How to work with an Aide?

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by ITeach4Him, Jul 27, 2007.

  1. ITeach4Him

    ITeach4Him Comrade

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    Jul 27, 2007

    I'm new to Special Education this year. I'm used to doing everything on my own, in my classroom.

    Now I'm going to have to share my room with 2 aides. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure I will be thankful for them. I just don't know how things will work. :unsure:

    I've been informed by others that they have been with the school a LONG time and they do things their way; that they will tell me how they want their desks arranged, etc. I don't want to rock any boats here, but how do I set up my classroom right now when I won't see them until school starts? I don't want to offend them, but I also want the classroom to seem like ME. Is this wrong? :help:

    I realize that I will be in and out of my room more because of inclusion, but I still want to feel like I belong in this classroom. Any tips for me?
     
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  3. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Jul 28, 2007

    We did inclusion at my school last year, but it was the sped teacher who was in and out, not me. While you might take into consideration their ideas for room arrangment, it is still yourroom. I would plan for an extra area for small groups to meet (remember, inclusion involves ALL students, not just sped students) so you'll want that extra space. Otherwise, set up the room how you see fit.
     
  4. OtterMom

    OtterMom Comrade

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    Jul 28, 2007

    I had an aide for the first time ever last year, who came to my classroom with the inclusion of a special-needs student.

    I was really worried about the boundary issue, because I've never been good at delegating or sharing.

    Frankly, what worked best was LOTS of prayer. And it did work out!

    I'll be praying for you! :angel:
     
  5. ITeach4Him

    ITeach4Him Comrade

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    Jul 28, 2007

    Thank you! I feel I'm going to need it. I subbed in this classroom a couple of years ago and met these two aides. They never spoke to me! I am now going in as the classroom teacher and don't really know where I stand. I will be going to the classrooms the kids are in for inclusion and they will be staying in MY room for some content mastery. It will be hard for it to feel like my room. :(
     
  6. bcblue

    bcblue Comrade

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    Jul 28, 2007

    Working with aides was what made me most nervous my first year. A few things that helped--immediately establishing clear lines of communication. You are the teacher, and as such, you are answerable to the administration, parents, students for what goes on with your caseload--much more so than the aides. So they do need to recognize that you are "in charge"; at the same time, you want to be so w/o coming across as bossy and overbearing. Clear expectations are important--these are the roles we will fill in this classroom, this is what I'd like each person to do, this is when and how we want to communicate. Let them know you value their opinion and feedback. I also let mine know I will never ask them to do anything I am not willing to do myself--they are not there to do my dirty work, they are there to extend what the class can do--be my hands and eyes. Look for ways to connect with them as people also--about non-school common interests, activities, kids, whatever. I think when people feel appreciated and valued they are more open to receiving instruction and guidance. Because you DO need it to be your classroom, not just theirs. It is hard to come in when the aides have been there already. I wish you the best!
     
  7. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Jul 28, 2007

    I bet they are a little nervous too. They just want to feel like it is a little bit their room too and to feel valued. Bcblue hit many important points. Give them an area they can store their stuff, an area they can put thier desk and let them know they can talk to you. The line of communication point is a critical one. After they see that you value their feedback and their work and that they are an active part of the classroom, they should relax too. It will then become more your room. It should be your room.

    Here are some things my teacher did that I really liked:
    1. She would give me options. Would you rather do A or B? Then she did whichever I didn't pick. That blew me away.
    2. She figured out what I was good at and liked and jumped on using me for those things.
    3. Sometimes she did more of my "aide" type duties if she really needed my expertise on something but I felt overwhelmed with my own duties to help out. Or sometimes she just helped out because she saw that I had too much to do. It's nice when someone notices that. I tried to do the same.
    4. I'm actually the only aide on my floor that actually has a desk and she found it for me. (I didn't ask.)
    5. She let the students know that I was to be equally respected and she treated me accordinly.
    6. She asked for my feedback and then used it when it fit her needs.
    7. She let me reorganize and move stuff occasionally throughout the year but I was careful to ask first and to keep her needs in mind. I also didn't directly touch her desk and papers. I didn't want them lost.
    8. A clever trick that doesn't work for everyone...She would tell me a problem and ask me what I thought. She would know what my answer would be already and when it is my solution I'm gungho about it. She also liked that approach because sometimes I came up with a better solution that she might not have thought of. Some aides though need a more direct approach.
    9. She set up a planning meeting with me approximately once a week and filled me in with her upcoming plans. Then she would ask if I had any ideas to add (if she needed them), or what I thought about them. I was then able to know what to expect, discuss issues in the classroom, discuss how a lesson might not go as well or possibly need to be modified for a student or jump in with my own creativity.

    The first think you need to do is have a meeting with them and see what they like, what they expect and discuss your plans and expectations for the year as well. Get to know them.
     
  8. jnation

    jnation Companion

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    Jul 28, 2007

    I was most nervous about this my first year teaching as well, especially since they had been there before me. I have two aides, and I wasn't quite sure how to handle this. Like others have said, establish clear rules right off the bat. It is your classroom. One of the big things is to never ever disagree in front of the students. It undermines everyone's authority and the kids will try and play that against you. Make a time to discuss things that are and are not working.
    Try and find something they really like doing. For instance, one of my aides loves doing bulletin boards and art projects, so I give her some time where she can do these things and really feel like an integral part of the room.
    Make sure the kids understand that the same rules that apply to you apply to the aides as well. My aides solve minor behavioral problems to establish this.
    Really, aides can be wonderful assets to the classroom. I don't know what I would do without mine!
     
  9. ITeach4Him

    ITeach4Him Comrade

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    Jul 28, 2007

    Wow, thank you all so much for the feedback. You all gave me some very good advice!

    I'm the type of person that likes to get along with everyone and not have any underlying tension. I want to be able to have a wonderful working relationship with them.
     
  10. Chokita

    Chokita Comrade

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    Jul 28, 2007

    What you can do is create your own Paraeducators handbook (use the one the district might have) where you establish their responsibilities, roles and their relationship with you, children and parents. Present it to them and always have it in your classroom.
     

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