Paraeducator Job Description
Paraeducators work under the supervision of school employees to provide additional direction and instruction to youth and their families. Often they work as teacher assistants in special education classrooms, providing support in the classroom, such as assisting teachers with in-class tasks, supervising students or performing administrative tasks.
As Paraeducators begin to play a larger and larger role in the classroom, demand for their services is on the rise. The position will have a projected 6 percent increase through 2024, creating 37,450 openings annually during that period, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Paraeducator Duties and Responsibilities
Paraeducators’ primary role is to offer students an extra level of support and guidance both inside and outside of the classroom. To do this, many tasks come into play. We analyzed several job postings to determine the primary duties and responsibilities of Paraeducators.
Assist with Instructional Support
Most often, Paraeducators assist teachers who work with special needs students. Since many of these children require more time and instruction than the typical student, the Paraeducator assists the teacher with instructional support. This includes working one-on-one with students, preparing classroom materials and anything else that may improve the learning environment of the classroom.
The primary goal of the educational setting created for special needs students is to help them become more independent. It is very important that Paraeducators keep detailed reports and records of each student, their respective disabilities and how they are improving.
Prepare Lesson Plans
Extra care and attention must be given to creating lesson plans in a special needs classroom. The way information is presented and the method in which guidelines and procedures are explained is crucial to the success of the students. Paraeducators play an integral role in deciding how they students are going to be taught.
Assemble Class Materials
Teaching aids and classroom materials can be essential in helping students to understand a concept. Paraeducators are responsible for assembling relevant teaching materials that will make the instructional process clearer. These materials can include bulletin boards, text books, visual aids and activity sheets.
Core Skills: Due to the nature of the work, Paraeducators must be patient and understanding individuals with the ability to work at the pace of the student that they are helping. As teacher assistants, they must also be effective at working in a team setting in which communication and collaboration is essential. If you’re interested in becoming a Paraeducator, focus on the following.
- Working with children in a classroom setting
- Working with special needs children
- Knowing teaching methods and processes
Advanced Skills: In addition to these core skills, several job listings had additional skills that they desired. Examples of some advanced skills are as follows.
- Crisis intervention experience
- Being bilingual
We scoured the Web to locate more valuable resources for those working in or interested in the Paraeducator career field. If you want more information on the industry, the following links provide some good places to start.
On the Web
ParaEducate Blog – Blogs are posted weekly during the academic year to cover topics important to Paraeducators.
Home Room – The official blog the U.S. Department of Education.
National Resource Center for Paraeducators – A website and organization dedicated to providing in-depth information on policies, effective management practices and training models.
National Education Association – The Nation’s largest professional employer organization with 3 million members working in every level of education.
Paraeducator Special Interest Group – A group designed to support Paraeducators and to promote appropriate training and education practices.
The Personal Planner and Training Guide for the ParaEducator – A guide book that contains tips and proven strategies to help the Paraeducator work effectively with special needs students
Let’s Team Up – A checklist that helps principals, teachers and Paraeducators understand their roles and responsibilities and how the relate to each other.
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