Qualities of a good aide/para?

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by MarshNConsMom, Aug 5, 2007.

  1. MarshNConsMom

    MarshNConsMom Rookie

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    Aug 5, 2007

    I have applied in my district for a para job. HR will forward my name to the principals but I have already emailed a couple of principals noting my interest in a position.

    I'm certified primary-5th and 6th-9th grade science. I've been a stay at home mom for almost seven years with various part time evening jobs. I'm ready to get back into the education field but not THAT ready for the responsibilities of a TEACHER.

    Would a teacher like to have an aide who has a background in education? I even taught in inclusion classrooms, so I do have some experience with special ed students. What qualities do you like to see in your aides?

    Is there anything that I could/should say to a principal that would better my chances?

    I noticed that there were para jobs in my district that had been advertised for many months. Hopefully one of these schools will want me but would they even knowing that I eventually want to teach again?

    Thanks for any advice/words of wisdom!


    ~Susan
     
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  3. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Aug 5, 2007

    I am a new teacher, so I've never had a parapro. But, I know from subbing, it is VERY annoying when they try to run the class. Be willing to help but don't take over!
    As for the principal, say good morning every day, talk with him/her a lot. Try to get letters of recommendation at the end of the year!
     
  4. Mercy

    Mercy Rookie

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    Aug 7, 2007

    I think some good qualities include : Being energetic, coming in each day for the challenges ahead. Willing to take commands for the head teacher. One challenge for you with all your experience will be the fact that you are not the teacher it will be important for you to accept the teachers way of doing things - I know it is hard on teachers when the para is constantly saying "I would do it this way" and " That's not the way I do it." You will have lots of ideas and things to share with your teacher but it is important to do it in such a way that does not make the teacher feel like you are trying to come in a take over her/his classroom. Also taking directions is important being willing to be flexible when the teacher has IEP meeting and such is very important. Remember that the teacher must make all final decision because it will be her head on the chopping block if something goes wrong.

    I hope these idea will be of help to you. Have a great year in the classroom.
     
  5. hdmeza

    hdmeza Companion

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    Aug 8, 2007

    I am a teacher who used to be a para while going to school.

    I will say that I would not have a preference, i have one para w/ HS diploma and one who will be a student teacher next year. I have not worked with them yet but my hopes would be that they know that I am in charge, do not argue theory with me, will present ideas form a different view, and understand that whether they feel my choices be right or wrong they are mine and I am ultimately responsible for EVERYTHING that happens in the class.
     
  6. txteach2b

    txteach2b Comrade

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    Aug 14, 2007

    I agree w/ the others. I am a para, and last year was my first. I went from subbing to being a para in just a matter of weeks. I was lucky to land the position I did last year. One thing I learned was do what the teacher wants you to do. I had one teacher (science) last year who just wanted me to read to some of the kids when they had a test. The main teacher I worked with wanted to split the class, with me taking one group and her taking the other. So, I did gain some teaching experience last year, although in a way, it was kind of like student teaching. She helped me a lot last year. Anyway, just keep a positive attitude and an open mind, and things will go well. Good luck!
     
  7. kidatheart

    kidatheart Habitué

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    Aug 15, 2007

    As a former para, I suggest that you not treat them as secretaries. While it is ok to ask them to help out occassionally with copying type duties, it is not what they were hired for.
    An aide is there to help you, and sometimes we have ideas that you might not have thought of.
    My best experiences were with teachers that allowed a lot of give and take between us - I could finish their sentences and was asked to add to class discussions/lessons whenever I could.
    My worst experiences were with the teachers who made sure I knew who was in charge - You are only an aide! :p Yes, I actually heard her say that to me!
     
  8. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Aug 16, 2007

    I had a fabulous relationship with my ed assistant last year. She was an equal partner and participant in the class. We worked together to implement the plans I put in place, and, on a couple of occasions, when I needed to be away unexpectedly, she took over planning for some of the students. I think the key to our good relationship was that we worked hard to develop a partnership.
     
  9. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Aug 16, 2007

    I was an aide for five years, and subbed for 5 years before that.
    I found that I would do what needed to be done with out being asked. Say the teacher is teaching a handwriting lesson and little Billy is upside down in his seat. I would walk over and quietly correct him. This let her still be able to teach. Or if they are doing a hands on activity I didn't just stand there I wandered around making sure they were doing it correctly.


    Last year my aide was wonderful. We would have planning meetings everyday. She gave advice and taught lessons. Basically I think a good aide is one that is flexible and able to roll with the flow.
     
