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Does anyone out there work in Special Education?

I was just offered a position as an Instructional Aid in Special Education at a really great private school. I really want to take it because I love to help and work with children. I guess my question is, do you like your job? Do you feel it's rewarding? How challenging and emotional is it to work with these children on a daily basis? My main issue is I tend to get very emotionally involved with things and let that get the best of me. I am afraid that I might see parents not caring for their children as they should or putting myself in their place wondering what it's like to be the parents? Or the kids? Any insight to offer?

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 9:44 PM on Jun. 20, 2009 in Money & Work

Answers (5)
  • I work as an educational assistant in a class for special needs kids at the high school level. I love it. By the end of the school year I am sooo ready for the break, because it is demanding, but I am always ready to go back. We have a range of high functioning and low fuctioning kids, every diagnosis under the sun, verbal - non verbal, mobile - limited mobility, you name it we've got or had it. It is hard seeing kids who are not properly cared for, we have lots of kids who are in foster homes or group homes, but some who have great parents and very supportive families. It is very rewarding seeing kids grow and develop, but it can be frustrating too. It's like anything else there will be personality conflicts, you won't like every kid, you'll have your favorites and the ones who make you grit your teeth. Not everyone can do it, but if you can, you will love it.

    Answer by canadianmom1974 at 10:00 PM on Jun. 20, 2009

  • Feel free to pm me if you have more questions.

    Answer by canadianmom1974 at 10:00 PM on Jun. 20, 2009

  • My mother is a special ed teacher, who has 2 aides in her classroom. Her classroom is for behaviorally distubred kids in a rather poor school district. The biggest "problem" she has seen is that aides take things personally when the kids say mean or nasty things. You have to have thick skin. The kids will often say or do something merely to be provocative, and the aides get their feelings hurt, get shocked, or feel compelled to respond emotionally. My mom has been doing this for 40 years, so she's seen pretty much everything.

    It is also a very thankless job-- you often do not get support from the parents. You often see abuse, so calling CPS is routine-- including nothing being done by CPS. The kids do not thank you for changing their lives or affecting it in any positive way. They simply don't know how.

    Nonetheless my mom finds it rewarding. It's the knowledge that she's doing some good, even a little.

    Answer by Busimommi at 10:29 PM on Jun. 20, 2009

  • My best friend has been a special ed teacher for over 20 years; her mom was one for over 40 years. She teaches TMH (trainably mentally handicapped) teens in a public high school. For her, the biggest challenges have been from the school administration, who resents the funding given to Special Ed. She would not do anything else.
    Based on her experiences with aides, I think that it is important that you ask teacher you work with what will be involved, and be careful to not undermine her/his authority in the classroom.

    Answer by rkoloms at 6:45 AM on Jun. 21, 2009

  • some of the most under appreciated and over abused in the school system are the class room aides.... Special education being the hardest but in my opinion the most rewarding. You already know what to expect so just try your best to keep in mind that although you will come to love some of them you are not their parent and things at home are not your business. There is nothing you can do to change their home life but you can make sure they have structure and security at school.

    Answer by Angelbluewingsz at 7:42 AM on Jun. 21, 2009

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