Aide's Role

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by cutNglue, Mar 14, 2007.

  1. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Mar 14, 2007

    There is a forum for everybody but the aides, so I didn't know where to post.

    This week I'm realizing and feeling that different teachers have different perspectives about what an aide's role is.

    For me and my classroom, I feel my teacher and I have different job roles, but we are peers and we are both working for the same common goal. In the same respect, I don't feel like I work FOR my teacher. I very much feel like I work WITH my teacher. I am blessed. I know this.

    Lately though I feel from other teachers that it is okay to tell me what to do in a way that makes me feel like I'm their employee. It bothers me to be taken for granted and treated like a tool instead of a person. I am a highly educated and highly motivated individual so I even volunteer my time after work hours weekly to help out. I have no problems doing that. It's not expected of me. I do it because I care about the students and the job. I love it. I realize not every aide approaches it the same way. I'm trying to keep a cool mind about the fact that different teachers have had different experiences with aides and all have different perceptions. I messed up though when I confronted a teacher (something I'm not good at) about her ordering me (in a false asking way) to work with her aide to do all the lesson planning for the upcoming st. patrick's day party. I'm not her aide and I felt she took me for granted. I also felt it isn't the aides role to do any lesson planning. I do lesson planning all the time, but not because it is EXPECTED to because it certainly isn't my role. I did mess up with my approach to her and I'm nervous tomorrow.

    What is your perspectives? I can see how some teachers may feel that aides are there to do what they want them to do hence the title "aide." I just have never been treated like I was my teacher's employee so it's hard for me to see another side. How can I help fix this?
     
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  3. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    This is the way it is in my classroom; my aide and I work together for the good of our students. I can count on her to pick up and carry on the program if I am ever away and she works with me planning for small groups which she co-teaches with me. We confer on behaviour concerns and problem-solve together around all issues. She is an invaluable colleague.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Well, for starters, I'm secondary ed in a Catholic school. We don't have aides and I've never worked with one. So my opinion is based on what I think to be common courtesy, not practical experience.

    I think that all the adults working in the school contribute to making the school run. Everyone, from the custodial staff to the secretarial staff to the aides to the librian to the teachers to the administrators to all those people I didn't mention. All are adults working for the common goal: to help the school function.

    So, while I can't give you a job description for an aide, I do believe that all the adults deserve respect from each other. As an example: today the AP's secretary (who hands out our subs for our on-call periods) stopped by my 1st period class to give me a sub. Today is one of my 2 busy days; I have only lunch and one other period free. So of course I thought "Darn, now I have only lunch." When I got a look at it, she had scheduled me for lunch-- I would have been teaching non-stop from homeroom till the end of 7th period. (There's a glitch in my schedule. While I'm coveing the Senior classes, technically I have no "on call" periods, so Cathy fills me in where she needs me.

    I sent her a note and she fixed the problem. When I saw her later, we were both apologetic. Me, for giving her yet another hassle on what must have already been a hectic day. Her, for confusing which day of the cycle it was and giving me that sub in the first place. There were no accusations or anger, just 2 adults working through a mis-communication.

    That's how it should be: all adults (and kids too, but that's another discussion) should be treated with common courtesy.

    I've been following your story, and it's a shame that the other teacher never seems to have learned that lesson.
     
  5. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Alice, this was my first time to approach her directly. I did blunder a bit. I just was lost when she wouldn't stay to work through it with me particularly since I really feel she has a good pleasant attitude in general. I just think our perspectives about my role are different. What's interesting is that her aide and her have the most poisonous team in the school. The aide was a teacher previously. I feel that this teacher is very generous in general, but probably doesn't even realize that her perception is not shared by some.

    Mrs C. Doesn't it feel great when your team is a winning one? I brag about my team all the time. I love my teacher. With the week I've been having, I sent my teacher an email two days ago saying how much I appreciate her for being a "with" kind of teammate.

    The counselor and I talk sometimes and before this happened, I warned her that for a placement next year I realized that I would be hard to get along with if I was in the wrong place. With the right placement, it works. We talked about the school wanting aides to be highly educated (b.a degrees and some have m.a.). With that comes a different mentality.
     
  6. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Even though I wouldn't mind some opinions, I realize I did mostly need to vent. Thank you for listening. I needed it.
     
  7. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Good for you for standing up for yourself! I hated it when people treated me like their slave.
     
