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"High Quality Of Students...
I have been surprised at similarities between students of different age groups and education levels. Despite different levels of experience, students in many categories are eager to learn and demonstrate much more knowledge than their education levels suggest." (Educator; 2013)
"It's Not About Teaching...
Many people thing education careers are about teaching and passing on information but a majority of the work is classroom management. Slowly but surely everything you loved about the profession must be sacrificed due to lack of administrative discipline and the knowledge that your job security depends on a students ability to take a test, not perform academically." (Tutor; 2013)
"Every Day Does Not Go As Planned...
I received much training but I was surprised that still did not feel adequately prepared for all that I encountered. Every child is very different, and there isn't a way to prepare for a perfect day. The success of the child is somewhat dependent on the teacher but also on the child and their parents. Also, there are real medical hazards when working with some severely disabled students. Your physical well being and health are at risk." (Teacher; 2013)
"I was surprised at the number of students who need special help, especially emotional help. There are so many students with ADHD, autism, ADD, and similar diagnosis that really need lots of help. I am also surprised how well I work with this type of student." (Teacher Assistant; 2013)
Teacher'S Assistant: "The best part about my career is seeing children grow and learn and succeed in doing new things. It is easy to get more excited than the child when he achieves something great. The worst part about my career is seeing when children are not being given the best care possible outside the center. It is hard to witness injustices against innocent children. Another difficult part of my career is dealing with children who have behavioral problems. It can be hard to know what to do in these situations." (2011)
University Teacher Assistant: "The best part of the career is constantly learning new things. The saying "you learn when you teach" is a very accurate one because I learned the programs the students were using a great deal more since I needed to know the ins and outs of everything in order to accurately grade assignments fairly according to the instructor's guidelines. The worst part of my career is working with seniors who believe all work should be forwarded to the newest recruit while doing nothing themselves and collecting higher pay." (2011)
Instructional Assistant: "The best part of the job is seeing the children become better readers, understand math concepts and get along with their peers. The worst part of my job is seeing children's potential squandered as thy move in and out of the school system. Most are homeless and need to move from shelter to shelter, and their school work suffers greatly." (2010)
Teaching Assistant: "The best part of my job is working with kids. This never gets boring and is always changing and challenging. The worst part is that sometimes I am needed by all three students at once. This can be overwhelming and frustrating. I feel that I need more arms and eyes to help and watch each student." (2010)
Special Education Aide: "The best parts of the job are the students and teachers with whom I work each day. I enjoy the challenges and like that fact that no two days are ever alike! The worst part of the job would have to be that I am not a classroom teacher, which is my true calling. Another negative aspect of the job is when an emotionally dysfunctional student is having a really difficult day and none of the tried and true methods for alleviating his discomfort are working. It's frustrating and leaves me feeling helpless. It's very hard to watch a student having a hard time this way." (2010)
Special Education Aide: "The best part of my job is the look of satisfaction that comes across a child's face when he finally achieves what he wants. It is always a wonderful knowing that you have kept kids "on task" and they have done what they set out to do. The children take great pride when they reach a goal and can move on to setting another goal for themselves. The worst part of the job is trying to keep everyone focused. That can at times get frustrating, but again when the goal is finally reached they are so thrilled it makes the difficult times easier." (2010)
Special Education Aide: "The best parts of the job are seeing the progress of one of my charges. It makes me feel like I am making a difference. The hardest part is feeling like I have no connection socially to my student, since he has a severe learning disability. It is emotionally and intellectually draining, but seeing him succeed makes it worth the long struggle." (2010)
"Understand Your Students...
Being successful as an educator requires an understanding of the wide variety of student learning styles. Working with the students individually and in groups can provide a rewarding experience." (Educator; 2013)
"Prepare To Sacrifice...
Accept that you will not be able to do things that you want to do, no matter how good your ideas are. The position is not as noble as you are led to believe." (Tutor; 2013)
"Every Day Will Not Go Perfectly...
As a special education teacher, learn as much as you can about the students you are working with. Do not get discouraged if everything doesn't go as planned every day. Shake a bad hour or lesson off and start fresh with the next lesson or day." (Teacher; 2013)
"Love Even The Ones You Don't Like...
Be sure to make good connections while in school. Having references from professors who have seen your hard work is very important in obtaining a job like this. Learn to love the children that you don't like. Being kind to a child who is constantly misbehaving can make a world of difference. Be prepared to do more work than you are paid for. Teachers do A LOT of work outside of school hours in order to make the best impression they can on their students." (Teacher'S Assistant; 2011)
"Online Teaching Not Easier...
I got my job through a posting from the instructor saying he needed an assistant who did well in his course. Work hard in all of your classes, you never know which one you might be working with later! Taking a class is not the same as working for one. Be prepared to learn everything you think you know all over again in order to help others. Online work doesn't mean it is easier, as online position requires a lot of time and commitment." (University Teacher Assistant; 2011)
"Hours May Conflict With Your Children's...
To become an IA: you first need to know if you want to work in high school, junior high or elementary. You also need to know if you want special education or grade K. Although the hours are very good, you need to be aware that if you have children in the system, at another school, you may be prevented from attending their performances, because you cannot leave your school. This position is best suited for retirees and people thinking about working in the school system." (Instructional Assistant; 2010)
"You Might Need A Second Job...
Though mine is a challenging job, it is worth it to see the growth my students makes. I love the people I work with and feel very supported. The pay is not good at all. You really have to love what you do and perhaps have another job too." (Teaching Assistant; 2010)
"Be An Aide First Before An Expensive Education...
Because in my state you have to have a master's degree to work as a teacher, I would encourage aspirants to work as an aide first to make absolutely certain this is the career path for you. Obtaining a master's degree and sitting through several state mandated teaching tests is extremely expensive and time-consuming and doesn't guarantee a teaching job. (It is an extremely competitive field.) In some cases, it may take several years to secure a full-time teaching job, and even then, the salary you earn does not compensate you for the money you spent on your master's degree." (Special Education Aide; 2010)
"Children Need Empathy...
Have patience and know what you are getting involved with. The children need people with patience and the ability to understand what they are going through. Take as many courses as you can that deal with behavioral issues. The better versed you are in those areas the better off you'll be. The children come from so many different backgrounds and with so many different problems you can never be too educated to deal with them." (Special Education Aide; 2010)
"Difficulties Now Will Eventually Pay Off...
I would say that it is important to take deep breaths and not take failures personally. There will be times that are extremely hard and challenging, but it is also great experience and background to have for other education jobs, and maybe life as a whole. Other advice would be to try and be patient and understand that it is a learning process for you as well as the student. For me, this job is just the beginning of my career in education, so I have to constantly remind myself that this is not what I will do for the rest of my life. I have to remember that the hard times now will benefit me greatly in the future." (Special Education Aide; 2010)