Okay. Time for the Para discussion again.

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by ZoomZoomZOOM, May 28, 2010.

  1. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

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    May 28, 2010

    Has anyone had a perfect aide? Is there such a thing? Last year I had two aides that were pretty mean to me but were helpful in the classroom. This year I had an aide that was super nice to me but wasn't as helpful. Like today was our last day with the kids and I was packing and all she did was clean up her desk. She cleaned her desk for two hours! :eek: Isn't it the classroom aide's job to help the teacher pack up? Or is that just a courtesy? She was a one-on-one last year so maybe she didn't know. ?? I ended up saying, "I know you only have ten minutes left but could you please help me pack?" And after that, she helped me. :rolleyes:

    The other thing is - I'm considering not giving her a desk next year - - but instead putting her at a small round "group work" table. I've decided to get rid of my desk and I'm going to sit at a square group work table on the other side of the room - WHICH REMINDS ME - - I'M GETTING MY OWN ROOM NEXT YEAR!!!!! NO MORE SHARING WITH THE BAND TEACHER USING PARTITIONS!!!!! :woot::woot::woot: Anyway, the reason behind that is to get her to move around and moderate more during lessons. She likes to park it behind her desk and never leave. If I ask her to help a student, she tells them, "Come here."

    Also, she's on a lot of pain medication for her hands and feet (long story) but they make her very groggy and out of it. One day a few weeks ago, she tried to take my kids to lunch an hour early. When I stopped her, she acted like she had no idea what time it was. Then about 20 mins later, she tried it again! Then during group work, one of my students asked her if she was drunk. :eek: That day I got really worried and wondered if I should talk to my principal about it because the pills were seriously starting to affect her work. Instead, after the kids left, I told her she needed to call her doctor and get her meds worked out. Which she did, and he told her he didn't know she was WORKING. He thought she was out on disability! He told her to stop taking the pills in the morning. So she didn't the next day and I could tell the difference, but then she said she was in pain all day. I think she's just hooked on these pills.

    Which really sucks because at the beginning of the year, she wasn't like that. It started in the spring.

    Jeesh.... sorry so long. I just had to vent to some folks who probably have as many interesting stories as I do about this topic. Maybe if you share some, I'll be grateful for what I've got!
     
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  3. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    May 28, 2010

    Zoom-Yes actually!!!!

    My aide in Texas was a DREAM. She read my mind. She learned all of our routines and followed through with them when I was out of the classroom. She was consistent with the kids, which worked well -she used the same language (Do we do that with our pencils?) in order to help with the consistency. She was early and stayed late every day. She was amazing!!!! I am still in touch with her and send her gifts on her birthday, etc.

    Then, I moved to NJ and the aides in my last job were less than perfect. They arrived late, didn't take feedback well, ate on the job, had very little respect for me (because they had been there several years and I was "new"), and the worst part was - because it was a non-public therapeutic day school - (as opposed to the public setting) - I was actually considered their supervisor. Ironic that was the case, because it seems like it made things worse. They would disobey me and I had no way to change their behavior (I even tried various "joking" like things like when someone did a good thing I'd "give them a token" (not literally-- but kinda joking/verbally) and then at the end of the week the "verbal token winner" would get starbucks that I would bring it. But it was actually the same girl every week, and then they hated me because I gave her starbucks!!! You can't win. I would get in trouble by MY supervisor, for not being a good "supervisor"!!!!

    Anyway....

    Then this year I was blessed again with two AWESOME aides. My classroom para came from an autism school so she knows her stuff. She is consistent with the kids - she is very patient, and loving. She also is a mother (older than me - she's about 45 or so) and she knows how to do mother things that my 27 yr old self doesn't know how to do (get stains out of sweaters, clean sticky stuff off scissors, clean the poopy underwear, lol, clean the throwup up, etc.) Then I also have a 1:1 aide who moved to education from advertising and actually works with my most challenging student. She's the BEST EVER!!!! I Was dreading her arrival because I knew she had zero experience and she was getting my craziest kid, but it actually all worked out because she's so wonderful!!!!

    Now, for your aide... what if you had just said (about an hour into it??) -- "Hey - when you're done - I really need help packing the room up.... so if you could do that, that would be awesome!" Or something like that... I bet she would have helped! Maybe she didn't know what to do? (Or maybe she wouldn't have helped...??)