  8. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Personally, I don't work well with an aide/para. I'm terrible at asking for help. I tend to have them wandering around because I don't ask. Our 5th grade para works with our inclusion kids (this is an area where she and I differ, the para I worked with in 4th grade helped ALL the kids, not just the inclusion, the one this year doesn't). She doesn't do as much with the inclusion kids as I would like either, but I hesitate to say much because it's such a gray area. She does make copies for us. I actually don't have her copy much, the teacher who has her in her room most of the day, though, never makes her own copies. The para also grades papers, averages grades, and actually teaches a fair amount, but that's a whole other rant!
     
  9. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    LOL Christy. I actually want to hear that rant. I'm curious why you think she does all of that for the other teacher?

    I do agree sometimes there are gray spots. What one para will do is different than what another will do. They are individuals. Basically stick with the job description and then let them go from there.

    Rant on. That's what I'm doing. Hehe.
     
  10. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I have a co-worker who...well...she just doesn't do much of anything. Her para does it all. The para is actually going to school, she was in education but changed to general studies (she's planning on alt. cert.) I'm not sure why she really does it. When I went back to school after being so terribly ill (having NO voice for a week and a half) I still managed to give my spelling test. My co-worker moped around saying that she wasn't feeling good so her para gave her test, missed science and math to give her reading tests. Of course I also have issues with the para, she tends to miss A LOT.
     
  11. educatingme

    educatingme Companion

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    I'm scared. I have a great co-working relationship with the teacher whose class I'm in now. I start a new job later this month in what I hope will be a more fitting position...but, I'm scared to death that the teacher won't be as awesome as the one I work with now!!
     
  12. mrs.oz

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    I am speaking from the teacher prospective. I want to ask this question, what do you feel is your role in the classroom. My aide has a kind of negative attitude I think. If I am out she will not teach. She feels the subs get paid more. I usually ask for her opinion and now I am getting from her that that preturbs her. I do not ask her to do things but she goes usually one step ahead of me but then makes me feel like I don't do anything. She thinks she is running in circles, she ought to sit up in the teacher chair for the day. I guess she feels like she does more than me. She has recently told me that she is tired for being told what to do. Which I do not do, as I said before, and when I told her that then she said if she didn't do things they would not get done.
     
  13. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Mrs. Oz, a lot depends on the indivdual. I had a 20 year master teacher say that she has figured out that each aide is an individual, has different wants, needs, motivations, and output. Figuring that out, helps her know how to work with the person. Let's face it. Some aides ARE lazy or feel they only have to do certain min things.

    My role for MYSELF is to be treated like a peer and to behave like one. I am highly independent and self motivated. Last year's teacher (the 20 year one) gave me a word study center so that I would have something to sink my teeth into and call my own. Several teachers have asked for a copy of my word study plan book. She did that because I was constantly excited to throw out new ideas and it was easier for her to have me channeled into something of my own. My principal this year tried to move me because she thought I was being taken advantage of by my current teacher. (she was the co-teacher last year). She didn't know I wanted that duty. I stay after hours (no pay). I work at home. I do a lot of work. My teacher can ask me things, but I know she is treating me like a peer. If I'm behind, she does my things. If I see her behind, I'm already doing her things. We ask each other if we can help each other. It's beautiful! I have a lot of respect for her and I know it is mutual. I never feel pressured. Today I stayed later to pretend to be a leprechaun and mess up the room. She wanted to do it too. It's fun. She had to go to a meeting. So I stayed behind and waited. It's one of my favorite activities. So during that time, I did her prep work. She was tired and said she would get up and come in the morning to do it. I told her it was done. :D

    Bottom line, I recognize different management styles are needed for different aides. For me, I'm not comfortable with someone expecting that I HAVE to do something they tell me (in control of me). For all the work I do, it makes me feel taken for granted. I'm motivated enough on my own to deal with someone asking my feedback, ask what I would like to do, or ask if I can help with something. I also can't stand to be treated like a cup of sugar someone is borrowing from the teacher. I at least need to be acknowledged. The only person that can do whatever she wants is my Principal (boss). Luckily my boss is great and will listen if I have an objection (rare). Keep in mind that not only am I highly qualified (BA in Deaf Ed), but I've been an Admin Secretary to a Director of a Medical Program, an Office Manager at a doctor's office, and a volunteer coordinator. So I am used to responsibility. I don't feel like my teacher does more than me or less than me necessarily. I spin my wheels alot (thus more hours) because it's newer to me. She is able to know how to manage her time better. I think she has more of a burden than I do which comes with the job. Our duties are different. She can tell me that she needs me to do something and it never makes me feel like an order because we've already estabilished a highly respected and mutually giving environment. I even give up my lunch hour to help at times WILLINGLY and voluntarily. So I recognize that I am a little different than my coworkers and that's my point to my Principal. I'm with the right team. I let her know that CONSTANTLY so she won't switch me.

