Overreaction to Para?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by StarsofTommorow, Sep 18, 2014.

  1. StarsofTommorow

    StarsofTommorow Companion

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    Want to Quit Already

    I am new. I already have my own personal life but am really growing to despise my Para with a passion. I am at lunch and am borderline tears. I spoke with her once about overtalking me but she really believes she is a teacher and sometimes I have to use a mean voice to get her to stfu. I have to be observed and everything coming up and she does little things that annoy me like putting her Para friends kid in my room for time out without asking and I had to tell her it was disruptive. I knew nothing about it. She took my back to school night attendance sheet and turned it in without asking. She says "I'm gonna let this or that student do this" when I want to try an additional option at times. She is really making me hate my job. Please help! I am getting depressed being around her and don't want to be a bitch. She still repeats my directions at times.
     
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  3. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Tell admin what she is doing. Tell them that she is not allowing you to teach, tell them what you told us.
     
  4. i8myhomework

    i8myhomework Comrade

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    You don't sound like a bitch. You sound frustrated and rightfully so.

    My advice? Document document document. Then bring your concerns to admin. If someone higher up speaks to her maybe then she will take it seriously and change her behavior.

    Please don't cry :hugs: This situation is not worth your tears. I hope your afternoon turns around!
     
  5. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    This may sound slightly crazy, but you might want to record an hour or so of your class. That way, you will be able to watch it as an observer would, outside of your own head. Also, if you really see problems, you can ask your director to check out the recording.
     
  6. SF_Giants66

    SF_Giants66 Cohort

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    What is a Para?
     
  7. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I am in the same boat as you. All of us are documenting, and trying to gather enough documentation to do anything about it.
     
  8. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Para = Paraprofessional/teacher's aide
     
  9. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Many paras are phenomenal. I’ve worked with one or two that were. However, many paras want to be teachers and there are some that are not comfortable with their role as a support person. Your para might fit that category. I agree about documenting.

    I have issues with my para as well – although mine are more subtle than yours. She also moves students’ desks without asking me. You know what? I move them back. A couple of days ago, a student said “This is fun” in regards to an activity I planned for them and I caught her rolling her eyes to that. I could let it get to me, but why bother? Also, occasionally a student will ask my para a question while I’m talking. She used to just answer over me. But, if that happens I say to the student that we don’t talk while someone is talking and if you have a question for (Ms. __), you need to wait until I’m finished talking to you. Now she doesn’t do it anymore. She does, though, make it clear that she doesn’t like me. She’s very cold and a bit rude. There are plenty of other issues too, but I just don’t let it get to me.
     
  10. SF_Giants66

    SF_Giants66 Cohort

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    That's kind of weird. Why is a paraprofessional who pretty much is in a job with no required education having that much power over someone? Wouldn't the teacher be free to tell the principal to get them out of there because they aren't helping?
     
  11. bros

    bros Phenom

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    A para requires 48 college credits, at least around here - or passing the ParaPro exam. So there's some barrier to entry.
     
  12. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    This para is completely out of line. The teacher (OP) needs to bring the issue to her administrator so s/he can solve the problem.
     
  13. SF_Giants66

    SF_Giants66 Cohort

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    Oh, okay. I actually was referring to my text book in learning diversity that states paraprofessionals as being more assistants to the teacher, and don't require specialized education.
     
  14. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    Lay out what is expected of her and what she should NOT be doing. Can you type up a list of expectations that she can read over then sign? After that, if she is not performing appropriately, you have something in writing and you can do a formal write up. Some people need to see things in black and white before they "get it" although she probably already knows what she's doing is not right. Our teaching assistants have to be TA certified but I'm not sure how many college credits they need. 2 of my TAs actually have Masters degrees but even so would never behave the way the OP is describing.
     
  15. SF_Giants66

    SF_Giants66 Cohort

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    If this helps, in our learning diversity class, our professor who was a special education teacher for years said a huge mistake teachers make is assuming that paraprofessionals know what they need to be doing.
     
  16. bora

    bora Rookie

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    Not all paras do not have required education. I have met paras who had Bachelor Degrees. I have applied for para positions (not so lucky to be called even for an interview)and I have 143 credits in education.
     
  17. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    I wouldn't want to work with a Para or any type of co-teacher, but I know that the teacher has no say in their Para situation at my school.

    Our Paras only work with our Life Skills kids who are in a separate Special Ed program.
     
  18. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    True and this is with everyone. If you don't give people clear instructions, boundaries and expectations; they might run amuck. Look at our students.
     
  19. bora

    bora Rookie

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    :thumb:
    Starsoftomorrow, Just have another talk with her. Show her what you expect from her. Maybe she is just trying to be helpful, as much as she can, and doesn't understand her ''limits'' as a para.
     
