Paraprofessional Training

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by cutNglue, Mar 20, 2007.

  1. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Mar 20, 2007

    While talking to our counselor, I was describing my relationship with my teacher. Of course I was noticing and having a problem with another teacher at the time other than my own. My teacher team is wonderful. I was asked to consider talking with the professional workshop coordinator and ask for training next year and share my ideas. We need training for teachers to work with paraprofessionals and paraprofessionals to know their job and work with teachers.

    I've written up some of my own basic points, but because a lot is mentioned on this board, I wanted to ask you what you would consider a good tip or essensial for paraprofessionals to know and what teachers should know as well. Any tips and advice is appreciated.

    Basically: What do you want from each other?!
     
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  3. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Mar 20, 2007

    It's so long, I'm almost afraid to post it.

    This is very long. Sorry!!! I'm mostly looking for content feedback and additions. What do you think so far? I can't see both sides of the coin so any feedback is appreciated.

    Master Teacher Wisdom (paraphrased)
    Teachers are not taught how to work with Aides. They are given this person and are told that they are there to help you. I have learned one important thing in my 20 years of teaching. Aides are individuals with unique talents, needs, and expectations. It is wise to consider that when forming a team.

    What is a successful team?
    *Teachers, Aides and Staff working together to achieve a common goal.
    *Looking at each other and ourselves as parts of a whole.
    *Helping each other to capitalize each other’s best qualities.
    *Respecting and recognizing each others value and input.
    *Flexibility

    What is our Common Goal?
    Teachers and Teacher Aides have their own unique duties and job descriptions. You can share duties or have some that are separate. The key is to remember that you are both working together toward a common goal.
    ***Common Goal: We are here to educate our students to their fullest potential.***
    You don’t always have to agree or accept feedback and suggestions, but do actively listen to each other. You are on the same team!

    Expectations
    *We all have expectations of each other’s roles.
    *In a perfect world, our expectations match.
    *Never assume your expectations are the same.
    *Respect each other’s right to have varying expectations and recognize that you can’t and shouldn’t force someone to match yours.

    Your Approach Makes a Difference!
    *Teachers, treat your Aide as a professional peer.
    *Aides, take care of your teachers and your classroom. They need you!

    Teachers
    Teachers must always maintain the following four professional roles.
    *Assessment --- For special education eligibility or use in instructional decisions.
    *Planning -- For IEPs and long term goals and for modifications to daily, weekly, and semester instructional sequences.
    *Collaborating and Consulting with General Educators and Families -- To ensure that IEP goals are addressed, the student has access to the general education curriculum, and the family is appropriately involved in the child's education.
    *Supervising Paraprofessionals -- To ensure that paraprofessionals contribute appropriately to the educational process, get adequate on--the--job training, direction, and performance feedback.

    Teacher Aides:
    Teacher Aides can contribute to all four roles. A Teacher Aide may collect student data and chart the frequency of certain behaviors. The teacher can use this data for assessment decisions. A Teacher Aide may suggest or carry out lesson plans; modify instructional materials based on the directions provided by the teacher; and under a teacher's direction, set up or write parent communications.

    Supervising Teacher Aides
    Actively Involve your Aide: During orientation, teachers and Teacher Aides should identify and compare their work style preferences. Teachers should also identify program needs, then compare those needs to paraprofessional's skills so they can create a personalized "job description" that helps the Teacher’s Aide know exactly what is expected. Remember that each Aide is an individual.
    Feedback
    Observe the Teacher Aide and give feedback. The tasks on which they are evaluated should never be a surprise. Reevaluate skills, duties and performance with your Aide as needed.

    Listening
    *What does your teacher need the most?
    *What is your aide’s strongest strengths, best talents and what do they like to do most?
    *How do you both wish your prep periods to look like?
    *What expectations do you have for each other? What choices are given?
    *How do you ask each other for what you need?
    *Are you being understanding and uplifting when your partner has a stressful day?

