Flexibility: Medium

Social Engagement: High

What’s What: Schools all over the country are looking for paraeducators. Increases in teacher shortages, English language learners and students with disabilities that call for one-on-one instruction have created a huge need for people who can assist teachers by working with students in smaller groups or one-on-one.

Amava Take: If you love teaching, mentoring and tutoring, but for whatever the reason you do not want to go the traditional classroom teacher route, you can still contribute meaningfully to student progress in a school setting as a paraeducator. You can be part of a team of dedicated and determined individuals who work together to deliver optimized learning for deserving pupils. If close connection with young minds is what makes you smile, sign up for the warmest Valentine’s Day cards ever by joining the ranks of paraeducators.

From the Front Lines:

What kinds of candidates are you looking for to fill these jobs?

We need people with patience, intuition, warmth and skill in working with kids.

Any tips for first-timers to make it a productive and fulfilling experience?

Keep the lines of communications open with classroom teachers, parents and staff whenever possible. The more you collaborate, the better the results will be for your students.

What’s a typical daily schedule like?

Academic calendar and schedule.

From the Trenches:

What’s the most satisfying part of the job?

Anytime a student has an “a-ha moment.” Smiles and hugs are pretty great too.

How would you describe the hard parts?

Some of the students I work with are considered “difficult,” and a frustrated student is always challenging, but as long as I feel like I can make a difference, I’m good.

What’s the best thing a student ever said to you?

“I want to be like you when I grow up.”

Special Requirements: Because “paraeducator” is a relatively new term, it is worth spending some time understanding what a paraeducator does. All paraeducator jobs require a high school diploma, but most also require at least a two-year degree, preferably in an education or special education field. Many school districts provide on-the-job and online training for paraeducators to keep them up-to-date on best practices for the students they serve.

Finding a Position: You can easily go to the websites of your local public schools, and some education job portals reach beyond state lines. If those don’t work for you, try a nationwide K-12 education job site and tailor your search.