Having trouble with a para -- need advice!

Discussion in 'Special Education Archives' started by zolar16, Oct 8, 2005.

  1. zolar16

    zolar16 Rookie

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    Oct 8, 2005

    I teach a self-contained class of 5 students with autism, grades K and 1. I have a teacher's aide/para who's been in the system for several years, and she came to my school last year. She had a reputation within the school for being difficult to work with, but I thought I might be able to avoid this with a little work. As it turns out, I'm having a really hard time with her after all.

    She has yelled at my students on more than one occasion. Not raising her voice (we all do when we absolutely need to) but YELLING. She says insulting things to them that have made me drop my jaw in absolute shock. When I had to take a half day, she let one of my students walk around with stool in her panties and got mad at her when she tried to wash her own panties in the bathroom sink (I know; the aide told me the next day). Those are the most egregious examples, but there are lots of little things she does that a teacher just shouldn't do, and they're things that I don't want to be done with/to my students. My question is: Who do I go to first? My ESE Specialist was my mentor last year, and I know she's willing to listen. Some of this stuff could be taken to administration right away, but I don't know if I should. I'm only a second year teacher, so I'm still not sure where to draw the line. Any suggestions?
     
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  3. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Oct 8, 2005

    GO to the principal the next day you are at school. Tell him/her what is going on. That is so ridiculous! That gal is in the wrong field. If she wants to yell and ridicule, she needs to be working in a prison... not a school.

    Lori
     
  4. tenndon

    tenndon Rookie

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    Oct 8, 2005

    Go to the principal quickly. In the meantime document everything. It takes very special people to work in a school and it takes even more of that certain something to work with Special Ed. This person does not belong around children, period.
    As a para-pro for one special student I can understand the urge to yell sometimes. But that is only out of frustration, not at the student. You know, if she cannot handle the special differences of the special ed student then she just does not belong there.
    I wonder if maybe she was placed in your class as a last resort to get her to quit. Just thinking out loud.

    Blessings,
    Don
     
  5. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    I wouldn't wait another moment.....document and date and then file a report. These children cannot afford another day with this cruel person. You need to be an advocate for those kids immediately! If my child was in that class, I would be putting my faith in the classroom teacher, that's you, it is your duty to tell and not let this go on another minute!
     
  6. zolar16

    zolar16 Rookie

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    Thanks for responding so fast, everybody! :D I sat down last night and documented all the events from last week, and I'm planning on talking to my assistant principal (she handles most of our in-school problems) on Monday. This has been eating me up inside for the past few weeks. My brother is autistic, and I know my family would be horrified if a teacher treated him this way. I hope administration makes the right decision.
     
  7. zolar16

    zolar16 Rookie

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    Tenndon,
    BTW, I think you might be right. We find out our assignments for the next year at the end of April, and she railed last year that she would not change children who'd had accidents or work with some of my students who would almost certainly be placed in my class again (they were) because she was "too old for that nonsense". She swore she'd find another job over the summer. Unfortunately for my little ones, she didn't.
     
  8. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    I'm the mom of two autistic children.....I'm glad those children in your class have you in their corner! I would be devastated as a parent to think my boys could have such a cruel person working with them everyday! Best of luck...I can tell how much you care about those little ones!
    :love:
     
  9. jcg

    jcg Cohort

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    I agree, go to your principal and if doesn't get fixed, go to the superintendent and keep following the chain if you do not get anny results!
     
  10. TeachWildThings

    TeachWildThings Comrade

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    She is also breaking the law by leaving a child in soiled underpants. Her yelling is also abusive & you are a mandated reporter & can be held liable for not telling someone. If you don't get results with your administrators write another letter to them & cc it to the director of spe ed at your district. People like this are what cost our schools $$ not to mention the worst of it, emotionally scarring already fragile kids.
     
  11. jcg

    jcg Cohort

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    Exactly, make it known! This is abusive behavior by an adult.
     