    My suggestion to you Ms. Oz is to tell her that you want her to be happy at her job and would like to know what she is interested in. Make up a friendly job duty list and ask if she would like to star the ones she likes doing the most, circle the ones that she isn't fond of, and x beside stuff she isn't comfortable doing. Then leave a section where she can add stuff she would like to do that maybe you haven't thought of or any feedback she would like to give. Let her know that some things you may still need her help with, but you want to take her wishes in consideration too. Listening to you though, I'm not 100% sure this will fly with her so excercise your best judgement.

    P.S. Except on Friday (too crazy), I prefer NOT to have a sub. I conceeded and told my Principal that I would take a sub if my teacher is out all day (really that's only if it is in advance) but I do NOT want a sub if it is a half day. I also arranged it where I am in charge and the sub is the aide. The reason for me is because it was too hard to figure out how much I can and can't help the person without making them feel like I'm undermining them especially since I was used to a much more active role with my teacher. Tomorrow she has training all morning. I have the kiddos. :angel: Unfortunately she'll miss the leprechaun excitement. :(
     
  14. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    P.S. Our aides get paid 12 whole cents more than a short term sub.
     
  15. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    While I would love it if my educational assistant (aide) could supply for me if I'm away, unfortunately it isn't an option. She is, however, a tremendous help to the supply teacher and she took over a lot of the planning when I was away for 2 weeks in January.
     
  16. educatingme

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    cutnglue, you sound like an awesome Aide...the kind I want to be if given the opportunity!!
     
  17. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Cut you sound like I was when I was an aide. I would ask for no sub when the teacher was out. It was to hard to figure it out what I was suppose to do and the sub was suppose to do. Of course I worked in a speech therapy room, and trying to teach a sub how to work with the students was to hard.

    I might end up having a one on one aide next year (if I stay here). I technically wouldn't be their boss. But I'll be the only person in the school to supervise them.
     
  18. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Update:

    I approached the teacher yesterday and apologized for going overboard in my reaction. She immediately sighed and apologized back. We hugged. Then she asked if I minded sitting and talking about some of the things that were said. I did. In fact afterwards we had a 2 hour conversation. I think we both felt better. I acknowledged that I'm not good at confrontations and I didn't handle it well but that I did so because I was trying to be upfront instead of two faced about it. We talked about how I felt with her questioning. She was suprised and said she didn't intend for it to come out like an order. I told her I didn't think so which is why I'm aplogizing for over reacting. (She does have a reputation for ordering, but I was being nice). I discussed how some other situations have come up and in general I like to be asked or even better I like the suggestion or offer to come from me. She told me my teacher talks so highly of me that she wanted to use my talents. I told her that I'm highly motivated and tend to come up with things quite frequently. I love doing it. I just need to feel like a peer instead of being told. I told her I learned stuff about myself this year. The number one thing I learned is I'm not as flexible as I thought I was. That's hard in this position and that I'm quite lucky to have a teacher who really compliments me and balances me out as well Then we talked about a previous comment I heard she mentioned about me one day (she brought it up). Basically she exaggerated to make this comment valid, but admitted to making it. I let it go that I knew she was exaggerating. I knew she was trying to save face. She knows I know what she said and that's enough. Overall I feel better having talked with her so that it won't be so akward. I am asked to come up with training on good professional teams. I won't be presenting it though and the workshop coordinator will have final say and touches on the workshop. It's based on websites from other schools, things I've heard from other teachers and aides and the fact that my own teacher and myself have the strongest team relationship in the school. Sometimes I think we are just lucky.
     
  19. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    I would love you as an aide cutNglue! I love working with people who can take initiative and assist students when they notice that they need help rather than waiting for the teacher to tell them to go help someone. My present aide spends almost every free moment on g-mail e-mailing friends. She will be on the computer as soon as she arrives in the morning for about 30 minutes -- even when she is late! I have actually had to move students around so she will not be near the computer because she will be working with a student and once he started writing she will turn and start typing. I moved a student who is distracted by the computer beside it, so that it has to stay off so that he could work. I always feel like I am interrupting her when I ask her to do something. She is unqualified to work with my students and has no patience, not to mention acting "snotty" towards them. She is my second parapro. this year and I don't want to complain about her too ;(, but I have to admit that I am glad that I will not be at my school next year :). I tried to get her to go to kindergarten but she likes all of the "free time" she has in special ed..

    My program is moving to a new school next year with a normal size classroom, so I told the teacher who will be replacing me to strategically place the computer, so that the parapro. cannot get at it easily and to have the new principal talk about appropriate use of the internet during school hours.
     
