dcsimg

Career Story: Teacher's Assistant In A Special Needs Classroom

Teacher's Assistant In A Special Needs Classroom

Job Title: Assistant Teacher

Type of Company: I work for a non-profit, private, special-needs school in a Virginia suburb.

Education: BA, Political Science, UC-Santa Barbara

Previous Experience: I worked part-time as an art instructor at a pre-school for two years, and I was also the director of a pre-school for two years.

Job Tasks: The school day, which lasts from 8:15 to 3:30, is broken into half-hour segments. On a typical day, I begin by greeting students at the bus and escorting them to the classroom. They then start their studies with either math or reading. If the teacher asks me to (or happens to be absent), I will sometimes teach the lesson, but this is uncommon and it is her responsibility, in any case, to prepare the lesson plan. After math or reading we move on to science, where I often prepare and conduct the experiments. After a short recess, we have writing followed by lunch, which we eat in the classroom. We then have a social studies period, another short recess and either phys. ed. or art. At the end of the day, I escort the students back to the bus and see to it that they all get aboard.

My responsibilities are primarily to assist the teacher. But I can do this in a variety of ways; I've graded papers, prepared lessons, purchased supplies, communicated with parents and even taught class. Most often, though, I go to them in class when they raise their hands and help them in whatever way I can. My students range in age from 12-15 years old and have both physical and mental disabilities, and two of the things you need most for the job are patience and a sense of humor.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The thing that keeps me coming back to the job is the feeling I get when a student masters a problem, or when he lights up at the sight of me. At times such as those, I get a feeling of accomplishment that borders on joy.

The job is least enjoyable when students get physical or verbally abusive. This job's a tiring one anyhow, but it can also be emotionally draining.

Job Tips: I would take a class or two in the field of special needs education. I would substitute teach in special needs classrooms, or volunteer in a class to see if you like working with this student population. I would also talk with special needs teachers, and ask them the questions that you have, and ask if you can sit in their class and observe.

Additional Thoughts: If you are looking for your students to make gigantic strides, this is not the right group to be teaching. You have to be able, with these kids, to take delight in measuring success in small increments. The success is no less meaningful, but it is harder to see.

Popular Schools offering Teacher Assisting 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

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

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: Social Studies, M.Ed. in Career and Technical Education, M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction Equity, Ethics, and Justice, more...
  • 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. - Teaching and Learning, MA Teaching: Middle Grades, M.Ed. Teaching & Learning: History, more...
  • Degrees: Master, Associate

Earn your graduate degree online with Northcentral University.

  • Programs: General Education - Doctor of Education, MEd - Reading Education, E-Learning - EdS, more...
  • Degrees: Doctorate, 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

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

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: MS Instructional Technology Specialist
  • Degrees: Master
Matching School Ads

Additional Career Stories for Teacher Assistants

The inside stories from people actually working in the field.
Click a story title to show the story, and click the title again to hide it.

All Types

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

More Details On This Career

Please also see our detailed information about Teacher Assistants, including:

Back to Top