George Lucas Educational Foundation

Working with 1:1 Aides

Working with 1:1 Aides

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In September I start with a new class of 9th and 10th graders. All of these students have emotional and/or behavioral issues severe enough that the class will be self-contained. Two of the students have 1:1 aides. With the TA in the room, my room will have four staff and six students. I have a great working relationship with the TA. How does one use a 1:1? What are they supposed to do? Are there any hints or tips for making this arrangement work? Thanks!

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MK's picture
school social worker

A spec. ed. teacher who has years of experience working with 1:1 instructional assistants can I'm sure give you more detailed info. As a school social worker I have worked with I.A.'s for 17 years. The 1:1 I.A. provides the support the student needs, whether it is structure, pull-out one-to-one (i.e. hallway) for a test, etc. or for behaviors (feedback for social interaction/coaching, etc.) It all depends upon the needs of the student. The student has a 1:1 aide because of the level of support they need in order to be successful. You instruct the aide in what you need them to do, also, as for as modifying/adapting assignments, for example.

Sorry this is so vague!


Traci Sise's picture

I have 12 students on my caseload and have 2 TA's and 2 student attendants. I find (as a former TA and attendant)that one on one with the same student all day, every day can bee too much. While I have the 2 and 2 combination on paper, I rotated my ladies throughout the day so that each have inclusion, assistant and attendant duties each day. This helps them tremendously by breaking up their schedules. It is trickier for me as far as scheduling is concerned, but well worth it in the long run.

Stephen Dziadosz's picture


I have been a one on one for a student with severe behaviors along with being developmentally delayed, deaf, and autistic. MLKMSW was spot on with the responsibilities of a 1:1.

I would encourage you to be in constant communication with your one on one staff. Either with it being how they are feeling in terms of burnout, structure or method of instruction, or just how they are doing. For myself, many times I feel on an island with the student I work with and it would be fantastic to receive feedback. Also, if you are new to the classroom, the 1:1's know the student very well, with being with them for the majority if not all of the school day. They should be able to point out to you special characteristics of the student. For example, with the student I work I can almost always tell when he is going to hit me before he does.

I hope this helps


j.'s picture

I am currently an SDC teacher for k-2 and have worked with several 1:1s, as well as having been one myself. I don't know how your school or district utilizes 1:1s, but mine has them not only for the student they are assigned to, but also to help out with the rest of the class as needed. They have regular duties for the particular student, but can also serve as an extra body to help manage groups, restroom time, unstructured times such as lunch and recess, and more. I think one of the biggest keys about a 1:1 is communication that goes both directions. You and the aide need to be able to know where each are and what your expectations are, as well as what has been going on in the classroom and with the student. Also, clearly defined expecations from you as the teacher help both parties. It can be overwhelming at times, but sooo benificial to you, your student, and your class as a whole. Good luck and have fun with it!

SgA's picture
Substitute teacher, mainly special ed, elementary

I am currently a 1:1 substitute teacher for special ed with a 3rd grader and a Dev K student. I have been in this postion for about 8 weeks. I agree with what j. has to say about the job in the classroom. My difficulty is as a sub I started during week 3 and was not there since day 1. I was not given any specific directions by the district or teachers on how to handle these children, I think they just think I know what to do, but still I would like more than, there's the student sitting over there at table 2, have at it. I wish I was more invested in these children, knew EXACTLY what I should be doing with them, know how long I'll be with them and what is expected of me, when I'm not working with them all the time. SInce I used to teach (at a private school) it's very easy for me to chime in and help the teacher as needed with the rest of the children in the class. However some teachers know that I have a credential (emergency now, clear in 2-3 weeks) so I'm given tasks that I don't think an instructional aide in special ed as a sub. should do. For instance today I was asked to take the 3rd grader to his RSP room, but I was to teach him the new concept of multiplication. Uh that's a big concept, something I feel should have been taught by his classroom teacher or his RSP teacher. That as a sub I was given this big task, was unrealistic. Luckily I knew what to do, but what about the other sub who comes in and works with him tomorrow (I'm only with him Mon/Wed). I really enjoy being a 1:1 sub, but I feel as a sub we need to be informed or told what to do just as if we were there everyday aide. But of course at this time neither of these children have been assigned a permanent aide, they just keep extending us subs, week by week, until they figure out what to do with these kids.

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