    For next year with the desk - I just simply cannot afford the space in my room to give my paras a desk... they have little "cubbies" where they put papers, documents, folders, etc. - and they each have a "locker" (We have our own lockers) - so they can hang their jackets, lock up their purses, etc.

    I would just explain to your aide that you're trying to conserve space and it's nothing against her... but you are getting rid of BOTH of the desks (it actually is helpful that you're taking yours away too!)

    I don't think it should be an issue. I think a while back we were talking about this (maybe it was your thread??) and someone suggested a para manual.

    Something else that I've found as being helpful is a detailed schedule that outlines what's expected during each period of the day. HOPEFULLY this kind of thing would just turn into a habit (i.e. 3rd period we only have one student in the room, while he is working independently, please use this time to make copies, clean up work stations, etc.)

    ..... that's all I've got!!!!!

    I remember you were considering the elem. position - I am guessing that you didn't move in that direction?? I bet you'll feel good to know what you're doing next year (year 2 is always better than year 1!!!) I am in a similar position. I got RIFed and was looking for new jobs, but really do want to stay where I am. My principal told me today that I would be fine and have my position for next year. I was concerned but then I heard he actually told people who were laid off that they were literally laid off today... so I guess I should count my blessings!!!!!
     
  4. Nate

    Nate Companion

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    May 28, 2010

    Boy, I don't have the attention span on a Friday night to read those two novels posted above, but I've had several excellent aides. Even the most fantastic aide still needs management, though. One of my greatest aides ever had a tendency to get catty with the other aides, another did great work, but took every opportunity to socialize, another aide was excellent but couldn't work off the script to save her life--tell her what to do, and she was amazing. Give her an open moment, and she shut down.

    Every one of them could be managed into being a phenomenal asset in the class. But I've never once had an aide that you could "set and forget", in the words of Ron Popeil.
     
  5. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    May 28, 2010

    I've had a few wonderful parapros and I have stayed in touch with them and miss them. My present program requires 2 parapros and each year I get the parapro that should have been fired. This year I had enough and told my principal that I was tired of getting the crappiest of the crappy parapros just because I have good classroom management skills. I think I get them, b/c after working with me, they don't come back :whistle:. They don't do well when expectations are set for them, and they are expected to follow them... If I can't leave a parapro in charge of my class in order to go to the restroom, then they are not qualified to be in my classroom.
     
  6. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

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    May 28, 2010

    sk, I think I'm the one that posted that manual. lol Fat lot of good it did me I guess. But now that I know her, I can retype it, and put all the stuff on there that needs to be pointed out. Uh... "No pill popping during work hours please..."


    I actually told her that I was going to limit her to one drink at a time because she often spills her drinks and makes a horrible mess - and she got really mad at me. Is that unreasonable? I told her that if she goes to get a cup of coffee, that's fine, but could she rinse out the previous cup on her desk first. (Only because I am 100% positive that her previous drink will be spilled at some point that same day.)
     
  7. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    May 28, 2010

    Get her a coffee tumbler :lol: the kind with a top. :)
     
  8. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    May 28, 2010

    I have had three aides in four years. They were all perfect! I absolutely loved them all. My first year teaching I taught k-8 and if my aide wasn't there to teach me how to teach 9 grade levels I would never have made it. The next year I left and moved home to teach K. I again and a wonderful aide. I had her for two years and was very upset last summer when our P switched all the aides around. But I was lucky and ended up with another fantastic aide. I am hoping she gets to stay with me another year.
     
  9. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

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    May 28, 2010

    Okay guys, either you really have had terrific aides, or I'm just the pickiest person on Earth.

    And re the screw tops, that's what she uses usually. And she still manages to get it everywhere. Either that or water with those juice packets in 'em so when they spill it's a giant sticky mess. And she never cleans it up. And our maintenance guys suck. (Mental note: Get a bucket and mop for next year.)

    I guess I'm just going to have to be the bad guy and let her know that it really bothers me. She's a sweet lady but a total slob. And it doesn't help that I'm super anal about my space. So we clash there.

    There's a possibility that I may be getting a 6th grader next year that has a 1:1. I swear, supervising aides is more challenging than supervising the kids.
     
  10. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    May 28, 2010

    I have one that wants to work with me again next year. She is really good and we work well together but she loves to stick her nose in what is happening in other classrooms. Sometimes she go for a coffee and will be missing for a few hours b/c she is dealing with kids in other classrooms. I really don't know if I would want to work with her again if I had a choice.
     
