I worked at NSSED (More than 10 years)
Loved the Students; especially the student I was assigned
Nothing; there are no current cons
This is a good place to get a $13 an hour job if you are having difficulty finding one and if you are studying for a teaching MA or waiting for a real job. It is a passable place to start off your career if you are a trained teacher.
It is top heavy with bureaucracy and experts who sit and watch while the "assistants" give the children the love and attention they need and spend hour upon hour interacting with them. The teacher also sits gravely in front of a computer and interacts about half the time with the children. A psychologist, for example, might spend a day "observing" and come up with some stellar/ AKA obvious observations worth $60 an hour while the assistant actually guides and manages the child. A few steps up the teachers earn $45,000 a year but this involves lengthy two or three hour meetings every week. For parents, beware, your child may be a special needs child, but the teacher I worked with had a great deal of trouble reading and writing and couldn't add. She had a good heart but I think we need a little more in a teacher, so be careful about a place that will hire someone who has so MUCH trouble with basics. If you write a notice labelled "SAFTEY ZONE" one of the kindergartners, (deaf) might point out you haven't spelled it right. If this person says she got an MA at Northeastern by "drinking a ton of red wine every time I had to "write" an essay" this might not be the place for your child. Also I am afraid that derogatory remarks are made about children and staff due to religion and race. Why should someone yell at me, a Catholic, that I need to "come sprinkle some holy water" over someone who is misbehaving? Why should the teacher and another assistant launch into a long talk about "people who take religion too seriously" the day I wore a cross. These remarks may seem personal but the truth will out.
Advice to Management
You need to have your "experts" visiting for a minimum of an hour a day, sitting there gazing at a screen with e-mails already read twenty times is not a way to earn $60 an hour. You need to reduce the bosses and departments and you need to stop tricking the the parents with a lot of psycho-babble and believing a very disciplinarian orthodox approach to hurting parents and children is the only approach to those who need special education. If you are a parent of a special needs child think, think, think, and look for other options. My main motivation for writing this review is to warn parents.
I have been working at NSSED full-time (More than 8 years)
I enjoy helping special needs kids learn and maximize their potential. Seeing their faces light up when they understand something makes everything else worthwhile.
The administration shows no respect for the TAs. It appears that to them we are all just interchangeable warm bodies. Nobody at the administrative level takes the time or cares to learn about our strengths, weaknesses, or what makes us tick. Layoffs happen every year, but they are done in a haphazard way and often the employment contract is ignored.
Advice to Management
Take the time to get to know the people that work for you. Try to make annual placements a win-win. Follow the terms of the contract.
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Best reason to work at NSSED is the children, you can't help but fall in love. I am a classroom assistant in a special ed pre school. Every single year there are new kids with new issues!
The biggest down side is the pay! You have to work for years to see any increase in your pay.
I believe its a 1% increase per year! Other downsides could be dirty diapers, kids spitting or coughing on you, or rarley getting bit!
Advice to Management
My advise to management would be to offer bonuses yearly for a job well done. Or even just acknowledge someone for there work above and beyond there job description.
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