Things I’ve Learned From Being a Teacher’s Aide

I’ve worked with kids since I was 18. In my 6 years of summer camps, aftercare, and being a teacher’s aide, I’ve tucked away precious lessons and sweet memories. As this chapter closes and I move on to the next, I am thankful for the morsels of experience I can carry with me. I truly believe that there are lessons to be learned everywhere. All we must do is slow down and observe. Look a little closer. Hug a little tighter. Love a little more.

Here are the lessons I’ve learned from my past three and a half years as a teacher’s aide.

  1. Bandaids have magical healing powers. Even if you can’t see a scratch, give the kid a bandaid.
  2. Kids will do anything for a piece of candy. Even just one skittle.
  3. The power of a sugar high over a child is no joke.
  4. Kids are brutally honest. “I don’t like your hair like that.” “Oh okay, thanks.”
  5. Kids genuinely care. If I was ever out sick one day, I’d have kids asking how I was feeling for a week or so after.
  6. Four square is serious business. And if they ever hit me with the ball, I was “interference!”
  7. Childlike faith is a truly beautiful thing. They believe with such reckless abandon. Unwavering, blissful, steady faith. 
  8. Watching a child break down walls–brick by brick, begin to trust, and flourish is one of the most heartwarming things to witness.
  9. The Bible doesn’t need to be watered down for kids. In fact, the more meat they learn from it, the more of the Bible they yearn for. Seeing them get excited in Bible class is so inspiring and uplifting.
  10. Copy machines have a mind of their own and they definitely aren’t people pleasers.
  11. Working at a school is like working with family. 
  12. Teachers work so hard. Not only do they pour into a child’s education, but their inner struggles as well. It’s been an honor to work along side the very best, loving, invested teachers.
  13. Rainy days= bad days at a school. No recess = no sanity.
  14. The teacher’s lounge is a sacred refuge. With donuts. Lots of donuts.
  15. I’ve learned a lot about discipline and resolving conflicts—valuable, fruitful lessons I can apply to parenthood one day.
  16. It has been an honor to work with children of all different personalities, backgrounds, and perspectives.
  17. Kids see the world through different spectacles. They’re not afraid to get dirty, dig, and be free—a trait I need to embrace more.
  18. Sometimes you impact a child, and sometimes they impact you.
  19. When a teacher’s aide enters the room, teachers look at you like a paramedic about to save the day.
  20. In a world saturated with technology, it’s refreshing to see that reading a child a book still deeply affects them. Sitting criss-cross-applesauce, with their mouths slightly open, their gaze in awe and anticipation—they are entranced by the power of a good book.
  21. Speaking of technology, I’ve learned that it is not only unnecessary, but harmful in excess to a child’s imagination. (This is merely my opinion.) Nothing makes my heart soar more than seeing a child play house, drawing treasure maps, building things…being uniquely and creatively, them.
  22. Children aren’t afraid. They climb to the top of the play structure with ease. No looking down. No second guessing. They just climb. And that’s where I’m at right now. I needn’t look down, but rather look up.

As I tread unwandered trails, I hold fast to the fact that the Lord has always come through. He always provides. In His perfect timing. And He sprinkles the path with blessings and lessons. A truly beautiful journey indeed.

Letter From a Teacher’s Aide

Dear reader,

I am a teacher’s aide.

I’m not a teacher, an administrator, or a guidance counselor. I am the girl in the back of the room grading papers and cutting out shapes. I work quietly and happily, and step in when needed. I’m the girl washing tables, and trying to calm down the kid having a melt down.

In the midst of the chaos, it is easy to forget that what I’m doing is important.

This past Sunday in church, God gave me an excellent reminder. My church is starting a ministry where they are going to help a local school by spending time in the classroom. The pastor described this as “cutting snowflakes,”reading with kids, giving the teacher a chance to work one on one with a child that needs some extra help, etc.

My sister nudged me and whispered, “Julia, that’s what you do everyday! Your job is a ministry.” It instantly choked me up.

What may seem small to me, is big to God.

God has me where I am for a purpose: to show the love of Christ to his children. To be someone they can trust. Someone they know will always give them a smile.

I remember being a little girl, and thinking how invincible adults were. They could fix anything. They were strong. They made “boo-boos” feel better. They had so much knowledge. They were comforting. Even though we adults hardly feel “invincible,” that’s what we are to these children. I have the daily opportunity to be these kids’ rock in moments when they don’t know what to do.

So to the weary and the worn out, remember that God smiles when He sees you serving Him. His glory is our goal. So even when I lovingly tell a kid to stop doing something dangerous, and they roll their eyes, God is renewing my strength. Keep on keeping on, for His glory.