Pros: dress comfortable, lots of opportunity for overtime and exercise, growth and experience in the field
Cons: high stress, high potential for physical injury
I was originally given the impression that I would be in something like a mentor role with autistic teens, only it was after school and in a residential setting. I know that happens on the campus but for the house I ended up in it's more about just keeping the students physically safe while dodging the occasional bite, kick, or punch. It's totally worth it for folks that are able to wind down after work instead of going home to three young children of their own, like me, where things are still pretty high-energy. The management is pretty supportive of staff and the philosophy of the campus rocks but it isn't always followed properly because some situations simply require a different response. An example would be if a student is known to cause property destruction. As long as it doesn't lead to a physically harmful situation, beds/televisions/computers can always be replaced - so says the philosophy. In practice, however, after a couple mattresses get ruined and holes get kicked in the walls repeatedly, some maintenance or management start to get a little cranky. The hardest part of the job is probably just shifting your focus to pay one hundred percent attention to your student, who might be trying to communicate with you through non-verbal means. The most enjoyable part, though, is when you catch it and you have a great night and you know the student was able to effectively communicate his or her needs and you just have a great shift together.