What are all the things that aides/paras/assistants do at your school?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Caesar753, Jun 18, 2011.

  1. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jun 18, 2011

    If your school has aides, paras, and/or assistants, can you post a list of all the different things they do?
     
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  3. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    Our 2 17 hour paras file IEP paperwork, set up the IEP meetings (if we don't have time to do it ourselves) go into the Biology class (full inclusion school) and during a study skill class (sped teacher in room) reteach the biology material and help the students with homework. They also help read test to students. They do a lot.
     
  4. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    They are only allowed to work with students, this can be 1-1, small group, etc. They are only to reteach material or review material.

    They also read aloud to different groups of students and monitor the lunch room.

    Many times they end up making bulletin boards or copies, but it is a big no-no in the eyes of the administration.
     
  5. pete2770

    pete2770 Comrade

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    There are so many different para positions in my school, there's no way I could touch on them all.

    -Work with students that require 1 on 1 all day (usually one para in the morning, and another in the afternoon to prevent burnout
    -Monitors (hall, lunch, outside, in-school suspension)
    -Vans (One drives and the other helps; it's for severe SPED students that can't ride the SPED bus or have specific needs)
    -Take notes for students
    -Re-teach or guide students through assignments (under teacher supervision)
    -Majority of RTI/title work under guide of the teacher
    -Frowned upon, but personal chores for the teacher (copies, organizing, and REALLY frowned upon: simple grading (ie multiple choice sort))
    -A para is even first contact for discipline before the Dean of Students (obviously not super serious issues, simple things that follow basic guidelines)

    Probably a lot more that I'm missing.
     
  6. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    We only have para-educators for the special education students who require one-on-one assistance. They are typically in a self-contained room with the teacher and students all day.
     
  7. janney

    janney Cohort

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    Cover classes, make copies, pull outs for RTI, bus arrival and dismissal, security desk, monitor lunch and breakfast...our paras are pretty awesome.
     
  8. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    I don't have one come to my class at all. :(
    They mostly stay with the primary grades.
     
  9. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Seems like a whole lot of nothing sometimes. :whistle:
     
  10. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    I was a para once and we did the work the teachers wanted us to do when we would be in their classrooms. Some teachers didn't have anything prepared for us and it was annoying just to sit there and do nothing.
     
  11. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Jun 18, 2011

    We only have a few in the entire school, but our assistants are for special education students. They generally help during class and will sometimes pull out small groups for tests. I believe there may be some morning and afternoon duties scheduled as well.
     
  12. MandaNicole01

    MandaNicole01 Habitué

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    We only have aides for kinder and preschool classes at my school. They cut out items for lessons, decorate bulletin boards, prepare materials, run papers, zip pants, tie shoes, read stories, lead students from room to room, lunch duty, clean messes, wash tables, toys, chairs, stack chairs, read/work one-on-one with students, etc.

    My aide was great...she retired...I hope I get a good one this year! Good/hard workers are hard to find these days!
     
  13. Go 4th

    Go 4th Habitué

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    Our K para's vary in duty by class. One teacher has the para working with students and doing everything possible. Another uses her for filing, copies, errands, etc. I think it depends on their relationship with one another.

    Our sped paras going into classrooms as part of co teaching and assist students. Sometimes they pull the kiddos out for extra help if and when needed.
     
  14. Go 4th

    Go 4th Habitué

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    Oops--I forgot--all paras cover all morning and afternoon duties like busses, car riders, etc. They also do lunch duties. Sometimes they fill in for an emergency situation.
     
  15. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Bus Duty
    Recess Duty
    Lunch Duty (once a week as the same as all staff)
    Work with Students in Centers
    Create Weekly Newsletters (only because my teacher and I both agreed to that, not typical in my school culture)
    1-to-1 intervention or support
    Classroom Management Support
    Sub (sometimes we became the lead sub on days of absence, sometimes we just provide support)
    Lead Lessons (so the teacher can assess, provide intervention, go to meetings, etc.)
    Copies
    Bulletin Boards, etc.
    Give feedback on student observations, planning for events and anything else the teacher might want more than one opinion for (depends on the teacher's style)
    Help support and set up any centers, lessons, events, etc.
    Clean up from any centers, lessons, events, etc.

