Para: Uncomfortable Situation

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Holyoke, Mar 1, 2018.

  1. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I posted this in another thread but I would love to hear some perspectives on this situation:

    My school has hired an new para and there are some other issues with this para that are making me uncomfortable. He started a week and a half ago and he is already VERY friendly with the kids and is getting too close to some of them. The kids refer to him by his first name and "bro." On his second day at work, he was eating lunch with two girls in the hallway (where they are not supposed to be!!!). These girls of course have a crush on him and they kept asking about him/looking for him in the hallway today during lunch. Apparently he sits with them during lunch regularly in the hallway. It is the same with so many of the girls. He also promised to buy two boys expensive sneakers if they made a certain shot in basketball. His dress is also very unprofessional (ripped jeans and a hat) which my mentor does not agree with. He also talks to kids while I am teaching a lesson and it is getting frustrating. I brought these concerns to my mentor and she agrees with me but doesn't know what to do. Can someone give me any perspective on this--especially the part about getting too close with students? It is his first week so he may not understand boundaries yet. I don't know if I am overreacting or if I should be concerned.
     
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  3. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Who’s his direct supervisor? This is leading to nothing good!
     
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  4. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    You are not overreacting. So many lines are being crossed....
     
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  5. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    My mentor said she is not his direct supervisor but I think she plans to speak with them. Right now, I am most concerned with him getting too close to the girls because they all have obvious crushes on him. It's definitely normal for girls to have a crush on their male teacher, but I feel like he needs to recognize that and take a step back.
     
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  6. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

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    The new paraprofessional........should be called "Para" and that is it. There is an expected amount of appropriate professionalism in a school when you are a teaching and the new "para" seems to have not received the memo.
    Additional training is needed, even suspension. This could lead to bigger problems such as police intervention due to his unusual interaction with the students.
    @Ms.Holyoke You are not overreacting at all. The "para" is too casual for the position. He is in a teaching position........he is the student's guide, the student's teacher, the student's tutor.......not the student's BFF.
     
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  7. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Yes I agree that he is acting very friendly with the kids. It is concerning to see, especially with the girls. He really has god intentions but seems completely oblivious. I doubt the police would get involved because it is not that extreme, but just unusual. I'm glad my mentor is on the same page as me.
     
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  8. CherryOak

    CherryOak Comrade

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    Trust your gut that there's a potential concern. I'd talk to his direct supervisor. As for interrupting your lesson, don't hesitate to politely redirect him. Just walk up to him and whisper how you need his help ensuring the students can focus on your instruction and ask him to not speak to them at this time.
     
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  9. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    What a knucklehead. Some people just need to be smacked. upside the head. Has he picked up a newspaper lately?

    One suggestion---maybe you can tell him you've heard some other people talking about it, and let him know you're "just looking out for him", even if you're really looking out for the students.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2018
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  10. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Someone, preferably his direct supervisor needs to have a conversation with him about school expectations, i.e. where students are to eat lunch, attire, and buying of items. You can and should have a conversation about what your expectations are for him when he is in your room. Let him know what he should be doing while you are teaching. Good luck.
     
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  11. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    You know, now that I think about this situation--maybe no one sat down and discussed expectations with him. In my district, VPs are directly responsible for instructional aides (training and evaluating). However, when they're in the classroom, their day-to-day duties and responsibilities are delegated by the classroom teacher.

    Regardless of who his supervisor is, this situation needs to be addressed NOW!
     
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  12. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    You're a student teacher, right? Your mentor teacher should be handling this one.

    In my district there is no reason for any school employee, from the principal to the bus driver, to be unaware of the line between appropriate and inappropriate behaviors. We are trained on this each year. We're going to receive even more training next year because we have had a couple of high-profile incidents where staff members behaved inappropriately with students. In our district it is heavily stressed that we are to report any inappropriate behavior we witness, hear about, or suspect. If something even feels off, we are to report it. Like being a mandated reporter when it comes to child abuse and neglect, it's our responsibility to report, not to investigate.

    Hopefully your mentor teacher has already addressed this with an administrator.
     
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  13. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I am, yes so I think my mentor teacher is going to handle it but she isn't sure about the best way to do it. I think she is planning on speaking with the principal soon.
     
  14. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Well, hopefully as a veteran teacher seasoned enough to host a student teacher, she can figure this one out fairly quickly. Surely she's been trained on this stuff as well.
     
  15. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Yes I had never planned on addressing it. I just shared my concerns with my mentor and I wanted to get other perspectives from other teachers since I hadn't seen a situation like this.

