Respect for Paras??

Discussion in 'Paraprofessionals' started by flutetoot, May 28, 2013.

  1. flutetoot

    flutetoot Companion

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    May 28, 2013

    I am a certified teacher with her Masters, with 5 endorsements to my name. I graduated magna cum laude, received perfect scores on a couple of my Praxis tests, and think of myself as fairly easy-going and flexible. I have been looking for a teaching job for 6 years now (cannot move due to family/husband) and know that age is not helping me. (I am in my early 40's).

    I have been working as a f/t para in a high school for 2 years now. I do whatever is asked of me, and often volunteer for activities/events etc. I even have excellent reviews.

    So why does it feel like paras get no respect? Last week, the National Honor Society students held a "Teacher Breakfast" for teachers only. Paras were not invited, and if you accidentally went over there, teachers/students would remind you that this was for "teachers only".
    Last month, some parents bought pizza for all the teachers (it was in the mutual staff room). When I went over there, teachers reminded me that it was for "teachers only".
    Many teachers in my school won't even talk to paras in the lunchroom. I do not have a choice, because since I do not have my own room, I have to eat there.
    I know teachers work hard, but why do we have to made to feel like we are inferior? Students pick up on this and will treat us just as poorly (You are not a teacher so I don't have to listen to you, etc.)

    Sorry - I am just venting here.:down:
     
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  3. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Even when there were times I thought this might be true in select cases in our school, it was never like that. Your school culture regarding paras frankly sucks. If it were me, I might even bring it up to my admin. But again, that depends on how well I think admin would receive it.

    We were ALWAYS invited to teacher morale functions. ALWAYS. Heck, once the teachers brought in a special breakfast for us and took our morning duties so we could eat it!

    If the administration isn't going to have something for paras or at least for support staff, then they need to include paras and support staff. If it is the teachers that care, as opposed to the administration, then I would clear it with them that we are all here to support the students and according to admin, this function includes support staff as well.

    But then again, we include all staff in our stuff IF they are working directly in our department. We call it teacher appreciation but others are included. There are staff that do not fall under our bosses that we might not put in the rotation for breakfasts, etc. but if happen to be working in our building that day, they are NOT excluded. This includes subs and maintenance!

    While there are definitely cliques in the break room, they are not specifically divided by job type. Having said that, it is likely that sometimes teachers will choose to come together because it is easier to talk about like things. That doesn't preclude anyone from joining nor does it stay that way.

    I think it is hard to change a work culture, but not impossible. It could take time, finesse and persistence though.
     
  4. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    May 28, 2013

    Sorry that is happening, OP. Treatment like that doesn't happen everywhere. As Cut said, it has more to do with the culture of your school.
     
  5. ECE ABC

    ECE ABC Comrade

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    WOW!!!! I have been working for a wonderful school system and have NEVER had anyone be disrespectful or mean to me...if anything its the opposite. I'm a Kindergarten Teaching Assistant and I feel respected and valued everyday.


    Teacher Appreciation Week not only were we personally invited to the Breakfast from the Principal and Lunch from the PTA but the Kindergarten Teacher (and parents) gave ME a bouquet of flowers from them and the kids..and hand made cards from the kids as well!!!!! The K teacher I work with sings my praises constantly to the point where people come up to me; staff, parents, etc. and tell me they've heard amazing things.

    I don't understand people who are like that. To me that's so sad when staff are treated that way and its wrong!!!!!!!!!!


    I feel very blessed to be in my district and have worked in the Elementary schools I have worked in with the people that I do.


    I'd be sad too.


    ((((HUGS)))))
     
  6. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

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    May 28, 2013

    That is an awful way to treat any staff. My school never has anything that is only for "teachers" and I can't imagine people saying that someone couldn't join.
     
  7. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    There have been special treats for teachers only in both of my schools. Of course, it it was a food spread and someone wandered into the room we always welcome them. Not every teacher would eat, so it balanced out. If it was a special note pad in our mailboxes, they were just for teachers from maybe a local business for Teacher Appreciation Day. We alao have special recognition for administrators and office staff. No assistants, though. In general, though, I think there is respect all around.
     
  8. bridgetbordeaux

    bridgetbordeaux Companion

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    At our school, teachers and paras are respected equally. When students bring gifts for teachers, I have always gotten one even when I was a para. When there is a breakfast, or potluck lunch, paras are invited as well as the support staff. That is one of the reasons I like the school that I am subbing for, even subs get treated with respect and that doesn't happen everywhere!
     
  9. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    I don't see anything wrong with having an event for teachers only. In my school, there are certain functions that are only for staff, some only for administration, some only for teachers, and some for everyone.
     