    As a para that went from that to teacher, I found that I have done just about all of it in smaller portions except IEPs, weekly lesson plans (though I did create and lead some lessons), and other paperwork. I also found myself going to a lot more meetings. :whistle: I've assisted with report card comments, parent meetings (with supervision), emails (with supervision), designed classroom management support, created behavioral goals, attended staffing, and a whole host of other things as a para. The main thing is that I didn't have the burden of meeting the curriculum, etc. That's why everything I did came with supervision and approval.

    Once I taught a workshop where I got this list of duties from a training manual from the National Resource Center for Paraprofessionals. The list was asking participants to check which ones they thought paras could do and which duties they thought were for teachers only. It does not give the answers. I presented this at a workshop with mixed staff including an assistant principal. They were asked to work in mixed groups from various departments. At the end I had a wide variety of answers. Out of 23 items, one group only checked 3 items as things para can do. Another group selected 20 items! Most were in between. The point is that it depends a lot on your school culture what is allowable for paras to do. Other than some legalities and ethical issues, most is not standardized. I TRIED to find standardized roles, and I found so many variations. Somewhere in my mess of things, I do have common areas, but the actual duties is up to interpretation. One has to not only look at the culture of their school but also the training and knowledge base of the paras themselves. In one school all the paras had bachelors and masters degrees. Often this is not the case. At the end of the day, the classroom teacher is responsible for everything that happens in the classroom so with that in mind, duties should reflect the comfort level of the teacher, the para, based on the para's skill and any expectations set forth by your individual school.

    The best advice I found that I found in multiple places as I was preparing for this workshop is to have an orientation with the para at the beginning of the year. There are some things the teacher needs to ensure the program runs effectively. The rest can be designed based on the strengths and weakness and interests of the aide. Having said that, that doesn't mean that the aide should not do whatever the teacher requests them to do within the guidelines of their job description. These are IDEAL guidelines, but I do recognize that not every pool comes with candidates that can live up to these approaches in a self initiative manner.

    Another handy thing would be to ask the office for a job description. Ours had a lot of potential duties spelled out.
     
  16. SpecSub

    SpecSub Comrade

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    Jun 19, 2011

    Run daily academic interventions, provide small group instruction or whole group support (full inclusion school), implement testing and instructional accommodations, make copies, laminate things, and cover one duty per day, e.g. lunch, breakfast, dismissal. Also pulled from regular duties to cover classes when a substiture can't be found.
     
  17. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    I've had really great ones and then some pretty awful ones. My current one & I are not the best match.

    At my school paras are in kindergarten only. They: are to go with the students to all specials, takes them to lunch/recess and assist with title 1 students.
     
  18. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    I had 1 para get upset with me because I wouldn't let her grade or assess the kids. I was taught that that was the teacher's responsibility, not the paras. I want my para working with the kids, not grading papers or running copies, although they will if I'm short a copy or I'm in a bind.
     
  19. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    The thing about my school is there are varying degrees of capabilities among teacher assistants.

    Some of them are more like baby-sitters, and some are practically teachers. We have had TAs who have the degrees in teaching, and we have had TAs who are in school for education. Some of our TAs have no educational background, and only have a HS diploma.

    My TA for the last several years had a BA in Education, and then a MBA from an Ivy League school. She was an Aid because she loved the school (her kids attended) and she wanted to work short hours. Now I am going to have a TA who has no degree, and honestly, is unable to do any instruction with the kids. (I worked with her previous to my other one.)

    Our P is very hesitant to lay off aids, because many of them started out doing lunch supervision, and have been at our school for 15 years or more! However, when the position changed from simply doing lunch supervision to being a teacher's assistant, many were not qualified to do that kind of work. It really limits the kinds of things I can do in my classroom when my assistant can't do small instructional groups or assist in classroom management.

    I will probably have her make all my A-Z reading books, and do copying and cleaning. It's such a disappointment to me, because a lot of the great work I have done in recent years was due to my assistant, who could do small groups for guided math and whatnot.

