I work as a special education assistant in a public middle school. I have two years of experience in the job, but I’ve been tutoring children for six years. One of my responsibilities is helping students with challenges they’re having on assignments. I also make sure that students stay on task. When it comes to my job, I want people to understand that I don’t do the students’ work for them. I encourage each special education student to live up to his or her own potential.
It’s difficult to rate my job satisfaction level with a number. The number varies from day to day, but the average number would be about a six. In order to rate it at a ten, I’d have to feel more of a sense of cooperation amongst staff members.
I find satisfaction in my work as a special education assistant when I help a student understand a lesson. I always encourage students to try to complete assignments to the best of their ability before seeking help. Setting high expectations for students is important to me. When I have success, I wonder if this occupation is my calling, but I’m not certain about that yet. I’m considering getting my teaching certification which may boost my efforts to influence students.
I find that working as a special education assistant in a middle school gives me the opportunity to affect the lives of students who are beginning to think about their futures. Plus, by encouraging special education students to go beyond the expectations of others, I am helping them to see that one person cannot set limits on the potential of another.
I started work as a special education assistant after realizing that I wanted to use my education to help young students. If I had to begin the process again, I would probably work with children of various ages to see which age group I could benefit the most.
It was a hard lesson to accept when I discovered that some instructors/administrators don’t believe in the potential of their students. I remember asking a student to read a sentence aloud to me from his textbook. He read it haltingly, but got most of the words right. I praised him for the words he got right and encouraged him to read further. The teacher was annoyed with me. She told me that he’d been evaluated and that his educational plan dictated that he needed an assistant to read for him. I was shocked at her willingness to follow this plan when she clearly heard him reading with success.
Along with that working world lesson, I have also learned that it’s best for coworkers to communicate with one another if there is a problem. Unfortunately, I have been in workplaces where a lot of gossip goes on. To avoid participating in that, I go directly to a coworker if I have something to talk over.
I think that the most shocking thing that occurred in my job was a comment I heard from a teacher. She was talking about a student I had worked with. She was very critical of this girl in an insulting way. I was very surprised to hear this person, who was supposed to guiding this young girl, make such a terrible comment.
I go to work each morning in the hope that I will have success helping a student to understand a puzzling lesson or inspire them. I am reminded of a time when I recommended a book for young adults to a student which prompted her to read the entire series of books.
The biggest challenge of my job is to let students know that a lot is expected of them. I get disheartened when I see teachers expecting less of special education students than they do of others. Sometimes the frustrations of the work can stress me out, but I try to concentrate on my own attitudes and efforts. I’m able to leave behind the work each afternoon.
The job position pays approximately nine dollars per hour. Retirement and health insurance also play a part in the job. Obviously, the pay is not the main motivation for joining this occupation. I’m on vacation at the same time as the students, however there are some training days for assistants.
The position of a special education assistant requires at least a high school diploma. The school provides further training. Patience, persistence, and a genuine interest in helping students work to the best of their ability are all invaluable qualities to have. I would let a friend know that not all students learn the same way.
In five years, I expect to be teaching history; a subject I’m very enthusiastic about.
Considered pursuing a career in the Education field? This interview takes you through the ups and downs you can expect, what it takes to land the job, what you can expect to earn and more. This is a true career story as told to DiversityJobs and is one of many interviews with teachers and secondary education personal.