  11. bethechange

    bethechange Comrade

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    May 29, 2010

    I'm totally writing a para manual this summer. I've had some aides that are AWESOME and, as someone said, they all bring something positive to the table. This year it was weird because I started off with one, and acquired two more through the course of the year as my room became crazier and crazier. The one that was with me from the start got really offended with the way the other two were doing things, but we were so desperate for help (running a self-contained ASD/DCD/EBD room and trying to do push in reading and math) that I kind of just told her to let it ride, because I had bigger fires to put out. Then they got off on a bad foot and all got catty with each other, which was probably my fault for not managing people better. Grrrrrr. But sometimes I think, "REALLY? How hard is it to just be adults and worry about ourselves?" Suffice to say, next year I am going to just lay it all out from the beginning; hopefully my year will not start as crazy!!!

    Three things that do drive me nuts though, which I am hoping my manual will spell out clearer:

    1) Being gone all the time - with excuses like, "the roads are too bad." Well, we do live in the Great White North. Get some snow tires. I can handle the occasional absence, and I know people get sick and have lives, but once or twice a week is not good for the kids.

    2) Getting the room ready for the next day (setting schedules, setting up work, etc.) when we haven't even finished the day we are having AND THE KIDS ARE STILL THERE.

    3) "Checking out" and not playing or interacting with the kids. I know we don't have the easiest kids to engage with - it is hard work, mentally and physically. And perhaps I just have higher standards because I've done it for longer. But nothing drives me more nuts than a clump of adults socializing on the playground when there are tons of social interaction and behavior management opportunities slipping by right in front of them.

    All in all, I've never had a truly terrible aide and I am grateful for all the support they have provided. I just wish I knew how to fix the little problems.
     
  12. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

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    May 29, 2010

    Beth, good points. Let me know how it goes. Something you said struck a cord with me, you said "REALLY? How hard is it to just be adults and worry about ourselves?" And while I don't have to worry about cattiness with this gal (she's the nicest person ever with a great sense of humor) - my thought is "REALLY? How hard is it to take care of your personal space and clean up after yourself when you spill something?"

    That's why I wondered if there were any perfect aides. I keep getting crappy attitude or lazy wierdness. But I guess if I had to choose, I'd go with lazy wierdness. At least she always has a smile! I think it's much harder to work with hateful people.
     
  13. bethechange

    bethechange Comrade

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    Ha, Zoom, I know where you're coming from with the clean business too. Sometimes I storm around my room on Fridays after everyone leaves picking up random half-empty pop cans people have left in weird places. And I am FOREVER cleaning out the art supplies that people just throw back on the shelf, even though I have everything labeled where it goes.

    Oh well. As Ross Green would put it, that's a basket C issue!

    eta: That's so exciting you are getting your own room next year!! When I taught Lifeskills in TX, I shared the band room too and it sucked. Let me guess: they had a random room available next year, so you get it until someone else needs it, haha. I hope you get to stay there for a while though!
     
  14. mrsmyheight

    mrsmyheight Rookie

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    May 29, 2010

    hmmm...

    I am a para but also a certified teacher EC-6 and special ed.

    I applied for a job at my current school and interviewed. Their only concern was that I was a para moving to a teacher role. I'm feeling like I never should have been a para. Like I'm damaged goods. I've been a para for 4 year and been certified for just as long. I feel like I need to quit my para job even if I don't get a teaching job this year.

    Have ya'll ever run into something like this?
     
  15. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I was a para and moved to a teacher role. I don't get their concern.
     
  16. sevenplus

    sevenplus Connoisseur

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    May 29, 2010

    To answer the original question: Well, nobody's perfect (I'm certainly not), but I have an excellent aide. She is wonderful with the children, works hard, is pleasant to be around, is tidy, is a self-starter but will also do anything I need her to do, is flexible, and has become a very good friend of mine over the years. I really could go on and on. I don't know what I'd do without her. We have been working together for 10 years now.

    I do not think that it is an aide's job to help you pack up your room.
     
  17. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

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    May 29, 2010

    I'm sorry, I didn't mean to say "pack" but tear down. Last year my aides tore the whole room down on the last day - taking everything off the ceilings, walls, BB's, etc.


    And thanks, Beth! I'm really excited about it. And no, I don't think this room is going away anytime soon - unless I go to a different school.
     
