Need Help With Para

Discussion in 'Paraprofessionals' started by SPEDPK3, Dec 17, 2016.

  1. SPEDPK3

    SPEDPK3 Rookie

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    Dec 17, 2016

    Hi! I am the teacher in a PreK 3 Special Needs classroom. This is my fist year as a lead teacher in this or any classroom. I have two paraprofessionals. I was a paraprofessional four years ago with one of the ladies in this same classroom. The other began in this classroom two years ago. The teacher before me was also the lead teacher and basically allowed her then three paraprofessionals to run the class since she had to be at every meeting, etc..
    The paraprofessional that I have not worked with before is very emotional. For example, if something is bothering her at home, she brings it to work. She creates periods of extensive negativity throughout the classroom atmosphere. Everyone that has worked with her says to just ignore her. I have done this for the majority of the time until she decided to confront me about things that have been bothering her about me. This type is situation happened the other day. Please Note: Being a former paraprofessional myself, I have made an extensive effort to make sure that everyone is a "teacher" in the classroom.
    This situation at hand began the other day. I started to bring out the items that we were going to use to stuff the students' stockings. As I brought out the items, the Para decided to confront me about why I bought all of the items and didn't allow them to buy anything. I proceeded to say that neither of them offered to buy anything, which was perfectly fine. I never expect them to buy anything. We often talk about how little paraprofessionals make, so I said that as a former paraprofessional, the teacher never expected me to buy anything for this very reason. I never said it in a way that would put her beneath me. This is not me at all. I feel that she wanted an issue with me and decided to create an issue. I then proceeded to tell her that her moodiness and not being able to put personal matters aside at school created a very worrying and negative atmosphere in the classroom (We have had a discussion about this before). I stated that we would go to the principal at that moment and discuss the matter before it got out of hand. She told me that I "needed to handle my business in the classroom". I said that I needed to leave and take a break. I went to the lead teacher (teacher in that room last year) and explained what happened. She is he main person that tells me just to ignore her and the behaviors (The behaviors were brought to the principal's attention by multiple people, including the teacher, last year). The lead teacher then went to talk with the paraprofessional while I gathered myself ( I was very upset).
    I went back to the classroom because my mom was coming to help us decorate cookies. The lead teacher left and I picked up my phone to call my mom in the restroom about what time she was coming. With the phone in my hand, as I'm walking into the bathroom, the paraprofessional tries to get my attention. I'm assuming she's wanting to talk about things. I calmly did that I didn't want to talk about it. She proceeded to talk while I'm clearly on the phone. She says that she needs to know what the kids need to do next. This is a decision that she makes often. She is clearly testing me. I then shut the door behind me because my mom picks up and I need to talk. This made the paraprofessional very mad. She leaves the room.
    She later comes back into the room and goes the computer. We are decorating the cookies at this point. I ignore her. She leaves and comes back after going to the printer. I had a suspicion about what she was doing, but didn't say anything. We eventually started talking gain towards the end of the day. I sent her a text that night after we had time to cool off stating that I would never ever try to offend her or go above her in any way. I also stated how much I appreciated her and the other paraprofessional. She did not respond. The next day was perfect.
    The day after that, the lead teacher says that she needs to speak with me. She then tells me that the paraprofessional had gone to the principal with the issue about me. The principal then asked he lead teacher to speak with me about how I treated my paras... everyone in the situation knows about this person. I wasn't in trouble, she just wanted to make sure something was said. I am a rule follower. I over analyze every aspect of my job to make sure I'm doing the right thing. I wasn't surprised at the paraprofessional's actions though. She went to the principal before I could.
    Now it's is Christmas Break and all I can think about is this situation. How do I deal with this now? How can I keep ignoring behaviors that affect our entire classroom?
     
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  3. Spedmistress

    Spedmistress Rookie

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    Dec 18, 2016

    When you go back have a meeting with both para professionals and have the lead teacher or another administrator present at the meeting. establish some rules and boundaries and state that things are going to change and if they have any issue with you they need to talk to you first before going to the principal. Also make it clear that both paraprofessionals are there to work and not to bring their personal issues into the classroom. You can also tell them you appreciate their work and that you want to clear up a few issues at this meeting to start the new year right. Before you have this meeting consult with the lead teacher about what you are going to say. After you have this meeting meet with your paras once a week or every two weeks to clear up any issues. In your classroom you make the rules and you run things not your paras. You should work with them as a team but you should rule. I am having the same problem with my paras. They try to tell me how to do everything because I am new but I have decided to establish my own rules for dealing with them once the new semester starts. I will treat them with dignity and respect but I will run things. In the meantime enjoy your Christmas break. It is one week before I have mine. Do not think about the job until you go back. Happy Holidays!
     
  4. SPEDPK3

    SPEDPK3 Rookie

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    Dec 18, 2016

    Thank you so much for the advice! I now plan to sit with both paras and the lead since the lead knows exactly what's going on. This will show that I am trying and that I want things to work. You're exactly right about the rules. If something goes down on my room, especially being a Sped class, it's on me, not them. Thanks so much again!
     
  5. justwanttoteach

    justwanttoteach Cohort

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    Dec 18, 2016

    It sounds like this para is just a naturally bitter or unhappy person. It doesn't matter what you do, these types of people thrive in drama or being the victims.

    I agree with what others have said. Have a meeting with para, lead teacher, and Admin. Maybe start making a list of documentation. Things that were said and how they were handled on both ends. Keep this as a running journal or document so you can add to things as time goes on.

    Maybe have ALL the para's make a list of things that Are working for them and things that arent working. You also make this list and then sit down and discuss ways you all can make it work.

    I am sorry this is happening. Having been on both sides of similar situations I know that it is not fun and very stressful. Hang in there!
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Dec 18, 2016

    When she asked about the stockings you could have simply answered that you'd be happy to include any goodies she would like to include. My paras bought Hershey kisses and pencils from the Dollar store for my kiddos goodie bags.
    Don't bring your issues to the principal. It makes both of you look bad. So does taking your issues to last year's teacher to handle.
    Kill the para with kindness. Thank her for what she does to help you. Keep her informed of 'the extras'. It takes very little on your part to make your paras feel included. You can make this better.
     
  7. SPEDPK3

    SPEDPK3 Rookie

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    Dec 18, 2016

    I agree. I did say that she could include anything that she wanted. Unfortunately, she was already wanting an arguement. At that point, everything I said was taken negatively. I just know that I look bad now and all because of something that could have been solved. Thanks for the advice. I plan for things to be better in the new year :)
     
  8. SPEDPK3

    SPEDPK3 Rookie

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    Dec 18, 2016


    She is a very unhappy person and I can't change that. I just need to learn how to cope and not let it stress me out!
     
  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Dec 18, 2016

    A little prior proactive planning prevents many problems.
     
  10. SPEDPK3

    SPEDPK3 Rookie

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    Dec 18, 2016

    Agreed. I plan for many things to change. Thanks again!
     

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