Job Title: Special Education Paraprofessional
Type of Company: I work for the school system outside of Nashua, New Hampshire.
Education: High School Diploma, Highly Qualified Degree
Previous Experience: I was once a school bus driver with special education students on my school bus. But I enjoyed the kids so much I looked into a para-professional's job
Job Tasks: I am a one-on-one paraprofessional who works with a special educational pre-school student. My responsibilities are to bring him into the classroom at the beginning of the day and help him follow classroom routines. I take him to the bathroom to help toilet train him. I follow what the special education teachers want and need for him, I also check with the classroom teacher to see what she wants me to have him do for the day. I stay with him outside to make sure he is safe. I go with specialists with him to help him in these classrooms. I have lunch with him making sure he is trying new foods and eating his lunch safely. I work with this student doing activities that need to be done. We also work on a computer program to help him with his recognition skills. I then take him out to help him get on the van to go home.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The worst part of the job is to be with the same child every day day in and day out. The child learns what buttons to push and it takes some of your energy.
The best part of the job is the closeness you get with a child. You both learn how to have patience, cooperation and lots of bonding.
Job Tips: Being a paraprofessional is a great job, if you love to work with children but aren't big into lots of schooling. The pay is not great but the benefits outweigh are terrific. You get to spend lots of time with children but unlike a teacher you do not have to take homework home to correct.
Additional Thoughts: If I had found out about how much I enjoyed working with pre-schoolers earlier I would have gone to college to become a teacher. Working with pre-schoolers is such a joy; everyday is a new surprise for them. Just the joy they find in everything makes going to work every day a pleasure. An important personal quality for success in becoming a paraprofessional is lots of energy, a great sense of humor, patience and a great love for children.
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