    One thing that I am struggling with is that the kids like him so much. He doesn't discipline kids (and maybe I shouldn't expect him to?) but it's really stressful to be the only one to discipline kids, especially when he is right next to the misbehaving kids. I honestly feel like it's going to make the kids dislike me. I know that having the kids like me isn't that important, but I also want to form stronger relationships with them! I know that I shouldn't feel this way but I feel kind of jealous that they like him so much more than me!
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2018
  16. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I'm teaching a lesson tomorrow and I'm thinking of just talking to him (or having my mentor talk to him) and saying "One thing that I am really working on is classroom management, especially during whole class time. It is really helpful when you circulate and talk to kids when I give them a minute to try something or talk. But then to keep the pace of the lesson, it is also helpful if you help bring the kids' attention back to me when I ask for their attention." My mentor agrees that it's frustrating and said I can talk to him if I want to.

    Otherwise, I can see if it continues tomorrow and I could talk to him later or ask my mentor to talk to him later.
     
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  17. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    So today I found out that the paraprofessional plays Fortnite with the kids online. They have a group chat and he was saying how the kids are always swearing, etc. I'm not sure if I should tell my mentor.
     
  18. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Yes. Interacting with students online has the potential to get him into a whole lot of trouble; it needs to stop now.
     
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  19. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    [​IMG]
    Yeah, it's a bad idea for him to be doing that. Tell your mentor.
     
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  20. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Thanks! I am going to let my mentor know today. I don't want to come off as tattling but it does seem inappropriate.
     
  21. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    As we tell our little ones--tattling is to get someone into trouble, reporting is to prevent trouble. This is the sort of thing that could, with one little misstep, end his career before it starts and it's important that he recognize that.
     
  22. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I told my mentor and she thinks it is very strange too. She went to tell his supervisor.
     
  23. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    It's obvious to me that someone needed to have taken the bull by the horns already! If your mentor has not spoken to the principal yet, you may want to consider doing that yourself - yes, even as a student teacher. This would be a perfect "training" opportunity for you to experience what it is like to attempt to involve an administrator in a personnel problem. Someone needs to step up to the plate before it hits the news.
     
  24. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    Since this situation has been going on for weeks if not months, I suspect that no one wants to be a tattletail! By definition, a tattletail is one who reports on the behavior of an individual much to the annoyance of others - in your case, I don't think others at your workplace would be annoyed by your revealing the goings-on with admin.

    If everyone is so chicken, you can always go to the primary stakeholders - pick parents who would have no reluctance to shake admin's cage with their concerns about the para's impropriety. By doing so, you will also learn to use parents' influence to your advantage - something that is useful for all educators to know. They will ensure that this unhealthy situation is brought to an abrupt end.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
  25. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    It's honestly not my responsibility to speak to the principal. My mentor spoke with his supervisor though.
     
  26. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    So, now what and when? I don't know about you, but I'm ready to have this resolved by Friday!
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
  27. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I'm not sure if anything will happen but at least I reported it.
     
  28. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    There's something I learned in education that held true 99% of the time: Whenever there's a problem, if you don't do something about it (i.e. step up to the plate), the likelihood is that no one else will either. So, in your case, you can just forget about it and your student teaching will be over before you know it - at least you reported it.

    BTW, this is the kind of sticky situation that I would purposely seek out to tackle. By actively getting involved in resolving problems that no one else wanted to touch, I created a win-win situation for both my students and me. This is how I racked up an impressive list of accomplishments that was highly advantageous on my resume. If you want to transform your resume into a winning curriculum vitae, you may want to consider stepping out of your comfort zone and taking on a challenge that you may well be faced with again as a teacher - I guarantee selection committees will take notice - I know I would.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
  29. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Right but as a student twacher it's not right for me to decide that my mentor isn't handling a situation correctly. That could put her in a bad place. I know that the students are not being harmed in any way, otherwise I would act.
     
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  30. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    I have learned that is almost every family, organization, and group that there’s at least one if not two odd color sheep that are never dealt with.

    They become the iconic elephant in the room. A problem big enough for the world to see, but nobody touches. Everyone has something to say about them...until there’s a meeting. Then, silence. Nobody will say a single word.

    This madness ALWAYS backfires on me when I bring it up. Always. Always. I am sick and tired of it! Everyone knows it’s wrong, but I am the only one to say something.

    And I lose my job, lose my home, my man, family and friends. Always becomes my fault! Always. Just recently a situation has developed where a consulting coordinator observed my class, asked about issues I was facing, listened to my thoughts, pretended to offer me support and then went and turned it into an internal investigation! Now my boss thinks I am trying to get the center shut down. :(

    We have about a month to go.

    My advice is to let it go. Trust me, when the stuff hits the fan, you don’t want it coming back on you.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
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  31. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Putting the concern in the hands of the teacher responsible for the students (aka your mentor teacher) was the correct thing to do. It is that person's license that is on the line.
     
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  32. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    You're absolutely right! I failed to consider your role at the school. Gotta be careful in picking your battles. Hopefully, someone will do the right thing!
     
  33. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Again, there’s one do-nothing in every walk of life. They don’t get fired, they get promoted.

    And become your boss.
     