  10. fratbrats

    fratbrats Comrade

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    Aug 16, 2007

    My experience as a paraprofessional was wonderful! It was in special education. It was a behavior room for grades 1-3 and they were mostly working on functional skills. I actually landed this job by talking to one of my children's teachers about substituting. By the time I came home I had an interview for this classroom. Then, the next day I was hired!

    My teacher treated us all as a team members. She loved it when I brought in new ideas or activites to enrich her curriculum. We were there to support each other. It was the best experience and it encouraged me to work on certification when I arrived in Texas in March.

    Now, I'll be lucky to have 2 paraprofessionals working with me in my classroom this year. I only hope that we have the same special relationship that I had last year. This is especially important when you have challenging days. You need each other!

    Sheri:wub:
     
  11. krisaustin

    krisaustin Companion

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    Aug 16, 2007

    Last year my para was a certified teacher. I LOVED IT!!!!! Although she was a certified teacher, I had to explain a lot about special education, but she learned quickly. It helped having a certified teacher in the room. I could ask her to work with a student on something and she would come up with ideas to use. She knew her responsibilities.

    I also really liked having her, becuase when I was out for the day. She would be my sub. She knew the routine, the various reading/nath programs, and the students more than a sub would. The sub would come in and take over her position. But that is up to the teacher (it was easier for me that way).
     
  12. MarshNConsMom

    MarshNConsMom Rookie

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    Aug 16, 2007

    Thank you all for your replies! I would absolutely love it if the teacher felt comfortable enough with me to allow me to work in a small group setting occasionally.

    Now if I could just get an interview but that complaint can go in another forum :eek:
     
  13. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Aug 16, 2007

    I love my job. My teacher treats me as a team member. We also have planning meetings. I teach a small word study group every morning and then others as needed. Most of the time, I leave the teaching to her and I help with the behavior management and taking care of small situations as JamieMarie described. I suggest ideas, but let the teacher know that she is not in any way obligated to take any of those suggestions. I don't critique her lessons. I do offer feedback if she asks for it and try to praise what was good. Basically it is a balance of "what is our greatest strength?" Okay..that person does that. I do some tasks that are traditionally teachers tasks and she sometimes takes mine. It's about making that classroom run smooth. Having said all that, I'm lucky. Not everyone has a relationship that runs quite like that. For many, the teacher needs the aide to be more in the background. After having subs, I understand that. It can be distracting sometimes to have another person in the room and figure out what they need or can do. Plus I've learned that in absence of written data, people have varying ideas and expectations of what teacher and teacher aide roles and duties are.

    So I guess my point is you need to be proactive and take your cue from the teacher. That's the hardest balance for a para. Find out what needs to be done and ask if you can help with it. Over time, you will figure out what you need to ask and what you need to just do. Communication and initiative are the keys. The rest depends on the team involved. After I've been spoiled with this team setup, I'm not sure I could work under a different kind of set up.
     
  14. AspieTeacher

    AspieTeacher Comrade

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    Aug 17, 2007

    Being a Teamplayer!

    Susan,

    I have been an autism support teacher for the past five years. To me a good paraprofessional will make the "time" to talk to the teacher on ideas. A good paraprofessional will show up to work on time without excuses. A good paraprofessional doesn't say, "that's not my job, or I don't do that, i'm not comfortable with that!" A good paraprofessional talks to the teacher, doesn't go over the teacher's head. A good paraprofessional doesn't text message, socialize during instructional time. A good paraprofessional doesn't eat food in front of the students. A good paraprofessional doesn't undermine the teacher in front of the students. I hate to sound so negative, but this is what I experience in my room. Our paraprofessionals have a union and if they don't agree with the teacher, they will transfer the teacher before they get rid of the paraprofessionals no matter what the circumstances incur. Your paraprofessional should be a "team" player, work to do what is best for the students; not just what they think should be best for the students. All paraprofessionals need to learn how to take data too.

    AspieTeacher
     
  15. fratbrats

    fratbrats Comrade

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    Aug 17, 2007

    Great answer!!! Absolutely! We had a perm. substitute as an aide and she was terrible! She hardly came to work. Absent once or more a week, she would fall asleep in class, and she had many personal problems that she liked to share with us. We are there for the kids, not to act as her social worker/counselor. Of course, everyone has situations that come up in their life, but her situations had situations! She wasn't rehired this year, as I understand. Thank goodness.:woot:

    As an aide, I always gave above and beyond what was expected from me. This really helped when I went to ask for recommendations for my new position. And when my new principal called these references, too.

    I know that both of the paraprofessionals that I'll be working with have already worked for this district at least one year and transferred to their new positions, so that's comforting.

    Take care, Sheri
     

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