purdue University offers a strong foundation of tradition and history.

  • Programs: Master of Science in Education in Special Education
  • Degrees: Master

Liberty University provides a world-class education with a solid Christian foundation, equipping men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential for success in every aspect of life.

  • Programs: M.Ed. - Program Specialist in Gifted Specialist, MA in Teaching - Special Education, M.Ed. Teaching and Learning - Special Education , more...
  • Degrees: Master, Associate

Concordia University - Portland offers several fully online 14-month Master of Education (M.Ed.) programs and a fully online Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) program.

  • Programs: M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: The Inclusive Classroom (SPED), M.Ed. in Advanced Study in Special Education, M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: Social Studies, more...
  • Degrees: Master

Founded by the Society of Jesus in 1851, Saint Joseph's University (SJU) has been developing the minds and abilities of men and women in a challenging academic environment steeped in the enriching Jesuit tradition of cura personalis (care of the entire person).

  • Programs: Masters in Special Education                                                   , MS in Special Education with Wilson Reading Certification , Masters in Special Education - Autism                               , more...
  • Degrees: Master

Study online with California University of Pennsylvania.

  • Programs: Technology Education (Master of Education) - Online, Early Childhood Education (Certificate Only) - Online, Early Childhood Education (MEd plus Certification) - Online, more...
  • Degrees: Master, Certificate

Colorado State University-Global Campus

Colorado State University-Global Campus (CSU-Global) recently received state approval to enroll students with little to no prior college experience. To help ensure student success, the university has created a program especially for these students who plan on starting their college experience for the first time with us.

  • Programs: MS - Teaching and Learning
  • Degrees: Master

Pursue your education at Pacific Oaks College.

  • Programs: M.A. Education with Preliminary Education Specialist Instruction Credential, Preliminary Education Specialist Credential, Multiple Subject English Learner Teaching Credential, more...
  • Degrees: Master, Bachelor

Learning at Full Sail University has always centered around interaction and the exchange of ideas. Our online curriculum fully embraces this philosophy.

  • Programs: Instructional Design & Technology
  • Degrees: Master

Abilene Christian University (ACU), founded in 1906 and affiliated with the Church of Christ, has a long and proud heritage dedicated to educating students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world. Instructors teach students how to think critically and globally in each of their respective programs, while still maintaining a focus on their particular program of study. ACU is an academically notable institution top ranked by U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Colleges", as well as The Princeton Review and Forbes.

  • Programs: Master of Education in Higher Education
  • Degrees: Master
Matching School Ads
You are visiting:

Find a school near you

What are Career Stories?

Career Stories are concise, real-world career overviews written by people relating their personal career experiences and wisdom. They provide invaluable insights and mentoring advice to students and career changers.

Most stories include:

  • a typical day or project
  • tips and advice
  • best and worst parts
  • educational background
  • previous experience

Browse hundreds of Career Stories

Back to Top