Issues With A Para In My Room

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Nickyandthecity, May 17, 2017.

  1. May 17, 2017

    My situation is a little strange. I've been a long term substitute at the same school for the past two years. I love the school so much here that I'm hoping to eventually be appointed as a special ed teacher here for the following year. In February I took over a 12:1 class with 2 paraprofessionals for the rest of the year (it's a long story, but the teacher was removed due to inappropriate treatment towards the students). In the beginning, both paras were amazing and I sought their input and guidance since they have both been with the students since September. My class was known as the worst in the building with my kids being classified as behavioral and emotionally disturbed.

    I have a classroom para and a 1 to 1 crisis management para. The crisis management para recently has started instigating the students. With the old teacher she saw herself as their mentor and teacher since the old teacher was ruthless to the students. Now that the situation has calmed down, a lot of the students no longer cling or turn to her for help. The out of control behavior has since calmed down, so her crisis management skills are no longer needed daily. Her 1 to 1 student has done a complete one eighty, actively participating, wanting to stay in the room, etc. whereas with the old teacher she would have to call home everyday for disruptive and disturbing violent behavior.

    Recently the 1:1 para has been on her phone, taking a laptop from the classroom laptop cart and watching television on the computer, disrupting lessons to pull students who she is not assigned to to the side to have a separate conversation with them. The way she speaks to the students is inappropriate. I've had meetings with both paras (so that the 1:1 does not feel as if I am personally attacking her), where we review expectations and the different duties of each para. The classroom para will privately tell me things the 12:1 para has done in my absence, or when I am not looking, but I am not there to intercept. For example, when I was at a meeting, the para rummaged through my desk looking through papers and wound up misplacing important IEP documents and notes for ACS. I don't know the proper way to approach the situation. I myself am a sub so I feel as if I do not have the authority to dictate how an appointed, older, paraprofessional should do their job. I am also trying to get hired, so I do not want to rock the boat in case I wind up working with her again in the future. I also feel like it will look bad if I play tattle on her to the principal. I'm just confused on how best to approach the situation.
  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Sep 30, 2001
    Likes Received:

    May 17, 2017

    Higher up? I never think that way about ANYONE with whom I work. Teachers might have the education, certs and higher paychecks than paras, (ESPs, custodians, secretaries, etc) but considering yourself HIGHER than any of the other staff members is no way to build good working relationships. I do suggest having another serious sit down with the paras and then if things don't improve, invite a union rep (if you're in a union) in to try and settle the issues.
    Going to the P and then above the P to Supe could backfire on you in so many ways. Be careful.
    MrsC likes this.
  4. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

    Jul 27, 2009
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    May 17, 2017

    It's simple chain of command. When I have a Para in my room, I have to initial their time sheet each day. Ultimately, I am responsible for what they do while in my classroom. If I have talked to them about a problem and it is not addressed, I take it to my supervisor.

    At the summer camp where I work, I am in charge of all of the staff. I have more experience, and I make more money. I stl highly value the work that they do, and constantly seek input from them about ways to improve the program. I do not think I am better than any of them,but ultimately I am responsible for their actions. It's the same with a Para in my classroom. I routinely tell the lady who cleans my classroom that she does a great job, and ask what I can do to make her night go more smoothly. But in the end, when there is a problem with how she does her job, and talking to her first doesn't work, I have to bump it up the chain of command.

  5. CherryOak

    CherryOak Companion

    Dec 25, 2016
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    May 18, 2017

    That's a toughie. I think at the root of the situation, you have an idle hands issue. If what she did in the past is no longer really needed, are there any other ways she can contribute to the classroom or the school? It may be helpful to discuss with admin the opportunity to assign additional duties to her position in the future.
  6. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

    Apr 29, 2008
    Likes Received:

    May 18, 2017

    The way it works in my school is that we speak with our teaching assistants about any issues that have to be dealt with and if nothing changes and the problems don't resolve themselves then we are to go to our supervisor (AP or P). I wouldn't bother the Superintendent about it but administration should be informed if it's necessary.

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