  20. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I don't have time to be on the computer and when I do I have to compete with the teacher using it. My teacher will, if I haven't already done it, ask if I would rather do x or y. I choose and she does the other. That works well because she is still assigning work but giving me some of the power too.

    Would you take a look at my other post about the training I'm designing. I would like honest feedback. Some aides though, like I told the admin, you can't train them to be professional if they aren't willing.
     
  21. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I've worked with GREAT paras. I've had great collegial relationships with one in particular who took initiative, never overstepped and was an invaluable addition to OUR classroom. I encouraged her many many times to go get her certification done as she would be terrific but she prefers to take a 'support' role. However, there are many paras/aides who are not PEERS with the professional educator with whom they work- they lack the education, background and experience to be a true peer but may still be a valuable aide.... Working together a teacher and aide/para should work out what works for them and for the kids in the room.
     
  22. hp123

    hp123 Comrade

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    Thin line

    I have 2 teaching assistants in my classroom. Both are extremely competent and helpful. Its unusual for me to have the same assistant for more than a year. I think it is the nature of the work.

    I've found each assistant has different expectations and may need a different approach. I usually start off the year having a meeting with them.....to discuss what their role is....what I need from them etc. I make it clear that at times....I will be very direct when I need something done, but it is never meant to be percieved as "odering them around". I have a clear set of "jobs" for the year so they know what to expect and what my expectations of them are.

    I also make it clear that whenever they have an issue....or are concerned about something I have done to talk with me. We communicate alot anyway......and I appreciate their perspectives on the children.

    I am very lucky this year, as I have two assitants who are top-notch.
     
  23. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    We have a lot of problems with Paras/Teachers this year

    One issue is that despite having a highly educated body of paras, teachers sometimes act like they own them.
    1. A secretary comes and asks for the para help someone else. She asks the teacher for permission but never makes eye contact with me. What am I? A bone to pass around? This is part of my duty but would it hurt to say, "do you mind?" or "thank you so much."
    2. A librarian literally ordered me 10 times in 20 min to "WATCH MY KIDS" in a nasty tone. I was standing with them helping them directly. She talks very sweetly to the teacher but interrupts me with a student to rag on me about another student standing beside her.
    3. A teacher griped that I was taking advantage because I needed an aide for a few minutes on a day I was subbing alone when she borrows me all the time. :confused:

    Then on the other foot is Aides.
    Many do not take initiative and can whine if they feel they are given too much (job duties should be outlined by admin and the team).

    People need to look at the other side of things.
    Teachers look at what they need and don't consider that Aides have separate needs and talents. Aides look at what they need without considering that teachers may really need them for something.

    Now that I've vented. Seriously...if the word peer needs to be removed, I'm happy to do it. How can I address what I'm saying?
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2007
  24. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    That's an important ingredient. That's what my teacher from last year said.
     
  25. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Apr 9, 2007




    It seems that you've addressed it. Seriously, we all have times when we don't get treated the way that we deserve or expect. We have a role to play in making sure that we DO let people know that such treatment is not acceptable. This can be done in a professional manner without overstepping one's boundaries .
    For example:A secretary comes and asks for the para help someone else. She asks the teacher for permission but never makes eye contact with me. What am I? A bone to pass around? This is part of my duty but would it hurt to say, "do you mind?" or "thank you so much." You could step in on the conversation- "I'm sorry, did you say you needed help with something? Of course I'd be glad to help if it works with the class' schedule. You should have said something to me, I would have checked it out with Ms Teacher so you wouldn't have to take the time to come down and ask...." said of course so sweetly that butter wouldn't melt in your mouth. Gets the point across if you read between the lines yet you don't offend anyone...
    A librarian literally ordered me 10 times in 20 min to "WATCH MY KIDS" in a nasty tone. I was standing with them helping them directly. She talks very sweetly to the teacher but interrupts me with a student to rag on me about another student standing beside her. "Oh Ms Librarian, I can see you have a lot on your plate today. I am watching the students to whom I am assigned. What else can I help you with?"
    A teacher griped that I was taking advantage because I needed an aide for a few minutes on a day I was subbing alone when she borrows me all the time. Seems like the climate in your building is 'clearing' the use of an aide with the teacher to whom that person is assigned. Again go the saccharine sweet route-"I'm hoping you won't mind if I ask Patty Para to help for a few minutes. From working with you so many times I know you have a lot going on and that you really need her but I would really owe you one and hope it's not too much trouble if Patty just helps for a quick moment..."
     