  10. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

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    I see something wrong with telling someone (in the staff lounge) that something is for teacher's only, as if the presence of a non teacher would ruin their event. As far as having exclusive events, I like the way that my school does it. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, I'm just glad that I don't work at school that excludes anyone. :2cents:
     
  11. Shiloh17

    Shiloh17 Companion

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    Sorry to hear about this. You don't deserve that kind of treatment. I would speak with someone in charge of these functions. Do the other paras feel the same way? Keep plugging along...hang in there!
     
  12. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    That is beyond awful and not the case in my school at all! My school could not function without our paras and they lovingly deal with some of the most difficult students in our school and are always willing to help out however they can! I would bring it up with administration without naming names. Even Teacher Appreciation Week is called Staff Appreciation Week at my school and everyone is included, no matter what your title is. Any time we have treats, we always make sure the paras and subs know since they often leave for lunch and don't always have time to check their e-mails.
     
  13. Alizeh

    Alizeh Rookie

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    I'm sorry this is happening. :(

    In the school I student taught at, paras were treated very well and there wasn't much division between teachers and paras.
     
  14. Accountable

    Accountable Companion

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    Judging by this thread, elem paras are on equal footing with teachers, but the esteem seems to fade in the higher grades. We only have paras in special ed classrooms in our high school. Some teachers aren't even aware we have any. The dept, however, is a different story. We're a family and we take care of each other.
     
  15. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    I've never heard of anything like that and I've taught, subbed, or student taught in 5 different districts. The paras in my current school are highly respected. There is no distinction whatsoever in the treatment or level of respect.

    On a personal level, I actually refer to my paras as teachers. I had one student try to correct me once, but I asserted that if someone is in your school, helping you learn, that person is a teacher.
     
  16. Accountable

    Accountable Companion

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    Jun 6, 2013

    :thumb:
     
  17. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    Or it could be because they catered for the amount of teachers they knew would attend.

    So you're telling me that at your school, no one gets excluded from anything, ever? You get to attend everything that your administrators do?
     
  18. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    If you're catering for an event at lunch time when paras will be in the staff room as well, it is incredibly ignorant to only count the number of teachers, and not the other adults that will be in the staff room at that time. No excuses for that behaviour.
     
  19. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

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    Didn't seem like my posts were confusing, but sure I can restate it. My school does not have any functions that are exclusive to any staff members. There aren't any social/fun events for admin, they are simply part of staff potlucks, parties, BBQs, etc.

    If a certain amount was catered for a specific group, that's fine (a little rude in my opinion) but to expect other staff members to not enter the staff lounge because you don't want to share the food is rude. Maybe the OP wasn't going in there for their food, maybe she just wanted to eat her lunch in the lounge. It sounds rude to me.
     
  20. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    Now that that passive aggressive shot across the bow has been fired, let's return to the actual discussion.

    If, as you say, every single event in your school includes everyone in the building, I'd say your school is in the minority.

    I just don't see it as being rude to have a function specifically for one group. Pretty much every work environment I've ever been a part of has had functions for only certain departments, and I never felt like it was rude or ignorant or hurtful.

    Years ago, I worked in an office with college faculty. There would be times when there were little luncheons for faculty that the office staff didn't go to, and vice versa. Then there would be large functions we all would go to. I think that's fairly common.
     
  21. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I'm sorry as well that your school treats paras that way. Paras are always welcome to every one of our school events, and we frequently remind the PTSA and anyone organizing event to bring enough food for the paras as well.
     
  22. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    We have several paras in our building. Four are treated same as teachers, but two are not. Those two don't follow rules, their kids (personal)run all over the building, they take them into the lounge and let them go through teachers' boxes, they say things about the special needs kids, they sit in stands during music and PE classes, and dress unprofessional. They don't try to earn respect, so very few give it to them. I think when they first were hired,it was different. But as time has gone on, teachers are just frustrated with them. But they are still included in everything.
     
  23. toiatoi

    toiatoi Rookie

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    This is an old post, but I am sorry that this is happening! I actually went into my school with the mentality that this is the way things would be towards paras. I was pleasantly surprised. They have the children look at us as "Teachers" and any kind of appreciation the teachers get, everyone gets. That is the way it should be and I'm sorry that your school doesn't feel that way!
     
  24. teresaglass

    teresaglass Groupie

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    My school does not always respect paras. We have things for all staff. sometimes paras are left out. We often get yelled at by office staff unless we are friends with them. Most of the teachers treat us okay although there are a few that are snobbish.
     
  25. Cme10

    Cme10 Rookie

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    Even though this is old I felt like I needed to comment. Last year I was a paraprofessional in a high school. Originally I had applied to be a parapro in the ESE dept but got placed in the guidance office/data entry area instead. It turned out very well for me but there were a few hiccups. I got called to substitute classes every day for at least one class. It made getting my filing assignments very hard to do. The office began to not depend on me for things because they never knew when I would be there and when I would be in a classroom.

