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Career Story: Paraprofessional At A Rural Middle School

Paraprofessional At A Rural Middle School

Job Title: Middle School Paraprofessional

Type of Company: I work for a school system in a rural town.

Education: High School Diploma •• Paraprofessional Certification (Highly Qualified), Middlesex Community College

Previous Experience: I worked in a school department as a secretary for many years and loved working with the children, especially the challenged ones. It is a great opportunity to help make someone else's life a little better.

Job Tasks: I work in a middle school with children with different disabilities. Most of the children I work with are on IEP plans. I work in all different subject levels and go from as little as helping a student understand the directions to as far as reading to them so they can understand the content. I work with children who have Autism and Down Syndrome and the latter I would say is the most challenging, and also the most rewarding. When you see a smile on a child's face who finally gets something it makes coming to work everyday worthwhile. I also work with students with behavioral disabilities. Most of the children with behavioral disabilities need tender loving care. They may come from a bad home situation, and just need boundaries set, along with knowing that someone cares about them and their progress in school. If you can understand and have patience you can give a child that may be looking at a bleak future a chance to survive in this world by making the right decisions, because they know someone cares about them. I also advocate for all the children I work with to make sure they are getting the education that every child deserves.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of this job is seeing a child smile everyday.

The worst part of the job would be the stress of dealing with parents who are not actively involved in helping to make their children's education a rewarding one. Lastly it would be working with those few teachers who do not understand the special education process and that a child may need something explained to them differently to understand it.

The good parts of the job far outweigh the bad.

Job Tips: Make sure if you would like to work with children with disabilities that you take as many courses as you can on differentiated instruction, as well as working with children with disabilities, and get ABA training for the children with behavioral issues. Make sure you are there because you want to make a child's educational experience the best it can be.

Additional Thoughts: If I could change one thing, I would have taken more courses in ABA training and sign language to better serve the children I work with everyday.

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