Paraprofessional For Special Education 

(Female, Age 49) from Pine Lake, GA

This is a REAL-LIFE job profile written by a Female aged 49 who works as a Paraprofessional For Special Education in Pine Lake, GA. We have removed all names and personal information in order to protect privacy. This professional kindly spent a bit of their time to complete one of our job profile surveys so that prospective job seekers like you could read their insights. Please excuse any punctuation or grammatical errors in this profile.

At a Glance

Current Job

Basic data on your current job

Job Title Paraprofessional For Special Education
Salary $29,000
Other Compensation None Set
Hours/Week 40
Company Size (not answered)
Location Pine Lake, GA
Years Experience 20 years

Career Ratings

Opinions on your CAREER overall (i.e. not just your current job)

Years in Career 0
Education (not answered)
Income Rating 0 / 10
Interest Rating 0 / 10
Work-Life Rating 0 / 10
Fulfilment Rating 0 / 10

Current job Q&A

Describe the type of organization you work for.
I work in a public elementary school as a paraprofessional for special education.

Describe your job role and responsibilities.
I am responsible for the care and well being of 8 3rd, 4th, and 5th special needs students. I am often responsible for one on one academic help as well.

Please list an additional benefits (beyond compensation) that you receive.
I have health insurance and retirement.

Do you feel you are under/over or well/fairly compensated at your current position?
I am under compensated. I often take responsibility that should be handled by the teacher who is making far more money than me!

Does your job entail you working with others on a daily basis? Is this something you like/dislike about your job? Please explain.
Yes. I work under the authority of a teacher and I work with another paraprofessional. It is often frustrating as the teacher is unorganized and not skilled in disipline so it falls on us…the two paraprofessionals. It is also often boring and dull as she chooses to use completely useless work sheets and handwriting.

Do you work collaboratively with supervisors/managers?

Do you work collaboratively with your co-workers?

Describe your work location (e.g., office, home, theatre, in the field) and what you like/dislike about working in it.
I work in an old 1950’s public elementary school. It is pleasant enough.

Please rate each of the following aspects of your current job on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest/best):
Income: 1
Benefits: 2
Hours: 4
Co-Workers: 5
Supervisors: 7
Job Title: 8
Level of Responsibility: 6
The Actual Work: 3

A day in the life of…

Please describe a typical workday for you in your current job:

5am to 6am
6am to 7am
7am to 8am I will have waken up @ 5:30 am and left the house by 6:30am. I will have driven 17 miles via interstate to reach the school by 7:00am. I will sign in and drink hot tea with my two coworkers before meeting the students at the bus by 7:30. We will meet, greet and socialize at the bus stop with other special needs staff and students until everyone is there.
8am to 9am We will take the students to the classroom and check everyone’s bag for notes from home and any other papers, money, or whatever. I will take the four girls to the restroom and supervise them and maybe help someone with zippers or buttons. I will remind one student to make all the pee go out so she won’t wet her pants later. I will remind everyone to use soap and wash their hands and only take one paper towel. We will go to breakfast where I will supervise students getting breakfast. I will get my own breakfast. We will all sit down together to eat. I might have to remind several students to stop stimming and eat…keep your outside voice put away until you are outside. Next we will throw away our trash and return to the classroom. Again I will take the four girls to the restoom again and go through the same routine.
9am to 10am We will sit down as a class while the teacher conducts morning calendar. Parts of it are useless and boring and I will be fighting falling alsleep. Parts of it also often prove to be entertaining (thanks to the kids) and those prove to liven things up.
10am to 11am Now for the real nonsense. The teacher will pass out preprinted handwriting sheets or work sheets to 8 children. Most cannot hold a pencil or crayon and have no clue why they are expected to. Several have some concept of what is expected. One is addicted to handwriting and wants to mass produce results…page after page. Each of the 3 adults will sit there holding the pencil hand over hand until the page is filled up. There might be some coloring in the mix. We are expected to follow the alternative plan under NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND so we must present the same subjects as the regular education grades. It doesn’t seem to matter that we are doing nonsense busy work that benefits noone. Hey we are complying with the law. I know in my heart I could do a better job of this than the teacher but I am NOT the teacher. On certain days we have some some respite in the form of PE, library or art. The teacher will stay behind to do paper work while the 2 paras take the children to the specials and remain with them.
11am to 12pm On some days I cannot take the boredom of hand over hand worksheets and I branch out and suggest art projects. The teacher has 0 to none creative ability and cares nothing for art. I come up with the ideas and then she will create lesson plans to fulfill you guessed it…the alternative assessment. This suits me fine. I pull the kids one @ a time and we creat, paint, glue, staple. I know children love to take things they have made home. At 11:30 we all go to lunch.
12pm to 1pm At 12:15 we have eaten our lunch and we return to the classroom. Everyone goes to the restroom again. Next the two paras take the children out to the playground where we stay until almost time to get ready to board the bus home. In between all throughout the day children are being pulled out for speech therapy, OT therapy and/or testing by an assortment of providers.
1pm to 2pm In the last minutes of the day we once again are back to completing the same boring worksheets and handwriting. Sometimes I will read aloud one of the books we checked out from the media center. I am the only one who does so. We get everyone packed up to leave…bookbags, restroom, lunch boxes and soiled clothes. The students board the buses by 2:00 pm.
2pm to 3pm At 2:00 I escape to the teachers lounge and turn off the lights and collapse on the sofa for a few minutes of rest before I have to do hall duty. I do hall duty from 2:10 to 2:30. On Wednesdays we have a faculty meeting. Other days I am expected to stay there until 3:00. I get no formal breaks…not even for lunch. I have to write down that I get from 11:45 to 12:15 for lunch though. I eat with the children. On the otherhand the teacher with a doctorate degree gets all the PE,library, outside time, media center time to print more worksheets I guess. It is insanity. I make enough to barely cover my bills if I am lucky. I handle the students as it appears she is clueless too many times to count. I come up with the creative ideas and the ideas for actually teaching a concept. She always seems overwhelmed and unorganized. After my hall duty I return to the room to straighten up or put together an art project for later.
3pm to 4pm I try to walk out the door by 3:00 to avoid the afternoon rush hour on my long drive home.
4pm to 5pm
5pm to 6pm
6pm to 7pm
7pm to 8pm
8pm to 9pm
9pm to 10pm
10pm to 11pm
11pm to 12am