  18. sevenplus

    sevenplus Connoisseur

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    May 29, 2010

    I still don't think it's your aide's job to help you "tear down" your room. The way I look at it, the aide is an instructional assistant for the children. Each teacher is responsible for taking down/packing up his or her own classroom.

    I do agree that it is common courtesy for her to help. If she is done with her own things, it would be nice of her to help you. But I doubt you'll find it in her job description. Teachers who don't have aides don't have help with their rooms.

    I'm not trying to be snarky. It's just that you added it to a list of reasons you were irritated and I don't think it is something that would necessarily be expected.
     
  19. sammyrams

    sammyrams Companion

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    May 30, 2010

    I love my aides! I have three of them this year and it has been a wonderful experience. We are all new to this classroom so we were able to make it into what it is today. My aides go above and beyond anything in their job descriptions. I have a classroom for students with moderate - profound disabilities and am so grateful that 2 of them are certified nurses as well. They take care of the puke, the poop and all nastiness without a problem, they help with all the instruction, they even have a little routine at the end of the day to clean up the room. They straighten everything up and disinfect everything. I don't have to pick up a thing, they actually yell at me if I do. They are amazing. We actually all go out once a month to a local restaurant and hang out.

    Have I mentioned that I love them! They are all older than me as well. I have 2 in their mid fifties and one in her 40's. I have one that is flighty as can be and gets on my nerves sometimes, but her helpfulness and sincerity on working with the kids is more important to me than be flighty. I did happen to be able to be in on the interviews for 2 of them at the beginning of the year and I think it may have helped, but my boss and I picked the same people anyway so maybe it wouldn't have mattered. The only thing I have to worry about now is them being reassigned to other positions over the summer. They have all been recommended to be re-hired, and recommended to stay with my program, but that doesn't guarantee that I will get them back and it worries myself and them. They love my room and students and want to be back right where they are. I would hate to get new aides that don't want to work with my students and make the year miserable for all involved.
     
  20. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

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    They're "classroom" aides though - not one-on-ones. Which I take to mean that they help in all things classroom. And saying your classroom aide shouldn't help you tear down is like saying she shouldn't help you stuff folders, prepare, or hang stuff on the walls either - but maybe, like you said, those things are just done as a common courtesy. I always thought they wanted responsibility and to feel a part of a team. And I agree not every teacher has an aide to help them clean up. They also don't have an aide that spilled approx. 600 cups of sticky crap all over their floors. :rolleyes:

    But this does have me thinking and wanting a copy of their job description. If you say that tearing down isn't their job, what else am I expecting her to do that isn't her job? Maybe I'm being too demanding.
     
  21. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    May 30, 2010

    Helping you tear down the classroom isn't too much to ask. The real clue is not what the job description says (since most have an "or other duties as assigned" clause) but rather what is the school's culture. Some schools want aides to mostly help out with only instructional duties. Other schools might balk at the aide having any instructional duties. Some schools expect aides to help out with prep work and other schools might say that is over using them. A lot depends on your school culture. There are no hard and fast rules for this kind of thing.
     
  22. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

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    May 30, 2010

    Thanks for the feedback, c&g. How was your first year teaching, by the way? :)
     
  23. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I think the year started out a bit rough and overwhelming but about mid-year I hit my stride and it ended up really well. I was quite blessed with a great class and great parents.
     
  24. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    I agree with C&G. It is definitely not too much to ask, especially since I am sure there was nothing else for her to do. When the kids are gone, the only duties of the staff at the school is to prepare the rooms for the summer. So, as such, I would expect the aides in my classroom to help out with that. I do agree that it is a part of the school culture - and probably the classroom culture as well. My current aides would help in a heartbeat and I wouldn't even need to ask them. I definitely don't think it's too much to ask.

    I just looked at the job description for para for my old school district:
    1. Works with groups of students in the classroom to reinforce teacher instruction.
    2. Assists teacher in preparing instructional materials and classroom displays.
    3. Assists with administration and scoring of work assignments.
    4. Assists in managing student behavior and activity to facilitate a positive climate.
    5. Assists teacher in administering informal measures of student academic progress.
    6. Assists teacher in providing student academic progress information to appropriate individuals.
    7. Attends student academic intervention meetings when appropriate.
    8. Helps maintain neat and orderly classroom.
    9. Helps with inventory, care, and maintenance of equipment.