    I don't have high hopes that I can "train" my new assistant. I worked with her for a few years before, and I didn't actually even want her to do the read aloud, because she wouldn't redirect kids when they lost focus, and couldn't figure out when to stop and discuss. I even made questions to have her ask, and it still didn't work.

    Most classes has a half-day assistant. They are supposed to supervise recess and lunch, and then also assist the teacher during our math and literacy blocks. (Or whatever else the teacher schedules.)

    We do not have extra assistant time for kids with special needs or anything. This is a private school.
     
  20. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    The only teachers in my district who receive an aide/paraprofessional are those who do NOT speak Spanish or Hmong. Thus, all parapros MUST speak either Spanish or Hmong (and English, of course).

    Unfortunately, since I speak Spanish, I have never had an aide.
     
  21. pete2770

    pete2770 Comrade

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    I think that's the first time I've ever heard unfortunately and I speak a second language in the same sentence! ;)

    I understand your reason though.
     
  22. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Wow, the paras need to be bilingual. That's more than we require of ours!
     
  23. LUCHopefulTeach

    LUCHopefulTeach Habitué

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    It really varies by district, school, and classroom teacher. I think it really depends on the needs of the school.

    Around me, schools only have aides for 2 reasons: a) It's a special education classroom b) Classroom size is over the maximum in the teacher's contract so the school legally had to provide them with an aide.

    I've known aides/paraprofessionals who do nothing all day just like I've known aides/paraprofessionals who do almost all the work of the classroom teacher...
     
  24. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Most districts I know of (all in CA) only have paras for SpEd and bilingual paras. Paras in Kinder are extremely rare - I don't know of any districts that have them.

    The school I student taught in had RSP aides and bilingual aides. They used both push-in and pull-out models, depending on the situation and the kid. We had a beginning EL in 6th grade, and she left the room to work with a bilingual aide for about an hour a day. There was an RSP aide who came in during math and took all the RSP kids to the back table to give them extra help. Also, the RSP kids would leave the room and work with the RSP teacher and aides at times during the day. They all seemed to work hard.

    My mom had an aide for the last few years for about 50% of the day because she teaches a 4th grade intervention class (kids who read at least 2 years below grade level, usually more), and many of her kids are on IEPs for learning disabilities. Her aide is AMAZING. She works with small groups, mostly. My mom absolutely loves her and says she couldn't do what she does without her aide!
     
  25. soleil00

    soleil00 Comrade

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    In my school they do everything. I mean, really, the teachers do very little outside of actually teaching the lessons here.

    The Aides:
    Have cafeteria duty, breakfast and lunch
    Have recess duty, taking kids in and out
    Make copies for the teachers
    Decorate the halls/doors
    Teach lessons (not all but some teachers have them do small group lessons)
    Have bus duty, morning and afternoon
    Run general errands to the office
    Take kids to the nurse (Pre-K to 1st grade school)
    Monitor the computer lab

    On top of having 2 classes to deal with, since we are short on funding to hire more we just "share" aides between two classes.

    I think that's all.... lol like I said, that's a lot more than what the teachers do.
     
  26. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    We have aides to help with spec. needs kids in regular classes - usually not LA and Math were the resource teacher co-teaches. They also may work 1:1 with high needs students in the contained classroom. Help monitor halls during switches and morning hall duty.
     
  27. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    All of our aides have to be bilingual too but we are a deaf school so all of our staff have to be bilingual. Some positions are allowed to be hired without knowing how to sign but must immediately take classes (which we provide). Those working directly with students, however, need to come in with a great deal of fluency. We even offer sign classes for bus drivers (which each district provides their own, so they aren't under our contract).
     
  28. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Every two classes have a para?! :eek:Wow. Almost all the stuff on your lists (minus breakfast and lunch duty) are things the teachers do in schools I have experience with.

    But still...please realize that teachers do a LOT more than just teach lessons. There is a lot of planning, prep, and paperwork (grading, etc) involved that goes on behind the scenes. For example, although my mom's aide works very hard while she's at work, she does not have to take work home with her - my mom has many, many hours of work outside of school hours each week. Sorry, just my :2cents: ...it makes me uncomfortable to hear someone say that paras do more than the teachers do. :(
     
  29. soleil00

    soleil00 Comrade

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    They do in fact, each class gets the aide for the equivalent of half a school day (they trade off an on).