  12. zolar16

    zolar16 Rookie

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    I talked to my ESE Specialist. She said it's absolutely not OK to say and do these things, on top of ignoring my directions. She, the school's Autism Coach and I are supposed to sit down with my aide tomorrow and let her know that she has to follow my lead and be more careful of what she says. The ESE Specialist will also let administration know what's going on, and I'll keep documenting any incidents. I have a feeling administration will also want to step in, too.

    I don't know how long this has been going on in my classroom. She was on her best behavior at first, but I was injured at work during the second week of school and missed 6 weeks. I just came back to work 1/2 time 2 weeks ago, and this will be my first full week of school in quite a while. She's only been nasty (as far as I know) this week, but it's not cool and I'm going to do everything I can to make sure she stops her behavior or is removed from my classroom. Thanks for all the advice and support, everyone!
     
  13. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    Good luck. Glad to hear you are taking care of this nasty person! I am relieved for your kiddos as well! :)
     
  14. wannabeteach

    wannabeteach Rookie

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    It breaks my heart, not only as a paraprofessional, but as the parent of a child with special needs, to hear of this behavior from someone who is supposed to be teaching/leading/nurturing the children in her care. I'm so glad you are stepping in to make things right!
     
  15. zolar16

    zolar16 Rookie

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    Thanks, everybody! Well, my aide and I met with the principal, assistant principal, ESE Specialist and Autism Coach after school today. They asked me to tell her what I thought had been inappropriate, and they told her that she needs to take her cues from me, and that she had to be more careful of what she said because she really doesn't know how much her words might affect the kids. They asked me to keep documenting (good advice, they were so impressed!) and that if ANYTHING else happened, they would escalate it. I was sort of upset after the meeting, but my ESE Specialist said, "It ends today. If she doesn't end it, administration will." :-D I'll keep posting if anything else happens.
     
  16. jcg

    jcg Cohort

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    Oct 10, 2005

    I hope they keep their word! Not meaning to sound negative, but I have been disappointed in the past!
     
  17. Eki75

    Eki75 Rookie

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    I am jumping in late here, but I would have first gone to the para and let her know (in the most humble and respectful way possible) that you are in charge and her behavior is unacceptable. If that didn't go well, then I'd go to administration. The responses you got were correct--what she has done is abusive and should not be tolerated.
     
  18. AspieTeacher

    AspieTeacher Comrade

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    Oct 17, 2005

    Zolar,

    I PRAY that she doesn't have a UNION to back her up. I currently work in a school district where the paraprofessionals have a UNION to back them up even in some of the most extreme cases. You are able to weed out the persons who are there just for the "money" also. I worked with a paraprofessional who accused me of "harassment" when I caught her slacking off and not following directions. She used every excuse in the book including calling me a "liar" in front of our principal. The worst part of this experience is that she is attending school to become a special education teacher as well. She says, "they don't pay us enough" to do what we do! I told her that she was in the wrong profession if that's what she went into education for. Am I wrong?

    Troy
    Autism Teacher
     
  19. jcg

    jcg Cohort

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    I don't think you were wrong. I would just start writing every time she acts inappropriately. Maybe you could a tape recorder in the room, let her know for legal reasons, for some reason I think you might have too, and let it play all day. I don't think UNIONS are bad, I have been under some very bad leadership where the UNION has saved some very good people who have just spoken their opinion and in one where it saved a horrible teacher. It's kind of like our justice system, it saves the good ones and then a few bad sneak by.
     
  20. psdlady

    psdlady New Member

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    been there

    I am coming in late on this but I Totally understand where you are coming from. I had the same thing going on in my classroom with my para. My admin was aware of the problem and finally she was given a choice straighten up or get out. It was strange at first after our meeting but all has settled down now and things are going ok. I think some of the problem was just ignorance. Sometimes people just don't understand how much of an effect they have on our kids. Don't ever forget you are those childrens' voice if you don't speak up for them and their rights who will! Good Luck! I know how troubling and exhausting it can be!
     