  20. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Today or yesterday. . .
    The beginning of the month, having just started.
    I believe that your "I'm better than any para" attitude is still showing. You have been given some great advice for getting along with and forging a strong working relationship, but honestly, you have never liked her from day one, if your posts are to be believed. You come across as arrogant in your posts, so I suspect that your para has had no difficulty feeling the disdain. I would suggest that you document everything you perceive as an infraction, and I would tell her to do the same. If your para is lucky, she will find a job where she isn't perceived as evil, but where she can be cultivated into a wonderful ally. Nothing in your posts hints that you have made any attempt to meet her halfway or attempt to find a reasonable solution that doesn't end in you gloating because you are a card carrying teacher and she is "only" a para. Some para's and some teachers are worthless, while others are true treasures. The fact that over three weeks you are still saying nothing but bad things about your para could mean that she is terrible, or it could say the same about you. To be successful, you would do a little better to include, mentor, and nurture, IMO. The one thing that we easily get to observe on this forum is that some are teachers who shouldn't be, and some aspire to be teachers, and will make it happen, in spite of having to come up through the ranks and do it a course or two at a time.

    Perhaps you should let your administrators know of your grievances and allow them to mediate your disputes and disfunctional relationship. Since everyone should be there for the students, I would think that the administration would want to make your relationship with your para more harmonious. I would think that would take some change from both parties, but is possible if the student's well being is the driving force. If it is just an ego thing by the adults, well, that is something very different.
     
  21. StarsofTommorow

    StarsofTommorow Companion

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    Thanks guys. Valuable advice. Will work on outline for specific roles this weekend. Its only September. I don't need to stress myself out over someone who is not the principal, supervisor, or board authority and actually impact my job. That should solve a lot.
     
  22. StarsofTommorow

    StarsofTommorow Companion

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    So I've had several issues with my para since the new school year such as interruptions during lessons, getting my mail out of my mailbox, speaking on my behalf...and there have been some improvement. She is really good friends with another para, and a few weeks ago her friend brings a kid to the class for time out, and it was never mentioned. She said it was because she knew her. I told her it was disruptive and she said ok. Today it happened again and I told her nobody asked me and it's disruptive and all of our attention should be on our kids. She said "I've been doing this for years" "It's not disruptive". I went to the principal and they said they would take care of it. I didn't want to. She refused to talk to her friend, and she disrespected the fact that it's my room. Overreaction or not?
     
  23. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    I probably would've done the same thing. I hate the practice of sending kids to another teacher. Is it common in your school?
     
  24. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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  25. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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  26. StarsofTommorow

    StarsofTommorow Companion

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    If the teacher agrees to it. And actually its not exactly the same because I never mentioned going to the principal before.
     
  27. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    So maybe the real question is why you haven't gone to the principal before? The para could be telling the truth - this is something that was tolerated or encouraged before in various circumstances, therefore something she learned. If it isn't OK now, that needs to come from the administration. Now you have voiced your concerns. Either the administrators will correct the situation, which they should share with you, or they will try to sweep it under the rug, since basically they already knew it was happening and they never stopped it. That is implied consent. If it is a long standing and accepted way of coping at that school, then I suspect little will change in your favor. If they were truly that clueless about what is going on, maybe things will change, or maybe they don't really care, as long as everyone gets through the day. I would start with the assumption that the para is probably right about it being an accepted procedure in your school. Whether or not it remains accepted is yet to be seen.

    If the para has learned this is accepted, then she is accepting her marching orders from a higher power than yours. Your real beef should be with the school for accepting this, even if it has been by turning a blind eye. In that situation, para didn't disrespect, and she is doing what she understands to come from the powers that be, and they trump you. Can the procedures change? I don't know. If you find out that this is the way things have been done in the past, you owe the para an honest apology.

    Also, why aren't you mad or talking with the teacher who sent the student out of the room in the first place??? She had to know he was going somewhere, which is the first clue that the school has operated like this long before you got there. The teacher, not her para, should have been the one checking with another teacher if the practice is OK, but she didn't. Now the onus is on the para to get that student out of the room, and I am guessing that whoever had your class before accepted the traveling student because at some point the former teacher, who is now you, reciprocated in the use of other rooms for time outs. Tit for tat. :2cents:
     
  28. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    I would go to that other para and make it clear to them that you do not want other students in your classroom.
     
  29. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Two threads have been merged. A to Z forum policy discourages multiple threads at the same time by the same member on the same topic; the site owner's rationale is that the discussion works best if it's kept in one place, and I agree. In this case, it would have been appropriate to bump the original thread by adding the new development, rather than launching a whole new thread just a week later. The newer thread had a more apt title, however, so we're going with that rather than the earlier title.
     
