Terrible para situation: Part 2

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by Preschool0929, Sep 13, 2014.

  1. Preschool0929

    Preschool0929 Cohort

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    Sep 13, 2014

    So I posted before school started that I am at a new school this year, and had met the teacher of my class from last year at a PD that told me horror stories about the para and basically how she had ran the teacher out of the building. School has been in for about 3 weeks now, and while there has been the occasional eye-roll and mumbling under her breath at me, it's been workable and we've tolerated each other. That was until yesterday, on a teacher work day, when I decided to ask her how she thought everything was going and if there was any part of scheduling that needed to be adjusted. I have a specialized class of students with social delays/behavior issues, so it's been a pretty hectic and stressful year, kid-wise, so far. All of a sudden, she starts going off about how she hates how much structure I have in the classroom. She hates that I make the students do "work" (play in literacy/math centers), walk in line down the hall way, wait their turn in line to wash hands, get a drink, etc., and that I don't pick up our students while they are having tantrums to give them extra love. She said that I'm not giving them enough room to just "run wild and make messes" and that they will go to kindergarten not knowing how to do anything.

    I was so floored and went to my mentor to get her opinion. We ended up in a "mediation" session with the spec. ed. director and spent the rest of the day not talking to each other. Now I have to go back in on monday and work with this person who has said that she hates how I run the entire classroom.

    I hate the thought of working with her, but I know I have to get through the school year. Any advice?
     
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  3. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Sep 13, 2014

    I would go back on Mon, continue running your class the way you have been (you ARE getting them ready for Kindergarten with your procedures) and treat your para with respect like you have been.

    You may want to draw up a list of procedures and expectations for her to use in performing her duties.

    ...and THEN, document everything she does that is detrimental to the classroom.
     
  4. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Sep 13, 2014

    Be the teacher, which means the one who rules the roost. She doesn't have to like that you are getting them ready for school, but she does have to recognize you were hired to do a specific job, which it sounds like you are doing. I would verify that administration wants these things that she hates, and never look back. You have them a limited number of hours a day - they can run wild at home, if parents allow! I wouldn't be too surprised if the parents are in awe that you are able to elicit the behaviors para hates. Find out where you stand with the powers that be, and then run your class they way they want it run.
     
  5. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Sep 13, 2014

    Sorry. I have a lot of issues with my para as well. I've asked my principal if she could be moved. She said she'd "try" but it didn't happen. :(

    Anyway, put on your happy face and don't let it get to you. At the end of the day, you are in charge of the classroom so it really doesn't mean diddly if she approves of you or not. Don't let it intimidate you, and just do what you feel is best for your students.
     
  6. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    Sep 13, 2014

    I have two T.A.'s. One is beyond phenomenal. The other is a busy body who stays in the office telling everything that happens in our classroom. She continues to tell me everything that the teacher last year did. I haven't had the heart yet to tell her that the teacher from last year had a terrible reputation for letting the kids do nothing all day. I also don't have the heart to tell her that the teacher from last year disliked her terribly, and told me to keep documentation to get her fired.

    Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING I have done this year has gotten this response, "Well, it sure is going to take them a while to get used to you!" I just give her a blank stare until she looks away. I think I freak her out. HA HA!!!

    The principal is not helping by listening to her constant gossiping/sharing about our class. If I were the principal, I'd say, "Why are you in the office, and NOT in your classroom?" But, that's probably why I'd never make it as principal.

    Good luck with your situation. Working with TA's is the hardest part most of the time.:wub:
     
  7. ca_sped

    ca_sped Rookie

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    Sep 13, 2014

    I had a similar relationship with my para at the beginning of the year last year. However, when she saw that the students were learning and how much they were accomplishing, she turned around and got on my side. It was a rocky start, but just keep doing all the right things. It's all about what's best for the students, not what's best for the para, and *you* know what's best for the students.:thumb:
     
  8. Preschool0929

    Preschool0929 Cohort

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    Sep 14, 2014

    Thanks everyone. It does seem like the admin supports me. It's just really frustrating, especially since one of the complaints that she had about the teacher last year was that she didn't have enough structure, and now she's complaining that I have too much structure. Plus, it's only my 3rd year teaching, so I know I still have a lot to learn. It's hard to feel like someone is questioning every move I make, when I'm constantly questioning myself as well.

    Sigh....my stomach is in knots over going in tomorrow.
     
  9. LisaLisa

    LisaLisa Companion

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    Sep 14, 2014

    I don't ask that type of question. It's open ended and if you don't have a good relationship or they are already critical it opens to the door to additional negativity and a transfer of power.

    It is your classroom. You basically gave the para permission to criticize you and your classroom when you asked that question.

    I ask things like, "What did you like best about ____________." or "What is one thing you'd like to see added to our routine."

    I've had paras that did not want to give their opinion at all. These types of questions are easier to answer and less likely to turn into opportunities for power shifting and excessive criticism.
     
  10. Preschool0929

    Preschool0929 Cohort

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    Sep 14, 2014

    I agree. I shouldn't have asked the question to begin with. I guess in the past I've had great paras who, when I ask how they think things are going, provide great feedback for how a certain strategy is working with a certain student or how a certain lesson went. I've never had a para critique my teaching or classroom management. But I guess that teaches me to ask questions like that from now on :)
     
  11. keylime3.14

    keylime3.14 Rookie

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    Sep 29, 2014

    I have two paras, and I've learned that I can't ask one of them that question either. We've had several "discussions" in the past, so I can relate to not wanting to go to school to face her again. But I agree with what everyone else is saying - it sounds like you are doing a good job. Go back to school, make sure the expectations are clear, and carry on. Document anything that the para does that is counterproductive, but just sit on that documentation unless you need it for something. It is your classroom, and maybe if you keep doing a great job and she hates it that much, you'll drive HER out!
     
  12. Teachwrite!

    Teachwrite! Rookie

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    Oct 3, 2014

    I understand!

    I totally understand. How do paras get so much power? (See my post about paraprofessionals angry?) You obviously know what you are doing and she does not. Maybe that is threatening to her. Have faith in yourself and don't feel guilty about doing what you know is right. These children will so much more successful next year with more structure. They can be wild at home. School is school.

    I think that some long-term paras get really possessive with their roles and feel threatened, so they make a pre-emptive strike. Maybe her job is her identity and she just might need some validation. Don't be afraid of her, though. You are right and you have every right to feel confident in your teaching.

    Best of luck!
     

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