You don’t know what education is all about unless you work in a special education environment. Initially, you will start out as a special education teacher assistant. What will you have to do? You will need to support each function of a special education teacher in an assistantship role. This work is not ordinary. Dealing with students with special needs is extremely challenging and you need to have it in you and be properly trained as well.
To be eligible for a special education teacher assistant position, you will need a high school diploma or an associates degree in special education. If you have worked as an SNA (special needs assistant), you will be given a lot more preference than someone who only has education to bank on. Experience in this field is of the utmost importance. Extensively learning on the job is not really possible – you cannot learn at the expense of your students who rely on you for their needs. But of course, some learning is done on the job.
Special education teacher assistants need to possess a certain personality that makes them good at what they do. They cannot just be sympathetic – they have to empathetic to the rigors of the lives of people with special needs. Patience needs to be an inherent feature.
A list of special education teacher assistant duties is given below:
• Comprehend the basis of each special education program by conferring with lead special education teacher in detail
• Assist lead teacher in developing and implementing special education programs in accordance to each student’s specific needs
• Create and develop learning materials to assist students in understanding concepts taught in class
• Supervise each student constantly to ensure that he or she is safe and emotionally stable
• Assist students with mobility and other daily tasks such as toileting, washing and eating
• Escort students to play grounds, bus stops and during recreational field trips
• Provide support to students in using specialized equipment
• Assess students to evaluate their emotional and learning progress and intervene where necessary
• Assist students with severe disabilities by providing dedicated personal care
• Provide special assistance to students who may appear distressed or disturbed
• Help students in understanding instructions provided by the lead teacher and carrying out assignments
• Assist students physically and emotionally during in-school therapy sessions
• Use specialized skills such as teaching Braille to students with visual impairments
• Create and maintain students’ records in a safe and confidential manner