My Education: BA in Communications, Ithaca College
My Prior Experience: I worked as a volunteer at the school for a few years and was offered a position on staff as a Teacher Assistant.
My Company: I work for a private Catholic elementary school in Southern NH.
Job/Career Overview: As a Teacher Assistant, I help the classroom teachers with whatever is needed on a day-to-day basis. My time is split between our Kindergarten, 1st grade and 2nd grade classes. A large part of my day is spent working with children on a 1-to-1 basis, who may be struggling with a particular area. For example, I practice "sight words" (words that cannot easily be sounded out) with two students in 1st grade, who are having difficulty reading. Sometimes, teachers need to attend meetings with the town Special Education professionals, so I will substitute for the teacher while they are at the meeting.
I rate this career 6 out of 10.
The best part of my job is that I only work when my own children are in school, so I am able to be home when they are home. Also, it is extremely rewarding to work with children at this age. Children get so excited and are so proud when they read a new book for the first time, learn to tie their shoes and learn to write their name.
The worst part is that children can also test your patience. It is tough to work with children if you are not feeling well, but it is important for me to get to work every day. Also, as an assistant, I work with several different teachers, who all have different teaching styles and want me to do different things. It is extremely important that I be flexible.
Make sure you like children before you pursue a career in elementary education. It is important that you expose yourself to large groups of children. Teaching is difficult work as every child is different and learns differently. Take the opportunity to volunteer or work at a summer camp, daycare center or school. These places will give you the chance to see if you enjoy working with children,