Vent...

Discussion in 'Paraprofessionals' started by RedStripey, Oct 21, 2014.

  1. RedStripey

    RedStripey Comrade

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    Oct 21, 2014

    I'm a certified teacher who has been working as a para for the last two school years since I can't find a teaching job. I do what I am supposed to do, even go above and beyond, and never complain about my duties or any extra things that I have to do. For the most part, I like my current job. I am with one class for most of the day (minus lunch duty...more on that later) and I love the teacher that I work with. She is so kind and treats me as an equal. She lets me have some instructional time with the students as well. The kids in the class that I am assigned to are wonderful as well. Also since I'm certified, I can cover for the teacher I'm with or other teachers for a full day. Every time I've done that I have received compliments from the principal or teachers.

    So those are positive things that I am thankful for all the time.
    However...I absolutely hate being a "teacher as a para". I hate how some other teachers act towards paras as if we are "beneath" them. We all have the same/similar certifications so it's not like I'm a moron (not saying that paras without a cert should be treated like such). Some parents act this way too. They'll come to the class, say hi to the teacher and walk right past me as if I don't exist. I also hate when I have to go to related arts classes and the teachers sit there and do nothing so the kids are running wild. I used to try to redirect them but it's hard redirecting 20+ kids when they have no structure! And 9 times out of 10, the teachers got annoyed with me so I stopped doing it. It frustrates me because those people have a job and I don't. Lastly, I hate doing lunch duty. I have a different grade for lunch duty than the one I am in class with and the kids are so nasty. If the other assistants or myself ask them to do something/to stop doing something, they either talk back to us, laugh in our faces, or stop for one second and start acting up again. We are consistent and follow through with the minimal cafeteria consequences but they don't care. They only behave if their teachers or the principal are there and it makes us look bad. :dizzy:

    I'm not looking for any advice. I just needed to vent since I feel frustrated and sad. I'm wondering how long it will take until I finally get a job. I know I have to keep focusing on the good parts of my job, and that I have to keep going "above and beyond" my job description. I know I will someday be a good teacher. I just hate not knowing when that will actually happen and it is taxing, being treated with such disrespect from people who think you're beneath them. Paras are an integral part of students' education too. :(
     
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  3. vateacher757

    vateacher757 Cohort

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    Oct 24, 2014

    I feel you.......I just vented in another thread......I am a para in an inclusion setting and technically my job is to assist the sped student access the gen ed currciulum but i feel like I am serving as the classroom manager....like you said "the kids are running wild. I used to try to redirect them but it's hard redirecting 20+ kids when they have no structure!" - how am I to control the room when you don't have structure or enforce any of the "rules" you mentioned on the first day like no eating and no phones.

    :banghead:
     
  4. DressageLady

    DressageLady Comrade

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    Nov 8, 2014

    Man, the OP could have been written by me last year! I took a part-time para position because I couldn't get hired as a teacher. I took the job as a commitment to staying for the entire 2013-2014 school year, but with the clearly stated goal that I would use it as a way to apply as an internal applicant for certified positions once hiring season rolled around. At the end of the year, the district changed their policy and barred para-professionals from applying for certified positions as internal applicants, so it ended up being a wash for me.

    I was with one teacher for the whole year. Like you, OP, she allowed me to instruct small groups. I was able to sub for her or any other teacher, too, but I never did because I would have been required to do the sub work AND my para duties (lunch duty included) and I wasn't interested in doing that.

    Even though I got to plan and implement my own small group instruction, most of my duties were boring. I spent a lot of time cutting things out, making copies and grading papers. There were no full time paras at this school, and we were not welcome at staff meetings and we were not involved in discussing or planning staff "social" activities (think the monthly pot lucks in the lounge-we were required to bring a dish, but had no voice in deciding what that would be). Out of the twelve paras on staff, nine of us were under-employed, certified teachers.

    There were many instances of joy during my year there. Working with the students, and seeing the growth they made was fabulous. The kids were great. My teacher could be difficult, but she was (and still is) a phenomenal teacher and I learned a lot working for her. I took the work seriously.

    But there is no getting around the fact that for those of us who want to be teachers, and who are just as qualified to teach as those teachers we are working for, it kind of stinks. We get the work they don't want to do. The stacks of weekly spelling packets that take hours to grade? The daily math homework, complete with rude notes from parents? The tricky laminating machine and clear instructions to NEVER, EVER bring back a laminated piece with a ripple in the plastic? None of that is as sexy as the fifth grade history presentation or the Halloween party (complete with dry ice punch bowl display), but just as necessary to a well run classroom.

    OP, be proud of your work! A good para is the (often) unsung hero of the classroom. And keep applying for teaching positions.
    Sheilah
     
  5. justwanttoteach

    justwanttoteach Cohort

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    Jan 3, 2015

    Let this be a lesson for how you will treat the paras when you have your own class. I spent 7years working as an instructional assistant in an SDC class for high school. Out of a 7hour day 4.5hours where spent in a tiny bathroom lifting students in and out wheelchairs, changing soiled diapers and clothes. I am now a teacher. I have said it once and I will say it again para professionals often work as hard..if not harder than teachers. They are often times the most under appreciated group on campus. The seven years I spent as an aide where by far the most challenging and frustrating time in my career. Now that I am teaching and I have aide it has been a huge adjustment. I totally get what you mean. Working as an aide is rough, especially when you are as qualified as your boss. In my class I have an aide, and for a long time it was hard for me to give her things to do...because I didn't ever want her to feel how I felt as an aide. I don't wish that on anyone. I am sorry you are going through this. Know that this will be great expirence for your teaching down the line. Allow me to say what other teachers should be telling you now. THANK YOU. thank you for your work, for redirecting behavior, doing things even when you may. To agree, for supporting me and backing me up. thank you for all your help! Bottom line, without your help...I don't have a class. Thanks. I wish your teachers actually told you this...but know from a former aide now working as a teacher please believe you are valued and you are noticed. Teachers may not say it as much as we should but we notice and thank you.

    Have you considered talking to supervisors and explaining how you feel??
     
  6. RedStripey

    RedStripey Comrade

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    Feb 8, 2015

    Sorry for responding months later (between my 2 jobs and school I rarely have time to come on here anymore) but THANK YOU for all of your kind responses. I will always be kind to any paras that I have in the future (which is more likely to happen now since I am working on my SPED certification).

    I would talk to the principal but he's just as bad. On Friday he walked right past me to ask the teacher I work with if I could do something. Didn't say a word to me! Thankfully the teacher who I work with is always kind and thanks me but the other aspects really haven't changed or gotten any better. Oh well, I don't really care any more because I just found out I secured a maternity leave teaching position for the rest of the school year! :)
     
  7. burgandy01

    burgandy01 Rookie

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    Aug 12, 2015

    I also am certified to teach and your post is soooo spot on!
     

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