Working as an educational assistant offers exposure to different experience and can make a tremendous difference in the lives of children in school. This job is also called special education assistant and involves working with children who have learning disabilities and other special needs.
Most of the time this is working in a school under the supervision of a teacher. It can involve working at summer camps, child care centres, and other learning situations.
It is a career worth preparing for as it is fulfilling because you do make a difference to a lot of people and also a position that is constantly in demand. The government of Alberta reports say the number of assistants has increased by 48 percent in the last 15 years and that number is expected to increase.
Educational assistants are essential members of educational teams at schools, along with teachers, librarians, and others. The job is also impressive in that each child you work with is different. Each case has its own issues and challenges, so you will not get bored with things being the same. Learning to become an educational assistant from experts and hands-on training help build you confidence and develop the required skill set to find success throughout your career.
As the name implies, this job involves helping teachers in the classroom as the teacher leads the education of the children. An educational assistant implements program plans and helps prepare class materials. The assistant may supervise students at times, and help include students in various educational settings. The assistant may also help with recording data. While doing this their main job, or overall purpose, is to help with the development and educational needs of students.
Educational assistants help students participate in various activities, and help them with lessons and assignments. The assistant may also help students with physical and personal care needs. An education assistant may have to learn Braille, for instance, for a child who cannot see.
You will be making a difference in the lives of children, and you will see the results and appreciation from that. Children and teens that need educational assistance appreciate the efforts that help them. Special needs students have problems being involved in the classroom and can get left behind. This is where the assistant comes in, to help them be part of the overall program.
Educational assistants usually work with a few students and work with the same children each day. This allows you to form a bond and a special relationship. This is where the reward is for the educational assistant, seeing the progress children make, and seeing how much they appreciate your assistance.
There are challenges, however. Sometimes special needs students get frustrated with their struggles, and you might face students having tantrums or outbursts. Another drawback is you might be taken for granted by teachers and other education officials. Those people may not be aware of the classes you have taken, or of the difference, you are making in the lives of children. If you can handle these two areas, you will probably enjoy the job and be successful.
People in this position need to have a positive attitude, be flexible, patient, tolerant, and sensitive to the needs of children. The person needs to be in good health, and be able to speak and write well. Observation skills and ability to interact well are also essential.
There are different levels of schooling required, and there are part-time as well as full-time positions in many schools. It is possible to work part-time while you are working on your training to become a licensed educational assistant.
Bay River College in Calgary is currently accepting enrollment for the Education Assistant Diploma Program. Students can receive hands-on training and complete their Diploma in as little as 33 weeks. For more details about the program, click here.