    Tips for Teachers
    *Do not ask your Aide to do anything you don’t do yourself.
    *Treat your Aide respectfully. When possible, ask them instead of telling them. Create choices and partnership.
    *Outline expectations, roles and duties based on mutual need and strengths. Keep this flexible throughout the year.
    *Set aside time to have planning and discussion meetings with your aide. Offer opportunities to listen and provide mutual feedback.
    *Although Teacher Aides are there to help staff as needed, never forget that they are people first and should not be treated like a tool to borrow. It is appropriate to ask the teacher if they can spare their Aide, but also be courteous and ask the Aide too! Nobody likes to be taken for granted.

    Tips for Teacher Aides
    *Be sensitive to your teacher’s schedules, pressures and needs. Be flexible with them.
    *Do ask if your teacher needs help. I bet they do!
    *Make sure your work ethic, work quality, attitude, and time you put in during work hours show you off in your best professional light. Make your hours count.
    *Provide feedback to your teacher to let her know how things are working out in the classroom and with your team work.
    *Be Positive! Your teacher deserves your respect and support. Do not be critical of their performance, but do offer positive feedback and suggestions when they are open to it.

    Traits of a Good Team Player
    Actively Listen * Share * Respect * Learn * Work Hard * Provide Feedback * Be Flexible and Sensitive * Evaluate Yourself, Others and Situations.

    Power Words for all Team Players
    Use words like “we” and “us” to promote team unity.
    “What do you think?”
    “Would you rather…?”
    “I like your style.”
    “Do you need help?”
    “How do you feel about that?”
    “Did you agree with how I handled….?”
    “What could I do different?”

    Never Underestimate the Power of a Compliment!*Compliment their work.
    *Ask for their advice.
    *Send them an email.
    *Don’t forget the power of “Thank You!!”
    *Pick up a task the other is falling behind in.
    *If you are comfortable, treat that person to a beverage once in a while or something similarly thoughtful.
    *EVERYBODY needs a pick me up!
     
  4. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Mar 21, 2007

    This is a fabulous idea! I don't have time to read in detail this morning, but will get back to it this afternoon. One thing that we have found working quite well for us this year (and which I would like to see expanded next year) is a monthly meeting, of all support staff (educational assistants and Child and Youth Workers), administration and Special Ed teachers. We discuss what is working and what is not, how student and staff needs are being met (or not), and any other concerns. The frequent communication and "tweaking" has been very effective this year.
     
  5. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Mar 21, 2007

    I look forward to hearing from you Mrs. C.

    We have scheduling problems regarding getting Aides and Teachers together at the same time. It's almost impossible. In fact, we had ONE meeting and we had to have it in the gym where the Aides were still watching the kids and trying to attend to the meeting too!! They were supervising bus duty. (I am the only Aide in my dept with a different schedule. I was working on comp time. I help supervise High School dorms morning dress time). I really enjoyed myself at that meeting listening to multiple sides. We weren't addressing each other at that point, but rather some logistical problems we were having. I agree with you though!!
     
  6. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Mar 21, 2007

    A couple of weeks ago, the principal called in extra parent assistants to cover the EA's lunch duties and had sandwiches, etc sent in so that we could have a working lunch; that little gesture went a long way!

    So many of the ideas you have written are fabulous--this part really jumped out at me:

    What is our Common Goal?
    Teachers and Teacher Aides have their own unique duties and job descriptions. You can share duties or have some that are separate. The key is to remember that you are both working together toward a common goal.
    ***Common Goal: We are here to educate our students to their fullest potential.***
    You don’t always have to agree or accept feedback and suggestions, but do actively listen to each other. You are on the same team!


    This is so easily forgotten in the stress of our jobs; we need to keep our eyes on our purpose. Putting together this sort of training will go a long way to helping to promote positive relationships and developing a climate of mutual respect. We need to recognize that we are all professionals (with different roles, perhaps) and that we need to work together, focussing on our similarities and on the good of our students.
     
  7. teresaglass

    teresaglass Groupie

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    Mar 21, 2007

    I think your ideas are great. You may have a furture in administration. Many teachers have trouble supervising their aides. Terry G.
     
  8. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Mar 21, 2007

    Thanks but NAHHH...
     

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