Educational Assistant Support, the assistance provided by someone within the classroom. This is considered by some teachers as a positive and by others as ineffective. The ability to have educational assistance within a classroom is depends on one major factor, Money. If funding is unavailable then, it is very hard to get support.
In a Special Educational setting, Educational Assistants and the support they provide can be both critical, invaluable and beneficial.
During my entire focus in Special Education I have had the wonderful opportunity to work in classrooms with Educational Assistants. The most I have had in one classroom was three. That means that there are four adults within the classroom to assist, teach, influence and cue all the students within the classroom, and in a classroom of only ten students, it was an endeavor to say the least. I am not going to sit here and say that it worked all the time, that there were not any differences of opinion and that there weren’t times when contradicting information didn’t cause confusion, But I can say with all honesty that out of the 23 Educational Assistants I have had in my class there is only one that I could not resolve a difference with, which resulted in a mutual request for transfer.
I believe that there are many effective and essential ways to integrate and use an EA (Educational Assistant) in a classroom. However, in the same breath I will say that there are ineffective and unreasonable ways to use an educational assistant. Below I will outline how I use an EA and highlight some of responsibilities that I delegate to my Educational Assistants.
Before I begin I will state that the most important element I hold with my students is the same thing I hold with the staff I work with, relationships. I treat my Educational Assistants in the same manner I would treat my colleagues, to tell the truth make no distinction between teachers and other educational staff, we all have very important elements to contribute to students education.
Back to my class, in my class I do not have the assistants do anything that I am unwilling to do, let me make that clear first of all. My EA’s generally:
Assist students with reading programs.
Assist students with other academic activities.
Work with students in centers and academic understanding.
Supervision during gym and recess.
Supervision of class if I need to attend to a students behaviors.
There are many other responsibilities that my educational assistants have but I would like to prevent this post from becoming an essay. I will state that that I strongly believe in the use and effectiveness of educational assistants. I state this because they bring another perspective to the classroom as well as another pair of hands and eyes. Someone to bounce ideas off and someone who presents ideas and suggestions to use in the classroom that will benefit children.
Educational Assistants want to be there, this is undeniable, at least from what I have seen. They willing work with students and are always willing to work with the students that are difficult behaviorally or struggling academically. Therefore, to all Educational Assistants I have worked with – THANK YOU.