    10. Provides orientation and assistance to substitute teachers.
    11. The foregoing statements describe the general purpose and responsibilities assigned to this job
    and are not an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills required.


    There are several items on the list that would imply that the para does more than just instructional activities.

    I like #11. :)
     
  25. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    May 30, 2010

    Loved my writing aide this year. She came with the autistic, LD, and OHI students to writing class and would help any student who wanted help. It seemed like she was there for everyone, not just the two. Some of my reg. ed. kids got very attached to her and went to her first for help, which was a tremendous help for me.

    Anyway, I think the med situation sounds like it needs to be taken care of. If she starts the school year again obviously impaired, then take the issue to the principal. Keep admin. informed. You don't need to help her with the drug issue, but you need to keep admin aware of issues which effect education.

    If she has trouble moving, tell her to get a rolling chair to move from student to student. I'd be sympathetic to the pain she's in, but proactive about finding a workable solution. "I see you are in a lot of pain today. What can I do to help you get to Johnny?" helps her see that there are things she has to do despite being in pain.
     
  26. Chokita

    Chokita Comrade

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    One of my aides is great, but she is 1:1 with one child (who is very involved, she has a lot of problems).

    Several months ago I opened a thread about aides and complained a lot about an aide that I had. Thank God, he was transferred to another school! And I got a new aide. She is wonderful, but some things just drive me nuts about her! For example, I teach her something, show her a strategy to use with a student, and she doesn't follow through! I have to remind her again what to do. This is true about behavior strategies, but also about instructional strategies.

    Today during a whole group lesson she was sitting with a student and helping her to write on a small dry erase board. Well, this student CAN write, and right now she is working on copying words. But the aide keeps either writing the word and having her trace it or holds her hand and writes hand-over-hand. Seriously, I can't stand that hand-over-hand technique!!! Especially for the kids that CAN write! Well, I already told her before that she should be working with her on copying words, not tracing, and no hand-over-hand. But again, during the lesson I see that she is doing the same thing again! I had to address it right on the spot, and I swear I approached her very politely by saying that she should write a word for her and have her copy the word/write underneath, no hand-over-hand and no tracing. She starts arguing with me that this girl needs more guidance and support to write letters, she can't write them well yet. And I tell her that writing hand-over-hand is not a strategy, it's her doing the work for the student. I don't want to see any perfect writing, I want the student to try to write by herself. She should provide a model, and the student will copy the letters. No, she continues arguing with me that this is what she has been doing with other kids (at her other school) even in high school. And I told her that I don't want to see any hand-over-hand, that it's not right... She kept saying something about the guidance and support, and I told her that I as a teacher and also our school OT do NOT recommend this method for her, we're working on copying with this student. Ugh! I was so upset. Unfortunately, this was happening with other aides in the classroom, not a perfect situation, but honestly I had to address it right there (and she is the one who started arguing with me).
    Afterwards, she came up to me to talk to me about that and told me that she felt disrespected. She was all emotional about that.
    I don't know how to address these kinds of thing anymore. How do you correct your aides? How do you teach them strategies? I understand that in the ideal situation everything should be in private. But in this case I was giving her a strategy that I want her to use with this student, and she started arguing with me about it!
    So how do you change your aides if they have any bad habits (because "they have been doing this for years", and they think they know better)? How do you correct them? How do you explain to them what exactly you want? ANd what do you do if after your meetings with them you still see that they're not doing it right? I don't want to be a bad teacher, I don't want to create a hostile environment, but I also want them to respect me as a teacher in the classroom. This is my classroom, I set the rules and I provide the strategies.
    This is so frustrating...
    Well, the year is almost over, and I already decided that at the beginning of the next year I'll have a meeting with my aides to talk about my expectations and rules, we will go over the behavior support plans and strategies I want them to use.
     
  27. bethechange

    bethechange Comrade

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    Jun 5, 2010

    Chokita, I have at times felt the same way. I started the year having regular weekly meetings with my para about instruction for each kid, but that sort of went out the window as we gained more kids and things got more nuts. At my school, paras are contracted only during the time the kids are actually there. They come when the kids come and leave when the kids leave, so it is difficult to have collaboration time. I am trying to advocate for at least 15 additional minutes next year.

    I am writing a para manual this summer that spells out everything. Hopefully then we can all get started off on the write foot and they will all have my expectations spelled out clearly. I wrote three sections of it yesterday!