    Well, in my school..... they didn't do any of that during my student teaching semester. The teacher I was with didn't plan (they do a co-op and she let the others do it for her), she would delegate the prep work to the aide and if not she would do it the morning of the lesson--never in advance, and never took paperwork home. The teacher we "shared aides with" (what they called it..) did the same. I can pretty much say that the teachers I were around did little to nothing. The aides really do a lot more than the teachers I was around, unfortunately and they made a lot less money.

    I know in other schools (and with other teachers) they actually do most of the planning, prep work, and all that but not these teachers :unsure:
     
  30. karebear76

    karebear76 Habitué

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    Previously, our paras/aides had many responsibilities:
    * 1:1s with special needs students
    * kindergarten shared one aide
    * library staffed by an aide
    * detention monitor was an aide (also did breakfast duty)
    * attendance secretary was an aide
    * one of the 1:1s was homework help center monitor
    * sub classes (particularly when a teacher took 1/4th of a day)
    * proctor state test groups
    * inclusion (1:1s while their student was in that class)
    * of the above, they were responsible for different cafeteria duties or recess, as well. None of them were assigned to a classroom. Any aide in a classroom was a 1:1. Possibly more jobs that I'm forgetting or unaware of (such as the aide that washes sports jerseys...just found out about that during our budget cut discussions)

    For the next school year, we have lost all aide positions other than the 1:1s. Not sure how things will work out without someone in library full time, detention, attendance, or kindergarten.
     
  31. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Wow...you certainly had a different experience! :( Maybe those teachers will eventually move to my area and have to learn to function without any aides - doing everything themselves! :lol:
     
  32. sewlo

    sewlo Rookie

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    I'm an "IA" and last year I TAUGHT six classes a day, all day. I was a member of the specials rotation.

    Now, I am technically a licensed teacher (and looking for a full-time position) but I'm not quite sure how that was legal for me.
     
  33. pete2770

    pete2770 Comrade

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    Well, without knowing specifics, I think anyone can temporarily teach anything, especially in rural schools.

    But that does seem like a lot of classes, and I doubt it could be long term.
     
  34. karebear76

    karebear76 Habitué

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    We've had an aide 'teaching' library for the past 3-4 years. We also have aides teach a period or two of computer lab for entire grading periods, b/c of the teacher's schedule.
     
  35. Lindager

    Lindager Companion

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    In our schools all aides have been cut to part time so they are not able to get benifits. Aides are not allowed to teach classes. All of our aides are 1 on 1 or can be assigned to up to 3 students. They usually stay with one student while they are there.

    We also have basic skills teachers who pull some kids out for lessons but they are certified teachers. For in class support we also have certified teachers and they can also teach or co-teach.

    I have been an aide and the things we did ranged from monitoring outside locker room during gym changing to correcting test with an answer key. The best aides take notes write up study guides make sure student has all assignments written down, make sure student takes all required text/notebooks home. Remove autistic or sensitive students from tense situations, make copies, do bulletin boards, lunch duty. Just about anything the teacher ask besides teach a lesson. Our aides are the most underpaid and under appreciated workers in the school

    My son has had some amazing aides who could make him do great work and some uninvolved aides who got nothing out of him.

    NJ is VERY good at least around my area, with sp. Ed and assistance to make inclusion work as much as possible. In other states I have heard of teachers being told don't even think about suggesting an aide in an IEP they will not be funded.
     
  36. sewlo

    sewlo Rookie

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    As far as I know, the district has no plans to replace the IA in the Computer Lab with a teacher. They claim it's OK because the teachers provide lessons, but last year I was rarely provided lessons and essentially created the entire curriculum by myself.

    It was great practice for me in my first year out of grad school and I learned A LOT. But most of the teachers and other aides continually told me they wouldn't be able to do what I did all day (ha, I was barely able to sometimes :) )

    I just thought it was a lot to ask of an aide to manage a classroom, develop lessons and implement them, and teach all day ... up to 35 students at a time with no other aide.
     

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