paraprofessionals and content knowledge

Discussion in 'General Education' started by aspiringlibrarian, Feb 13, 2017.

  1. aspiringlibrarian

    aspiringlibrarian Rookie

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    Feb 13, 2017

    I've just graduated with a certification to teach English (P-12). I've been offered a job as a paraprofessional in a middle school, and I would like to take it as I think it would be great experience. However, I'm not at all confident in my abilities to help with subjects like math and science. I've always struggled in school in these areas, and I'm not even sure I'll be able to grasp middle school math. :(

    Exactly how important is it for a paraprofessional to be knowledgable in all content areas? Is it possible for me to be an effective para even if I can't help a student understand a certain class materials, particularly in math and science?
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Feb 13, 2017

    I'd say that you're going to have to be proficient in and confident about your content area at least two or three years above where you're teaching. If you're teaching kids in 7th grade math, you should be able to do whatever math they're doing in 9th or 10th grade, at minimum.

    The assignments of paraprofessionals are really varied, though, in my experience. If, for example, you're working in a self-contained room with students who have very severe special needs, you may work less on pre-algebra and more on name recognition or swallowing or counting money. Do you know what type of placement you'd have at this job?
     
  4. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Feb 14, 2017

    You'll be fine. I promise you. As a certified teacher you are leaps and bounds ahead of most paras. As a para you'll be providing support to the learners who need the most help, not those advanced students.
     
  5. aspiringlibrarian

    aspiringlibrarian Rookie

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    Feb 14, 2017

    Thanks for your reply. I'll be working with one student, but I'll be expected to assist her in all of her classes. As of now, this is all the information I have. I have no doubt in my abilities to help with social studies and English, but I have trouble even with basic math... I really want to accept the position, but I also want to be helpful.
     
  6. aspiringlibrarian

    aspiringlibrarian Rookie

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    Feb 14, 2017

    Thanks for the encouragement!
     

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