  30. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Perhaps talk with the other teacher instead of the paras. Remind that other teacher that you're new to the school and are still perfecting your work with your own students, and that having attention drawn away from that process is making things difficult. It would then be that teacher's responsibility to keep the other para from bringing students to your room in the first place.
     
  31. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Be careful with the administration... a new special ed teacher versus a para with experience and a known track record... more than one admin would side with the para in that situation.
     
  32. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    :yeahthat:
    IMO, more appropriate. I know of no para who would just disappear with a student on their own, without being asked/told to remove the student from the class by the teacher in charge. Who wouldn't notice the missing child? The para is following orders. OP needs to look up the chain of command for a solution, and maybe confer with other teachers who practice this "traveling student" time out. Just seems more productive than yelling at the people who are just following orders.
     
  33. StarsofTommorow

    StarsofTommorow Companion

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    The principal said that I should have been asked, NOT because she is her friend. The principal said it is not mandatory and they would take care of it. Hopefully they do.
     
  34. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    On the one hand, I sympathize with you because I have a lot of issues with my para as well. Working closely with someone year and year with whom you have a strained relationship is not easy.

    However, if I'm being honest, I'm concerned by your insistence that it she respect the fact that it is "your room" and that you are the decision maker in all things. Truthfully, I can imagine that it would be somewhat uncomfortable for a para (or anyone else) to work in an environment where they had no autonomy and felt that any decision they tried to make on their own was discouraged and unvalued. I think it would be of benefit to both of you to sit down and have lunch or something together and try to work out things that she can take ownership of on her own without reporting to you and things that you would like her to run by you before acting on.

    Further, I don't really get why it is such a big deal if another student was sent to your class as a classroom management strategy. I honestly don't think I would mind unless the student came in and was loud and disruptive. But if you're uncomfortable with it, I'm sure that if you just let her know, the situation can be avoided in the future.

    I wish you luck with all this. Working with another individual in a classroom setting is not easy! Working out the power dynamic can be very tricky and sometimes personalities don't mesh. For me, it's one of the hardest parts of my job. :)
     
  35. Sugar

    Sugar Rookie

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    I have a similar problem. She has one year of experience and that didn't go well which is why she was moved to my classroom...in hopes of a "better fit". I am being kinder about the issues than the previous teacher, but it's frustrating. I vent to one colleague/friend I trust completely. Without that vent, I would surely lose it and say something to the woman out of frustration. I am slowly and kindly voicing my needs, but it's hard. She doesn't understand her role (which was the issue in her previous assignment), but I am working to make her role exceedingly clear.
     
  36. StarsofTommorow

    StarsofTommorow Companion

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    One thing, she NEVER asked me nor did the other para. THAT IS DISRESPECTFUL as it is my room and students are like "who are they" "why are they in here" when the other para barges in during my lesson. That is the biggest issue. I did let her know and she basically said she didn't think it was an issue, which is why I got admin involved. Her fault for overstepping boundaries.
     
  37. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Please reread my post. My point was that your continued insistence that it's "your room" and that she is disrespectful if she makes any decisions without discussing them with you first is potentially problematic. Talk to her and work out boundaries first so she knows when she is overstepping them. And please allow her some autonomy, if you don't already. I honestly can't imagine working in a situation where I had to ask permission before I did everything.
     
  38. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Agreed with that. Continuing to do it after she knows you don't agree with it is disrespectful. Doing it the first time certainly wasn't, particularly if school culture is that it is a norm.
     
  39. Sugar

    Sugar Rookie

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    I do believe that a teacher is within his or her right to speak in terms of "my room". The teacher is ultimately responsible for the students and the learning that takes place and the para is there to aid the teacher in succeeding in his or her goals for the students. More than ever due to new evaluation and compensation systems, it's critical the teacher be seen as the absolute leader of the classroom. That isn't demeaning to others, just like saying a principal is the ultimate leader of the school isn't demeaning to teachers.
     
  40. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Have you made it very clear to her that she answers to you? I have struggled with paras too. In my own experience, expectations have to be very clear, and often very direct. Teachers at my school are the direct supervisors of the TAs and we also evaluate them throughout the year. I don´t know if that´s your case as well, but it seems to help in making the case that the TAs need to follow the teacher´s guidelines. I say sit with your para and be very clear, specific and direct about what she needs to work on. If it continues, go to your P.
     
  41. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I don´t know. As the classroom teacher, it really is her room, and I personally don´t see anything wrong with using the language ¨my room¨ because that´s really what it is. The classroom teacher is the teacher. The para is support. The teacher calls the shots. Apparently the para is already having difficulty understanding that line, so language that truly defines her role and position is especially helpful in this case.
     

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