Laura S.: Teachers Aid at a School for Disabled Students

April 21, 2010
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Laura majored in art in college and is currently working at a high school for disabled students. She is a teachers aid and helps the students she works with get through their days. This is not an easy job but it is admirable and she is someone you can definitely look up to.

What is a typical day like at your job?

Well, I am a teachers aid and there are two students that I work with one-on-one, both of them have multiple disabilities, so mostly I go out to the bus and go through the morning routine of getting things together and going to the bathroom and their morning schedule, like what day it is, month and the kind of stuff with repetition will hopefully make sense. Then, depending on the day they have special services, which would be speech, physical therapy, occupational therapy, social counseling, and then there’s a number of others and they really enjoy them. So we also do cooking classes, art, choir, regular stuff you do in school.

What did you want to be growing up and why?

I wanted to teach art to deaf kids, mostly because I liked art and sign language and thought it was a good way to use them together.

If you had to pick any other job to be doing, what would it be and why?

I would love to do full time missions. I love being immersed in that.

What advice would you give someone looking for a career in art?

Save everything you’ve ever done so you can look back to where you started and see how your ideas change and you can see how your imagination has changed over the last ten years.

What types of skills do you need to excel at your job?

Patience, quick thinking, to be able to fuse potentially violent situations, and then creativity so that life is exciting for both you and the student.

What is your most memorable teaching experience?

When I first started, I was kinda at a loss of how to calm down the girl I work with, when she’s out of control and so it was kind of out of desperation I started singing and she calmed down like immediately and from then on we had a more harmonious relationship.

What are some of the struggles you experience when working with students with disabilities?

Finding ways to communicate and it goes both ways, me communicating with them and trying to understand what they’re saying back since it’s mostly non-verbal.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The ah-ha moments, when you can see them get excited that they’re valued and when they finally get something they’ve been working on, the definitely the most rewarding.

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