Para giving me a hard time

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by MissPapa, Oct 16, 2013.

  1. MissPapa

    MissPapa Comrade

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    Oct 16, 2013

    So I received a long-term subbing assignment for a special ed class. I love it. My only problem is…one of the paras is kind of giving me a hard time. The para is a good help and we do get along in some cases, but she is acting like she is boss and has criticized me in a way to try to make me feel stupid.

    Truth is, I am trying to learn the system of the school and still learning on how to work with the students' IEPs. My fellow teachers understand me ALOT more being that I have stepped in suddenly.

    I want to be nice because I am looking for full-time, but how can I be assertive without making myself be too forward or making me sound mad/mean/stuck up? I've been in this type of situation numerous times and I usually told these co-workers off (a few situations got pretty ugly where they see my bitchy side), but this is a career I'm going for. It's hard!!!! I want to be able to enjoy my stay, have valuable experience, and eventually get a job, but if this para is always complaining…

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
     
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  3. bridgetbordeaux

    bridgetbordeaux Companion

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    Oct 16, 2013

    The para probably feels that she knows the students better than you do if she has been with them for awhile. When we have subs in our SpEd classes, the para usually takes the role of teacher just because they know the kids. However, I realize in your case, it is your name on the IEP's since you are the certified teacher. You have to know what is going on and the para should be your biggest help. I have done both positions and both have their good and not so good parts. Maybe just try to find out why she is being hard to get along with. And give her enough responsibility so she doesn't feel unneccessary. Good Luck
     
  4. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Oct 16, 2013

    Schedule a meeting with her, clarify each of your roles, and explain as gently as possible that you are the teacher in the room, and she is the paraprofessional.
     
  5. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    Oct 16, 2013

    Why do you have to be "in charge" if you don't know the school's system or how to work with the students' IEPs? The para knows what to do and the show must go on.

    In our district, long-term subs for special educators fill instructional roles only. They do not write IEPs or do other case management tasks; the other special educators take that on.
     
  6. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Oct 16, 2013

    Do you have a chance at being hired full time? I went from LTS to full time, it's quite common in special ed where turnover rate is high.

    Regarding the para. You are right that the schools hiring committee might confer with her. One piece of advice ... Don't ever "tell off" or get bitc!!!y with co-workers (which includes paras). A school staff must function as a team. If you are not perceived as a team player you will not be considered for the job.

    In your shoes, would be asking the para for advice on how to work with each student. Don't worry about establishing your authority. This is established by your certification and a salary table. I treat my paras as co-workers (which they are) and give them as much responsibility as they are willing or comfortable to take. When I stepped into my position, my paras had been working with my students for years. And, they actually had more years in the field of education than I did.
     
  7. MissPapa

    MissPapa Comrade

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    Oct 17, 2013

    Believe me, I understand and I appreciate the help I am getting. And it's great that there's someone who knows the kids. I just wish she wasn't frustrating and can step in in a helpful way. And about the "in charge" thing, I'm never bossy with any para I work with. I consider them as part of a team, whereas we work together and nobody should be Mrs. (or Mr.) Bossypants.

    I actually decided to take charge today no matter what now that I have been around for almost two weeks, and after talking to a few people including fellow teachers. She wasn't so difficult today since I have been taking initiative a lot more. In fact, I am currently updating the bulletin boards, starting this month's project, and going to meetings. It actually felt good. It's like I didn't HAVE to speak to her to confront her, she figured it out that I got the hang of it.

    I just had bad experience with this before in other places of employment. Since this is where I want to be, I had to keep my cool.

    And there might be a chance that I might get hired. Wasn't told, but a good chance since it's a special ed school and I am going to be around for a while.

    Those who gave advice, thanks. Today I feel a lot better (and this was before I checked in here.)
     
  8. msmac21

    msmac21 Companion

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    Oct 22, 2013

    Being a sub has honestly made me dislike paras and learning support teachers. No offense to anyone who is one! I've thought of doing it myself on a million occasions. But I've been in your shoes where the para comes in and tries to boss me (the sub) around because they know the routine. It is SO embarrassing and literally feels like they're trying to make you look bad in front of the kids/other teachers. I cringe every time a para comes in to help because I'm afraid they'll all be like that (not the case : ])

    I totally get how you feel. I guess we just have to remind ourselves... daily... that even if we had one bad experience, most paras are there to help and are really just trying to help! I try to remind myself of all the paras I have met that haven't done what the few bad ones did!
     
  9. cali*teacher

    cali*teacher Companion

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    Oct 22, 2013

    Funny, I just posted about this! I also had posted about someone doing this to me on here a few months ago. I ended up asking another teacher in the same grade level what to do about it. She must have said something, because this para never did it again. I have to agree, some para's will come in and just automatically start trying to run the show and boss you around, and almost try to make you look bad in front of the students. What I really dislike is when all is going smoothly and fine in a classroom, a para walks in and all the classroom order goes out the window. I just think some people are just really oblivious to how they are coming across, how rude they are being to do that.
     

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