    As far as respect goes...I'd say it definitely depends on the school but I have seen a lot of clique-ish behavior and nastiness in high schools and upper grades. Maybe that is because teachers are insecure at certain levels and are frightened of anyone doing something better than them, or even doing something wrong or against how they want things done. Whatever the reason I don't condone nastiness and disrespect in the workplace even if I were just a janitor. Does not matter.

    Now working in the guidance office, we had our own little set up so that for holidays and birthdays everyone in the office would bring something and we would munch all day, JUST guidance. Every department took care of their own. Even the janitorial staff had after school little potlucks. Is it clique behavior? For the most part. No one wanted to deviate from their particular group. Admin would order lunch and not bother to include us. But when one teacher found out we were having a celebration we caught a lot of flack. So next holiday I made sure everyone was invited and we had TONS of food. I personally went to everyone and invited them to take a plate as I passed them in the hallway. Admin decided not to partake and that is fine. Their choice and their opportunity missed. I know not everyone can partake in every single potluck, celebration, ect.

    I do find it rude to so blatantly come right out and say, "Teachers only" but I understand if everyone only made so much. I was lucky at my school, most people liked me and invited me to everything and when my P bought breakfast or lunch he ordered A LOT. (probably knew that every teacher and parapro on their budget was starving :lol:)

    But I have seen a trend of, "Go do it, shut up, keep away, you're not WITH US, ect." its sad, but if you are lucky you make one or two good friends and let everyone else act like the students.
     
  26. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    At my school, it's the opposite. Everyone comes over for treats during Teacher Appreciation Week, but a teacher had better not dare touch anything on Secretary Appreciation.

    We have one para. He's amazing, and everyone loves him. I actually thought he was a full teacher the first two years I was at my school - he's included in everything and respected. The attitude at your school is not indicative of everywhere.
     
  27. RedStripey

    RedStripey Comrade

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    I've only been at my job for 2 weeks so I could be wrong, but so far it doesn't seem like teachers and paras are on equal footing :( I love the kids though.
     
  28. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    What would "equal footing" look like to you?
     
  29. teresaglass

    teresaglass Groupie

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    EQUAL FOOTING MEANS RESPECT FOR EVERYONE AND THE JOBS THEY DO.
     
  30. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    OKAY. Sheesh.

    Equal footing seems an odd way to express that which is why I asked. Equal footing could be considered to mean more than respect.
     
  31. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    Exactly. Respect is not the same thing as "equal footing."
     
  32. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    When I was an parapro at a middle school, we were all treated like 'teachers' and were included in anything the teachers were doing/receiving.
     
  33. kitteh

    kitteh Rookie

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    I'm currently a para in a bilingual position working with English Language Learners at the middle school level, and I definitely feel that I'm respected and given plenty of responsibility and autonomy within my position. I previously worked at an elementary school within the same district, as a para within a Kindergarten classroom, and while I wasn't given as much responsibility, I was definitely treated with the same respect. All Teacher Appreciation functions included the paras, and we were given gifts from the students as often as the teachers were. The local restaurants included us in their Teacher Appreciation nights as well.

    As far as being on equal footing with teachers, I would only expect to be treated that way if I had previously been a teacher, or if I had the certification and experience necessary to do that job. As it is, I'm not currently credentialed, I don't make lesson plans for the whole year, nor is my job security tied to student performance or test scores, etc. So until I have the same level of accountability and responsibility as a teacher, I don't expect to be "on equal footing" with one. That doesn't mean I'm not respected and valued for the job that I do.
     
  34. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    :thumb:
     
  35. Snowdyn

    Snowdyn New Member

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    There would be times when there were little luncheons for faculty that the office staff didn't go to, and vice versa. Then there would be large functions we all would go to. I think that's fairly common.[/QUOTE]


    True, many places of business have small celebrations/appreciation days for separate groups, and that is just fine. However, the original poster had two problems that I see. First is that (apparently) there were ONLY events for teachers. I'm assuming from her post that there were no equivalent para appreciation breakfasts from which teachers could be excluded. This is a problem stemming from whoever it is arranging for the pizza, breakfasts, etc.

    The second problem is the attitude of the teachers. If, for instance, the sales department at a car lot had an appreciation breakfast, and one of the accountants wandered in, the polite thing to do would be say, "Marsha! Our team is celebrating a great sales month! Would you like a slice of pizza?" It is simple courtesy, and it builds the team across the whole of the organization. In the case of our poster and the teachers, I'm sure head count was NOT the real issue. Caterers plan for a bit more, and there are ALWAYS teachers who don't partake. And even if headcount truly was the issue, the polite thing to do is for the folks there to make it work. Give up your second piece of pizza and invite people in.
     

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