    I also have found it helpful to post Sticky notes or directions for each kid in the workstation where the para works. Sort of like for the kids......its not me telling you, its the visual, haha.

    I often videotape my work sessions with students for data collection and self-reflection purposes and sometimes I show them short clips to point out how to do something (discrete trial instruction comes to mind). I think it is easier for them to see it than listen to me.

    You teach autism right? Have you used the CAPS at all? That's another great way to put all the strategies and behavior supports together concisely and edit it as necessary. You could have one for each kid and then you could refer all people who work with that student back to it. Stress that the kids respond better when all parties are being consistent. Maybe they'd respond better to that? I stress to my paras all the time that all kids are different and that we need to use strategies that meet their individual needs, not "do what we've done for years/with other kids." The CAPS helps put that all together nicely.
     
  28. Chokita

    Chokita Comrade

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    Jun 6, 2010

    bethechange, thank you! I do teach an autism class. I like your idea about the consistency. That's a good way to explain it to them.

    What is CAPS? I've never heard of it. We don't use this term. What does it stand for?

    And yes! I'm going to write a para manual this summer too!
     
  29. bros

    bros Phenom

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  30. bethechange

    bethechange Comrade

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    Jun 7, 2010

    Yes, the CAPS is the Comprehenive Autism Planning System. The book is great and I really like the planning tool. It is a matrix that you can fill in the students' entire day by activity, time, or whatever. Then there are places for each activity to list how to meet the student's needs for reinforcement, how to generalize, sensory strategies, communication, instructional strategies, etc. It takes some time to put it together initially, but then it is SUPER easy to revise, and it is easy for all parties to be involved. It has really made me more aware of how to build communication and generalization opportunites into all activties across the day.

    I used the CAPS for the first time this year on a student with some really challenging behavors. All staff that worked with this student could refer back to it easily and it really helped us to be consistent with him. This year I plan on doing a CAPS for all students at the beginning of the year.

    I have the matrices on PDF files - PM me your email if you are interested and I will send them to you!

    Heh, we should post our para manuals. I'm sure ya'll will think of something I forgot! So far I've written sections on prompting, attendance, dealing with challenging behavior, and, duh-duh-duh-duh........DOWN TIME.
     
  31. atticus

    atticus New Member

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    Jun 13, 2010

    I am an aide... soon to be teacher, hopefully! And I've worked with some great aides and some crappy ones, and some great teachers and some crappy ones... I think that teachers who give guidance without barking orders are the best. There were a few occasions when I just didn't know what was expected of me, but I would ask what I should do instead of just sitting around doing nothing. As far as breaking down the classroom, I've always helped with that. Usually the last day is a half day for students, but a full day for aides, so we would break down the classroom and if we finished early, the teacher would let us leave early... an added bonus! When I'm in a class where I feel respected as a contributor to the classroom, and not 'just an aide' as a lot of you seem to say about your aides, I become a great contributor, but when I'm treated as a second class citizen in the room, and the students pick up on this and treat me like this as well, then I do not have the motivation to be the great contributor that I typically am.
    I felt respected when I was given my own desk, but if even the teacher doesn't have a desk, I don't think taking away the aide's desk would be an issue.
     
  32. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

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    Jun 13, 2010

    Yeah, I've read two different sides to the desk story. When I went to school it was always "give the para a space of their own" and I would want a space of my own too - a place to put my purse and my coat, etc. But now I'm seeing/hearing a lot of "paras shouldn't have desks 'cause they just sit at them and don't move all day" which I do see some of too...

    I had planned on putting her at a small group work table... but I see her just turning that into a desk. And I'm not too sure there's a respectable way to say "one cup at a time please" to reduce the amount of rubbish and spills.

    I just honestly don't know what to do about it.
     
  33. atticus

    atticus New Member

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    Jun 13, 2010

    Honestly, the idea of a para manual is great, although giving it to her after working with her for a year may be awkward... maybe you could say it's a new policy at the school and have all the teachers give them to all the aides. A lot of times aides are thrown into everything and expected to know what to do, and some people just aren't good at knowing what's needed.
    If you have issues with laziness it might be easier to address them with a manual to back you up... "the students are working independently on classwork now, so don't forget to walk through the classroom every 5 minutes to check that they're all on track"
    As for the drink spilling... maybe some playful teasing would help?
    "If you can last the whole day without spilling, I'll get your coffee from the staff room for you tomorrow" Although this may also be difficult to pull off if she already is offended by your one cup remark.
     
