It's never anything like you anticipate, and rarely as its described, is the only thing I can say. I am a one on one exceptional parapro, that's the "official" title. I was basically thrown into the fray with a pat on the head and a good luck, maybe a couple "I know you can do it" but way too many "God bless you's" from other teachers, aides and paras. To the point that I felt like telling them to keep their negativity to themselves. They have written off this child and he is a ripe old age of 7. I can't tell you how much that pisses me off. Because he is bright. REALLY bright. He could probably run circles around my IQ bright. His teacher has had him for three days and said " Hope you can get something out of him because I can't" I did, btw. I got plenty. Because I listened and was patient and understood that it has to be tough being him, and I told him so, and said that's why I was there, to help him be the best kid and to see how smart he is. The psychologist agreed, and said too many people don't have the coping skills themselves so they pass it off. They either never took a basic psych course and never learned operant conditioning or they skipped class that semester, who knows. It was probably one of the hardest days I have ever had. I also loved every minute of it. If that makes sense. I imagine this will be an awesome prep for my own classroom one day, but more than that, it made me realize that maybe special education is the direction I want to go. In the end, as burned out as people tend to get, you can't forget these are CHILDREN we are dealing with, someone else's children to boot. I think sometimes that's forgotten. Other observations: I will eat in the custodial closet before I eat in the teachers lounge again, because I am immune to gossip and negativity, and dammit,I plan to stay that way. I love kids. I even love this kid, and pray to God I make a difference in his life. I need a long, hot bath and a glass of wine. Maybe two. That is all.