Become a Special Education Teacher Assistant
Special education teacher assistant positions are one possible way of breaking into a career where you can make a genuine difference in the lives of children who are unable to learn in a normal classroom environment, or who at least need a lot of extra assistance if they are. There are more children than ever being diagnosed with a formal learning difficulty which prevents them from absorbing information in the way a healthy child is able to do, and so there is an increasing need for teachers who can help them. Any teacher in this role is certain to be busy, and so a good reliable assistant an be a real asset to them.
The role of assistant is far easier to attain than that of teachers because there is no formal requirement for a degree standard education. There is, however, still the need to prove to the authorities that you are a fit and proper person to take part in the teaching of children. Everyone who works in this type of job must go through a criminal records background check to make absolutely certain that they are legally able to work with children. You will not need a background in child care or in education to apply for this position.
The assistant can play an active part in several different settings and situations, with the most common being the same classroom which is used by the rest of the children. The policy of the educational authorities is to try to keep as many children as possible in the mainstream learning sector because this has been found to be the most effective way of handling mild cases of learning difficulty. The assistant will be able to devote more time to the child, leaving the teacher free to attend to the other children. This is the most worrying risk when you have this situation, that the child with special needs will take too much of the teacher’s time.
A special education teacher assistant can also be of use to a teacher who is having to deal with a pupil in isolation because they could not be accommodated into the classroom. This will happen when there is just too great a need for one on one attention for the teacher to be able to provide it while looking after the other children in the class, or when the behavior of the child is potentially disruptive. There may be a need for the assistant to operate a rotating board, or to change the display on a screen, while the teacher attends to teaching the child.
Becoming a teacher’s assistant is one way of breaking into the profession, but if you want to take it further you will need to go down the route of formal education. Getting a job as a teacher’s assistant can be ideal because it gives you the opportunity to work for pay while at the same time gaining valuable experience. You can study online in your spare time, and attempt to gain your degree while you are gaining experience. A bachelor’s degree will allow you to become licensed as a special education teacher.
The best way to find positions as a special education teacher assistant is to use all of the resources available to you. Some schools still like to advertise locally to fill these positions, even though Internet sites have taken over much of the recruiting process. These sites are where you will find the greatest concentration of positions, but of course, they can be viewed by anyone so there may be more competition. Getting involved in local groups involving children can also be a good way into jobs as a special education teacher assistant.