  34. teresaglass

    teresaglass Groupie

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    Jun 15, 2010

    I am an assistant and a certified teacher. I have worked as as assistant for three years. I feel better when I am respected and treated as a member of the instructional team. I help with everything including grading and putting up and taking down bulletin boards. I am usually put with new teachers. The only thing I do not like about my job is that we are constantly having our assignments as assistants switched. I have been switched at least five times and I am told I have a good reputation but I still wonder if I have done something wrong.
     
  35. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    Jun 16, 2010

    I start the year with giong through a written list of what I expect from them on a daily basis. I tend to get frustrated when this gets blatently ignored. I also get frustrated when I show them how to use a particular strategy several time and then that strategy fails to get used. So, I find myself continually reminding people of what they should be doing and of what strategies they should be using quite often. I can honestly say that my best assistants have been the ones who are younger, full of energy and the like.
     
  36. Evian

    Evian Rookie

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    Jun 24, 2010

    Teacher aides or paraprofessionals can be bad when they don't have guidance. You must write out everyone's duties for every moment during the school day. I pass out a game plan that I give to all my aides. They know immediately what they have to do at every moment of the day and with whom. If you want them to stay on task wander the room from time to time to see if they are on task. IF they see this they will not wander far. I don't have desks for my paraprofessionals. I have them bounce from one round table to another serving our kids.
     
  37. EmptyClassroom

    EmptyClassroom Rookie

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    Jun 24, 2010

    Best and Worst

    I came into contact w/ an EBD aide in the high school I work in that was so wonderful I married him! He was a displaced social worker that ended up as a paraprofessional here after moving back to take care of his mother, and I don't know if it was that great-paying job or me, but he stayed!

    On the bad end of the stick, though, I've dealt w/ 3 deaf interpreters this year that couldn't have been worse! One was a pillhead (fired), one was manic-depressive (actaully called the state and reported another aide for giving answers on KCCT, unfounded allegation) and one was absolutely the bossiest, pushiest, most annoying person I've had the displeasure of working with to this point! It came to the point I was telling her daily to back off, don't try to teach, let me worry about the classroom management, don't give answers, and don't try to be my best student. I'm aggressive enough not to let her push me around, but another colleague isn't; the woman actually opened her purse, pulled a PBS video out, and proceeded to tell her it wasn't an appropriate video to show in school. Sigh. I think that's the point professionalism would have went flying out the window and I would have suggested she meet me after school!
     
  38. uncleal

    uncleal Rookie

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    Jun 25, 2010

    This is great information. Thanks you guys! I am trying to become a paraprofessional as I transition into becoming a full time special education teacher, so this is reallly helpful in learning about what I need to do (and not do) when I do become a paraprofessional.
     
  39. cmw

    cmw Groupie

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    Jun 25, 2010

    I wouldn't feel that way at all. :hugs: Think about it like this...if you are having to move it means you are replacing someone else. That someone else could be the person not performing up to par. I have seen numerous para switches in the last few years...sometimes even mid year. I think if admin is holding everyone (teachers, paras, custodial staff, etc...) accountable this wouldn't be an issue. :D
     
  40. mom2mikey

    mom2mikey Cohort

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    Jul 4, 2010

    I am both blessed and cursed as I basically have one-to-one adult to student support in my classroom. This means that I have 10 students, 9 learning assistants and myself. For sure the hardest part of my job is related to managing the adults in the room. I have been blessed to have amazing learning assistants in my room but even with that this is a lot of personalities in one room.

    I had always done a rotation so not only did I have to outline what each one was to be doing but I also had to make sure when we rotated each one was on their game with their new assignment. This was happening every 3 weeks. I'm done with that. This fall I'm making each learning assistant's job much more consistent and creating outlines for each of them. It has nothing to do with my faith in them but rather it is my job to set up programs for these students and it is the learning assistants job to make it happen. If I don't outline it clearly enough I could have the best learning assistants (and I think I do) in the world and it still wouldn't work.

    Have I had problems with learning assistants? You bet I have. This is a learning process for me to. All I can do is constantly evaluate what is going wrong and try to keep moving forward to make it right. It is the hardest part of the job for me.
     
  41. ami6880

    ami6880 Companion

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    Jul 4, 2010

    I agree, while it is always nice to have offered help, it sounds like she has some health issues and maybe she is just in pain and can't help the way she would like to.
     

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