Former Special Education Instructional Assistant at Paramount Unified School District
almost 2 years ago
Honestly some days are better than others. On a good day the students you're working with will be responsive and follow your instructions. On a bad day, you can expect students not to be focused, have little temper tantrums, and at times some students will physically lash out at you. It can be pretty unpredictable what sort of day you're going to have because there are so many things that factor into the students cooperation. For example, I remember an instance where a young boy would always cry and throw tantrums unless we gave him the iPad. Typically the iPad is used as a reward for students when they've completed a task. We eventually found out that when the child was home his parents would always just give him the iPad whenever he got upset. Because this was happening at home regularly, he would think the same thing was okay at school. Situations like these are great examples of why it's so important that there's communication between the teachers and the parents. Ultimately there's two things you need to know as an instructional assistant for special education: 1. You must pay attention to everything they do; 2. Students love routine. All it takes is for one little thing to disrupt their routine and then it's almost a guarantee they're going to have a bad day. This was always difficult for me as I went to several different locations as a substitute assistant. I found it was a lot easier to work with students when there was more than one regular assistant in the classroom. Lastly, it's very important that you never let a student out of your sight especially those that are moderate/severe. Anything can happen such as them hurting themselves or another student, or running off. This job really does require a lot of patience and vigilance, but it is also one of the best jobs I've had.