Since I started working as a preschool teacher assistant over the summer, my schedule has been pretty much the same. I work three partial days a week (starting at 11:15) , and one whole day (arriving at 8:30 in the morning) in Classroom A, where all the students are four or five years old. That program finishes at 2:00. Most days I transition over to Classroom B, the extended day program, which has students of several ages, for an hour or so. However, everything revolves around the number of students in each classroom.
Two students left the school last month, so my hours were decreased. I was no longer needed in the extended day room every afternoon, and there weren't enough students in Classroom A to justify all the time I was there. However, I've been able to shift gears a bit and spend additional time concentrating on two of the special-needs children who needed extra help.
In Classroom A I'm working with a child that needs more one-on-one help to meet his annual goals. I've done things like supervising him while he sorts manipulatives into categories, helping him count sets of one, two, or three items, and playing games with him and some of the typically developing students in the classroom, who model behavior like taking turns. I also get to tag along when he has time scheduled with the Speech Pathologist or the Occupational Therapist. If there's a downside, I'm also doing more of the bathroom duty; this child is still working on toileting skills.
Another change in my duties is in the extended day room. There is a young boy with autism who attends one of the classrooms in the building. His mother would like him to stay for a while after his regular classroom day has ended, but he doesn't like the open, boisterous atmosphere of the extended day program. Ideally he'll transition into the room on a daily basis but right now he's coming two times a week. Guess who's helping him out?
He's there for an hour before his mother arrives to pick him up. We always start off in the large group environment, although we stay somewhat to ourselves at a table. I have a list of suggested activities from one of the assistants in his regular classroom. We paint, glue, and use stickers. He likes to listen to books and play with Duplos. Sometimes we successfully stay in the room the whole time, but sometimes we move to a different classroom so it's just him and me. We do the same activities, but in a much quieter atmosphere.
I was initially concerned when I found out that my job description was changing, but I'm having fun and learning a lot. You never know when the extra skills may prove to be helpful in the future.