  34. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    Do I detect jealousy? He is obviously young and attractive, and has made a connection with the students, one necessary ingredient for effective management. Perhaps you should get to know him instead of passing judgment.
     
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  35. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    I had a temp job once, and the supervisor started getting friendly. Asked me to go out with him for dinner, just business of course. I thought nothing of it. Next thing I know he tells me he's divorced, and had an operation so no risks of pregnancy and I go...whoa, wait a minute!

    Not interested, just stop this.

    He says, okay, but then he's putting his hand on my shoulder when we talk, and I am flat out uncomfortable. This is before sexual harassment was a policy, or even a term.

    I told my supervisor about it, as carefully as I could. And you know what she did?

    She took me off the job.


    I had another temp job where I was a file clerk. One day, supervisor asked me to type a letter. So I did. Then she asked if I could look at a report. Back then, it was Lotus 1-2-3., (the spreadsheet software before Excel). Asked if I could add a 7 here and put a 5 there, that's all.

    Well, I decided to mention this to my supervisor. She said, it sounded like I was doing secretarial work for file clerk pay. Said she would get back to me.

    She called me back, said the job ended.

    Flash forward to this year.

    A coordinator from the funding source office comes to my room, and claims she is there to assist me, and help evaluate my class for any issues. I tell her the issues I have are with the behaviors of children in the class.

    Next thing I know, I am told that I went to her and reported some alleged abuse in one my students! Now I am fighting for my job because the owner is at risk of fighting with the protective services over getting this child's family investigated. What the hell happened? That coordinator who was there to 'help' me was looking for trouble and brewed this story because I guess she was a few parking tickets short of her quota.

    You can be right, and you can be dead right.

    You can have the right-of-way, and still get hit in a car accident, have your insurance hit, and lose time and money. Had this happen to me.

    You can win fair and square and still lose over a technicality.

    Sometimes, you just have to pick your battles.

    If this was a permanent placement and this was your paraprofessional, it would be an entirely different ball game.

    I say do nothing. Stay out of it.

    This gum may never come out of the clothes since it's now in your dryer. If somebody found it before putting the clothes in the wash, and took it out, there wouldn't be a problem. But somehow, stuff keeps managing to slip by us when we toss clothes in the washer. There's a big mess, and you want to do something.

    What can you really do?

    What difference will it make?

    How could it impact this man's job? What about the students who have now been online with him?

    What about his supervising teacher? How will it affect him/her?

    And the real question, how will this all look to your university-based teacher? Because putting out fires is a good thing, but a controversial issue with the coordinating school will cause problems with future student teachers.

    If I sound negative, I am not trying to be.

    But needless to say, nothing good has never come out of me complaining about problems everyone already knows about.
     
  36. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    Hahahahaha back and better than ever!
     
  37. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    [​IMG]
     
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  38. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    One year, my high school planned their annual homecoming game. Our class president emailed everyone and got us all excited about coming to the game. Said there would be a battle of the old alumni band vs. the youngsters. And a big tailgate party in the parking lot! Some alumni said they going to bring their grill and there would be plenty of food. We started emailing each other, quoting old cheers, and challenging each other on favorite dishes, and trying to remember all the words to finish our famous fight songs!

    Well, the Friday before the game, we got an email saying the game was cancelled. The game, the parade, everything.

    A couple of football players did something, and the principal was really ticked off. So he cancelled everything.

    Those goofy kids (who probably kidnapped the opposing stuffed school's mascot) had no idea what trouble they caused. They stopped the ENTIRE game, the Homecoming Game, that many alumni look forward to attending...year after year.

    No parade
    No royal court and crowing of the the king and queen
    No battle of the bands
    No football cheers
    No tailgate party

    Nothing for us to do but take that food, eat some, freeze some and save some leftovers.

    Why didn't the principal just suspend the offenders and let the game go on?

    Why am I bringing this up?

    Apparently, this principal wanted to make a clear statement. In the end, everyone ---young and old suffered.

    Well perhaps the situation had got out of hand, and he wanted to make sure this didn't happen again.

    When there is a problem for one, it affects many. If the powers that be would deal with the situation in a timely manner, it might not have caused a fun tradition to end.

    That being said...

    Somebody at that school knows what is going on. They are just dragging their feet, waiting for this situation to REALLY explode.

    And they don't want to look like the meanie by snatching this person up by the collar.

    They are waiting for somebody to point out his problems.

    Then nobody will miss the wrath, the penalties, and the new policies as a result of one man's punishment.

    I say, when you blow the whistle, more people will be upset with you instead of being upset with him.
     
  39. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    Can you give us an update on your para?
     
  40. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I'm not sure what happened. I haven't heard more about the online chatting though.
     
  41. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    To update the situation, the para does have a disciplinary note on the file for talking with the kids online. My mentor teacher told me last week when I went back to school for my students' graduation. She was also frustrated and said that she wants to ask for a different para next year.
     

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