Teaching children can be difficult, especially when teaching special children; this can add a new set of challenges. To help you know a little more about your life as a Special Education Teaching Assistant, here is an example of what your day could be like!
Preparing for School
Typically, your day will begin after you’ve crawled out of bed, got dressed and ready for the day, ate breakfast and headed to the school. Teachers need to get to the school early so they can prepare the classroom (write objectives on the board, set up activities and others) and review the lesson plans for the day.
This is also a good time to address any concerns before classes begin, like adjusting plans if a class is behind on an assignment, brainstorming ways to help a student who is struggling, teaching a class how to behave in a classroom and more.
When the school bell rings in the children, the fun begins. Generally, the students need some time to wake up and activate their minds, but once they’re ready, the lesson can take off. You will help the teacher teach the lesson and help the students by walking around their desks and answering questions or helping them with their assignments and giving the students the individualized attention that they need.
The following class periods should be much of the same. However, as you progress through the day, the children might be more restless or chatty. This makes your tasks a little more difficult because you’ll also need to help keep the children calm and focused. If the circumstances require it, you and the teacher might talk to the children about the proper and respectful ways to act in the classroom.
Eventually, the lunch bell rings, and it’s time to take the kids to lunch. Your job as the teaching assistant is to guide the students to the lunchroom after washing their hands. If necessary, which it often is, you will stop by the nurse’s office to give the appropriate children their medicine.
After everyone is ready for lunch, you will take the children to the lunchroom where you will help them get their lunch and find a proper place to sit. Depending on the school and the needs of the teacher, you will either stay with the children at lunch and recess or the student aides will take over and you will head back to the classroom where you will discuss happenings of the day and future plans with your teacher.
Once the students come back from lunch, you will help the teacher in similar ways as before. After lunch, the students tend to have a bit more energy, so be ready. You and the teacher can work with the students and help them stay on task.
It is likely you and the teacher will teach different lessons throughout the day, whether those lessons involve language, arts, reading, math or science. There will also likely be free time or even snack time toward the end of the day, which is when you will spend time with the students and help them read, play games, color, eat their snacks and more.
The teacher will decide when to have a snack and free time.
As the day comes to an end, you will help the children gather their belongings and get ready to head home. The teacher might want to collect the children and discuss the events of the day and might quickly go over the lessons learned. This is also a good time to talk to the students about the good times of the day as well as the misbehaved times of the day as well as how the class can be better tomorrow.
After the children file out of the room and head home, you will talk with the teacher and discuss everything that happened throughout the day. You might talk about who behaved well, who didn’t behave well, how to improve their behavior tomorrow, who needs extra help in certain subjects and any other issues.
The teacher might also ask you to help with some tasks that need to be completed by tomorrow. After you and the teacher are on the same page and have a good plan for the next day, you can head home and enjoy the rest of your day.
If you’re interested in becoming a special education teaching assistant, feel free to check out our Special Education Teaching Assistant program by clicking here. We’re excited to help you start your teaching career!