Working at a greatly challenging position, special needs teaching assistants have a lot on their plate. Technically, they are just supposed to “assist” lead teachers in meeting the learning objectives of students with special needs. In actuality, it goes well beyond just mere assistance.
Special needs teaching assistants primarily look through curriculum to determine what a class needs to be taught and how. They are then required to assist lead teachers in creating lesson plans according to the specific needs of each student enrolled in the program. Once a series of lesson plans has been created, it is up to the teaching assistant to make sure that it is implemented properly by providing assistance to the lead teacher.
Typically, special needs teaching assistants manage student behavior within the class along with making sure that each enrolled student is kept comfortable. The safety and wellbeing of students with special needs is one of the biggest duties of a special needs teaching assistant, as many of these students may have problems fending for themselves.
To work as a special needs teaching assistant, one has to possess an associate degree in special education. Hiring criteria for this position may differ at different organizations – you may be hired even if you have had no experience (but hold a degree) or the employer may want you to possess both a degree and some experience. Here are a few duties that you will be performing at this position:
• Assist in creating lesson plans according to set curriculum to teach students with special needs
• Impart lessons to meet the individual needs of students enrolled in a special needs program
• Perform research work to develop suitable resources to teach concepts in class
• Assist the lead teacher in teaching concepts by using conventional ways and through activities-based teaching methods
• Monitor students to ensure that they display exemplary behavior and address any issues immediately
• Oversee students to determine signs of distress of physical discomfort and ensure that their problems are immediately resolved
• Assist students in using special aids to help them learn new or difficult concepts
• Oversee students during outdoor activities and lunch time and provide assistance to them
• Perform individual assessments to determine each student’s milestones and limitations and provide feedback to the lead teacher
• Work with the lead teacher to determine special modules for students who are unable to keep up with the class
• Create and maintain students’ records in an accurate manner and by ensuring complete confidentiality of their conditions