  26. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    The 1st scenario was dealt with sweetly. The 2nd was just a grin and bear it for now (I think someone said something to her because she did a 180). The 3rd one, I let her give excuses of why she said it and that she didn't mean it as long as she was aware that I knew and it bothered me. I let it go. I fumed but never retaliated. I helped her even the day after she said it without being nasty about it. I love your responses. :D

    Respect is a two way street. I gave scenarios for THAT particular comment to show why I added it to the slides. I just need to know if I need to change that word into something more acceptable because I want to get my point across but I don't want people to get sidetracked by the use of a word.

    This is a workshop and I'm trying to make it applicable to all. I would LOVE it if people added what they would like to see and what they disagree with. So far someone objected to the word peer. If one person does, then others can as well. That would defeat the purpose. :)
     
  27. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Apr 10, 2007

    Not sure who objected to the word peer. I mentioned something about it in an earlier post here because I don't think most aides/paras are peers with the teachers with whom they work. A peer is a person who is equal to another in abilities, qualifications, age, background.... While an aide may be a teacher's age, (s)he often does not have the same experience, educational background, professional development and responsibilities as the teacher. I have been extremely fortunate to work with paras who could easily be great teachers if they chose to go back to get their degrees. They have been great supports, colleagues and team members. In one or two cases I would have had a very hard time getting though some difficult school years without the fabulous para I had.... I have respect for the paras I work with and am thankful for their efforts. On their parts, they respected my responsibilities and authority in the classroom. No they didn't work FOR me- they worked with me but there was never a question about who the teacher was...
    CutNglue- you sound great. Most of us here would love to work with you. I truly am sorry that you don't get the respect that you truly deserve. You summed it up in the beginning when you said different teachers have different perspectives about what an aide's role is. That's true of most jobs- parents have different ideas about teachers, teachers have different ideas about kids...it's just human nature. Climates in schools vary as well. I think some schools just have a certain tone where kids, teachers, support staff work as a team and treat each other with respect. Other school climates can be a bit 'dog eat dog'....I still think you can react to the treatment you are getting in a way that sends a message that you expect to be treated in a certain manner. I teach my second graders 'the Golden Rule', to treat others the way they want to be treated. Now if only everyone would remember that!
     
  28. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I get respect most of the time. I'm actually designing this because my teacher and I have a strong relationship and because of that the behavior consultant wanted me to present this for a workshop next year (I wouldn't give it but I would develop some of it).

    We've struggled this year with miscommunications between aides and teachers in general. I tried to think of some of the issues others were having, or even that I experienced myself (briefly). While I don't think our jobs are the same, I expect to be treated like an equal (a simple issue of respect and dignity). I do have to take direction from my teacher when she needs me to. She respects me enough though to treat me like a team member and someone who has a lot to contribute. I love her for it. Not everybody responds the same way on both sides. Any approach suggested won't work for everybody.

    Now, I'm thinking a better word would be, "Treat your aide as a team member." What do you think?

    Czacza, your comment: "No they didn't work FOR me- they worked with me but there was never a question about who the teacher was..." That's my bottom line.

    Also, going with the purpose of this post...is there anything you would add or would want added if your school was presenting a training workshop?

    Also do you think the original post (minus my personal posts) that this is one sided? That's an important consideration for me too.

    I'm thinking I should have asked people what they would have put in a workshop instead of reviewing mine. I might have gotten more answers. :rolleyes:
     
  29. Research_Parent

    Research_Parent Cohort

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    Apr 10, 2007

    A training workshp for aides...

    Standard new routine stuff, such as locations of equipment, copiers, codes, books, materials, school guidelines, people who make the job easier such as secretaries, clerks, and janitorial staff.

    Something about understanding the Team (aide and teacher):

    The teacher's responsibilities are to teach students. The aide's responsibilties are to assist the teacher in teaching the students. Each will respect the other team member and the willingness with which either extends his/her role into the other's will be based on mutual agreement.

    I use this as a modification from my work as a Research Assistant for many years in the college setting and its always a personal relationship between the professor and the assistant.

    Here was my job description and role...
    The professor to which you have been assigned is responsible for instructing students and conducting research. As a Research/Teaching Assistant it is your responsibility to assist the professor in their professional role of conducting research and teaching students.

    Basically, as long as its a professional request, you are to honor the request as much as possible. It also listed sample tasks. In the past RA/TAs have been asked to: create homework assignments, lecture classes, grade exams, proctor exams, schedule and administer makeup exams, edit papers, conduct conferences, pull reference material, check usage of reference material, etc.
     
  30. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Apr 11, 2007

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