  21. zolar16

    zolar16 Rookie

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    Oct 18, 2005

    That's just what happened with me, psdlady. Admin was already aware that she could be a bit of a slacker, and since the meeting we had with them, she's been pretty helpful and hasn't said anything that could be mistaken for nasty or abusive. She has her moments, but we all do. Things have been going pretty well for the past week, and I hope it stays that way.
     
  22. zolar16

    zolar16 Rookie

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    Troy,
    Nope, paras in my school district don't have a union. It's too bad for the really good assistants who put everything into their jobs for next to nothing (like most paras I know). $7.25 an hour with no healthcare or other benefits? We're lucky to have as many caring professionals as we do, with only a few bad apples here or there.
     
  23. jcg

    jcg Cohort

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    Yahoo for the good ones! Their jobs are tough and they get little or nothing for what they do!
     
  24. Specialed

    Specialed New Member

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    You alone will be held responsible for any action taken in your classroom! You need to get control of this situtation immediately! I would schedule a time when students are not there to discuss with her your concerns. Put everything on paper! Make sure that you have followed all prodicals for your district. You may want to ask someone else to sit in and mediate. Let her know in no uncertain terms that this type of behavior will not be tolerated. Make sure you have some plan of action in place if it happens again and make sure she signs the plan. Then if you have to take this to your supereiors, you can show that you have tried to work on her "problems" in house. But remember as a para in your room, she will be considered is a reflection of you to the rest of the school. My only advise is to do this NOW!

    Specialed
     
  25. daysy_may

    daysy_may Groupie

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    zolar, I hope for yours and the childrens sake, that things continue to go smoothly in your classroom from now on!
     
  26. Mom2Sarah

    Mom2Sarah Rookie

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    Way to go! It sounds like you are on the right path to protecting your students. Don't be scared to stand up for what you know is right even if you are only a second year teacher!
     
  27. teacherchick

    teacherchick Companion

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    I am glad to hear things are looking up for you and I hope it continues.. i know how hard it can be to be in your shoes, I have been there... But hopefully she has seen the light and will change for good.. You did the absolute right thing to tell your admin. bcause if you had gone to her yourself it could have been much worse.

    Keep us posted
     
  28. fastgranny

    fastgranny New Member

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    You do need to speak to your mentor about the correct procedure to address this situation. As a parent I would expect any mistreatment of my child to be addressed immediately and if the teacher is aware of the problem, that is who should take the first step. Also you may want to consider installing a video camera in the class, such as a "nanny cam." The Supreme Court has ruled that a video camera in class is legal as long as it is focused on everyone in class. I am planning to have one installed in my classroom next year because it not only protects me from accusations but insures that I do my job as a teacher.

    QUOTE=zolar16]I teach a self-contained class of 5 students with autism, grades K and 1. I have a teacher's aide/para who's been in the system for several years, and she came to my school last year. She had a reputation within the school for being difficult to work with, but I thought I might be able to avoid this with a little work. As it turns out, I'm having a really hard time with her after all.

    She has yelled at my students on more than one occasion. Not raising her voice (we all do when we absolutely need to) but YELLING. She says insulting things to them that have made me drop my jaw in absolute shock. When I had to take a half day, she let one of my students walk around with stool in her panties and got mad at her when she tried to wash her own panties in the bathroom sink (I know; the aide told me the next day). Those are the most egregious examples, but there are lots of little things she does that a teacher just shouldn't do, and they're things that I don't want to be done with/to my students. My question is: Who do I go to first? My ESE Specialist was my mentor last year, and I know she's willing to listen. Some of this stuff could be taken to administration right away, but I don't know if I should. I'm only a second year teacher, so I'm still not sure where to draw the line. Any suggestions?[/QUOTE]
     

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