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Career Story: Paraprofessional For A Child With Behavioral Issues

Paraprofessional For A Child With Behavioral Issues

Job Title: Paraprofessional

Type of Company: I work for a school district in suburban Boston.

Education: BA, Humanities & Social Sciences, UMass

Previous Experience: I worked for twelve years in the financial industry before leaving to stay home with my kids. After four years at home I found my current position in the school system.

Job Tasks: I am a one-on-one aide for a child in second grade in an elementary school in suburban Boston. This is my fourth year working in the school system and my second year working with this child. I have worked as both a classroom aide and a one-on-one aide. This child has behavioral issues. I spend the entire day including recess and specials (music, art, library, health, gym) with him.

A typical day would start with me meeting him in the morning and helping him prepare for the day. I sit with him in class and make sure he stays "on task" in every subject.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best parts of my job are the hours, the schedule and the people. I have the summer, school vacations and snow days off. If my children are home, I'm home. The schedule is the single best part of my job.

The worst part of my job is my salary. I have great benefits but the pay is lousy. I took the job knowing the pay would not be that great and that it wouldn't get much better over time.

Job Tips: You gotta love kids. All kinds of children. There are many children with learning issues, many children with family issues: all kinds of issues. You have to keep these things private.

You've got to be flexible. If they need to move you to another classroom or school, you must go. If they want you to sub a classroom, you have to sub. Always be patient and try not to lose your cool with the kids.

Try not to get too attached to the children; it's not good for you or them. Plus, the kids move on every year to a new room and teacher. If a child becomes too attached it can make for a very difficult year for the student and his new teacher or aide.

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