Table of Contents

How you got your job

How did you get your current job?
I had a friend who was working as paraprofessional who told me about it. I filled out a paper application and did a face to face interview.

What was the application process?
Paper application, face to face interview with human resources. Next was two interviews with principals and I was hired.

Did you have to interview for your current job? If yes, what did the interview process entail?
I interviewed with HR and then visited two schools. The second school hired me that afternoon. The rest is history.

If you can remember, what questions were you asked during the interview?
I was asked about my experience.

Do you feel your employer properly prepared you for your job? Explain.
I learned on the job.

Was there training for your current position? If yes, what did it entail?
What training? I had worked a summer @ age 17 in a sheltered workshop for special needs adults. I had a special needs first cousin and sister and other family members.

Do you feel your educational background prepared you for your job? Explain.
Nope. I think common sense is what helped me. I learned from the first teacher I worked with. I was with him 12 years. I followed the example of other good teachers too.

If applicable, do you feel your internship experience helped you prepare for your job?

If someone wanted to go about getting a job similar to yours, what would you recommend for him or her to do?
Good Luck! I would say have some experience with special needs children. Have some college under your belt or they won’t even interview you.

What skills do you think a person should have if they want to pursue a position like yours?
I think the bottom line is common sense. Have a lot of patience and be able to think things through. Like working with children and have a positive outlook on life. Don’t take things too seriously and look for joy where you can find it.

Do you feel that you need a certain level of education or training to be successful in your job?
I think you need to have common sense. Too many people don’t.

What advice would you give to someone who was about to start work in your position/ line of work?
My advice would be have faith. Trust your gut instints and you will love the kids.

Long-term career plans

Is your current employment part of your overall career plan? Why or why not?
I never dreamed I would be doing this for my life’s work but it has turned out to be the best move ever. I am good at what I do and I know I improve lives everyday.

What are your current career goals?
I just want to hold myself together physically until I retire at 30 years of service. After retirement I would like to work parttime at another job to build credits towards social security. I will only get teachers retirement otherwise.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your career?

Prior work history

Please list your most recent jobs prior to this current job:

Title Length Salary Description
Prior Job 1 Customer Service Rep 2 years 17000 I worked handling cutomer and sales rep calls on a nationwide 1-800 line. I hated it.
Prior Job 2 Customer Service 2 years 15000 I handled customer complaints on a 1-800 line for business customers. I hated it.

Educational background

Please list your educational background:

High School GPA:3.9

GPA School Degree
College (Undergraduate)
or Technical/Vocational
2.6 Brenau Women’s Political Science/International Relations
Graduate or Professional
(Masters or Doctorate)

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