Why Teacher’s Aides Deserve Our Appreciation Every Single Day

Paraprofessional, Instructional Assistant, Teacher’s Aide, Educational Assistant… these wonderful people go by many names. When we read these titles, however, we may not really understand what their jobs entail. After almost 10 years in education, though, I think I can sum up a parapro’s job description in one word: superhero.

Every day, I watch these people do amazing things. I watch them stand and greet students as they enter our gym or cafeteria, providing smiles and hugs for each one. I see them follow schedules even more complicated than mine, moving between grade levels and never missing a beat. I watch them wrestle with copy machines and spend hours cutting out laminated items. I hear them out in the hallways, working with that one child who still can’t read sight words or add two-digit numbers. I even have watched them take verbal or physical assault from the student they have been assigned to help because music class is too much. They are vital to all of the education initiatives that we’ve come to embrace over the years, like “Title,” “Response to Intervention,” “Special Education.”

We ask these amazing people to do so much, to give so much of themselves. We ask them to jump through hoops like certification testing and after-hours trainings, and we expect them to do anything and everything within the buildings in which they work. If you think that teachers are underpaid (which, let’s be real, we are), let me tell you who is really underpaid: paraprofessionals. They make a fraction of what teachers do, yet they are asked to do so much more than they are paid for.

Oftentimes, only students recognize paraprofessionals for all that they do, but everyone should understand and appreciate how important paraprofessionals are in the field of education. These amazing men and women are some of the strongest connections our students with extensive needs make within the building. If you are involved in education in any way, as a parent, an employee or even a community member who cares, try to take a moment to thank a paraprofessional. They deserve our appreciation, not just one day a year, but every day.

Featured Photo via dancergrrrl.

254 COMMENTS

    • It would have been almost impossible to teach without my Paras. Teaching cooking, recycling, gardening, sales work, etc. as well as reading, LA, math, history, geography, etc. one on one without assistants would have been impossible.,

    • spcecial ed. assistant .welcome greeting and getting kids from bus,with with out the teachers,getting and serving breakfast,cleaning /help them to open their foods.clean them and their tables?,floors after breakfast,watch their hands several times a day.do the morning routine with them ,work with them at their tables. take them out to play and supervise them .change their diapers,help other aides with wheel chairs.because they are short in staff ,during the day monitored them to bathroom ,enforcing them to not misbehave. walk them to nurse or office as need it. then take them to school cafeteria for lunch,again help them to pick up their left overs to the trash,clean their faces when outside ,then back to play ground supervision, then diapers,clothing changing .because of soil,vomit ,buggers or getting wet or too dirty outside .work with them at the table and clean up room then get them ready in orderly manner to go home.

    • and….not just that 1 student that cannot add or read sight words…..but even children like my little boy who has severe autism and a rare brain syndrome that has caused him to regress in many areas and become incontinent. His paras, lovingly and respectfully help him change clothes if he has an accident, help him in so many ways….they encourage him and take great delight in his achievements no matter how big or how small. I can tell they love him. It means the world to me! I always send gift cards in at Christmas and end of year and sporatically will bring in bouquets of flowers and sometimes chocolate. I wish I was a millionaire so I could give them more!!!! but I do what I can because they area SUPERHEROES!!!!

      • I AM a teachers assistant. Thank you for showing your appreciation to your son’s aide. A simple thank you for what a great job u do…. put in his folder ever now and then could warm her heart. It’s the simple things that help us threw our day.

      • Believe me, every time a parent communicates “Thank You” verbally, written, in ANY way, it is very much appreciated! Having the honor of working with your children is priceless. I have learned so much from my students also. I love my job.