Working w/ Your Paraprofessional?

Discussion in 'Special Education Archives' started by Ms. I, Aug 9, 2006.

  1. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Aug 9, 2006

    I'm a newly hired RSP teacher. I'd appreciate your replies to as many of these questions as possible as well as any other info you can give. Regarding working w/ your paras:

    - What would be some good questions to ask him/her since I'm the new teacher coming on board?

    -How do you start off on the right foot & portray that you look forward to having a positive & successful working relationship w/ your para?

    - What schedule do you have worked out regarding the two of you working w/ the students? For example, does your para work w/ certain grps & you work w/ others for a few mos., then switch so all students have a chance to work w/ both of you?

    - How do you handle it if your para shows resentment, especially since you're his/her new (younger) boss & they have been working there for a while?
     
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  3. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Aug 9, 2006

    Ms. I

    Congrats again on your new position. I just wanted to say that the most important thing to remember when working with a para is to use them effectively. Ask for their input and suggestions and recongnize them. Paras are not there just to do paperwork and make copies. At least that's my opinion.
    Ask your para what type of experience they have had working with the population. What grade levels they enjoy? What are their strengths and weaknesses ( as teachers we are always getting asked that question.... so why not ask it yourself). Ask them what they see themselves doing in the classroom this year. This way you are both clear on expectations.
    Wish I could be of more help.
     
  4. bcblue

    bcblue Comrade

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    Aug 9, 2006

    I would add--establish and keep open clear lines of communication. You might want to set up a time to regularly meet with them--5 minutes before school, or after school, or 10 minutes once a week, or something that works for all of you. Let them know your goals as you go along. I look at my paras as extra hands and eyes and ears. I never ask them to do anything I'm not willing to do myself and don't sometimes do myself. I do rotate, but more often than every few months. We do center-style activities in small groups, so that my paras and I will rotate between the kids and see all the kids in 15-20 minute chunks of time. A coworker does it by the day--she and her paras are assigned to certain students each day, so they'll know that, say, I work with Susan and Anthony on Mondays.
     
  5. wifemomteach06

    wifemomteach06 Companion

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    Aug 9, 2006

    I am going to be a 1:1 aide this year. I took the opportunity today to meet with my general education teacher and find out how she runs her classroom, discipline, etc. I told her that it was important for me to know this stuff now, because once the year starts, we will both be very busy. I have a lot of people that I must report too, so I want to be sure that everyone knows that I am open and available to help, even if I am just the para. My impression of the classes is everyone is very supportive of one another, and are considered equals, no matter what there job description says. I really felt comfortable there today. My g.e. teacher has not had a student with multiple disablities before, but she says "well, we'll just muddle through it together". She was on edge about the medical issues, and was very relieved to know that I am a nurse. Okay, enough babbling. I enjoy these threads, gives me ideas on how not to be!
     
  6. Alitig1

    Alitig1 Rookie

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    Aug 10, 2006

    Don't know the ages of your students, but a big thing with me is going to be my showing my aide(s) how willing I am to share in the dirty work so she/they don't always get stuck with it. I was the aide last year and I remember how I felt when the teacher said she would change the poopy diaper so I could keep working with a student instead of just assuming I would stop what I was doing to go change a diaper.

    I also will expect my aide to sweep up any sensory materials that come out of the table so the custodians won't get mad, but I will also take part in cleaning and feeding and the other tasks that seem to fall to aides.

    I am younger that my aide(s) and this is my frst year teaching so I will makse sure I start off from a position of mutual respect and open communications with a few set jobs so there is a flow in the classroom.
     
  7. JessCentral28

    JessCentral28 Rookie

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    Aug 10, 2006

    I think a huge part is to give your paras ownership in the classroom. I am planning on asking what groups (Sensory, Fine Motor, Music, etc.) they might prefer to work with. I also would like to ask them how they feel about a rotation. I think it's VERY important to seek para input. My Cooperating Teacher for Student Teaching had two paras, and they all had their own areas of the room and own planning and responsibilities- they felt ownership in that classroom and loved it. I realize that not all individuals want that much responsibility, but I plan on seeing what my new paras are comfortable with.
     
  8. LouiseB

    LouiseB Cohort

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    Aug 10, 2006

    Last year at my Sped job, I was new but my paras had been there for 25 years and 11 years. They got along really well together and that helped a lot. I basically came in and told them we would try to do things the way it was done before and asked them to tell me about it. We all agreed to do so and I told them that if something didn't seem to click, then we would change it. I also told them that I wanted us to be a team in this room. We were a united front. I would back them up and if I disagreed, i would talk to them privately. Ultimately I had the final say-so but I tried not to use that too much. It was important that they have a say in things too. I tried to incorporate a lot of their ideas too and they were very receptive to my ideas. (This is 6-12 grades). I had a 6th grader ask one time (in middle of year) which teacher really was the one in charge in here (room)? I took that as a positive and that we really did work as a team. When I was student teaching a long time ago, the teacher I was under told me that having a para was probably the hardest thing she had done. She told me that I needed to make sure that the para was treated as an equal or at least felt that. I think it is important also to make sure you let the para know how much you appreciate their help. It sure makes it easier when there is something you have to discuss about what they are doing...good or bad!! Good luck!!
     
  9. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Aug 10, 2006

    Another important thing to do as a parapro. is to clean up after yourself. My parapro. is horrible at this and I am totally frustrated with her and this is our first week back. I cleaned up after her last year and on Monday I had a talk with her. I am still cleaning up cups, putting away materials she used.... She just stops what she is doing exactly at 3:15 pm and packs up and disappears. I think she is not saying good-bye so I would not comment on her not cleaning up after herself. Tomorrow I am going to have cleanup time at 3:00 pm for her even if I have to take things out again after she leaves so that I can continue working after she leaves.

    She also follows me around when I talk to co-workers (she has worked at the school for 2 years before I arrived, so she does know more people than me, but if I mention I have to go talk to someone she will follow me.) She reads my e-mails over my shoulder, doesn't finish jobs...

    I did work with her last year but I also had another excellent parapro. too (she will be a Resource Room teacher this year) and this parapro must have covered ALL of her slack and I did not notice, so I did not realize how bad it was going to be :( .
     
  10. JessCentral28

    JessCentral28 Rookie

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    Aug 10, 2006

    Wow Proud2BeaTeacher- Looks like you have some real boundary issues with your paraprofessional. She sounds like she needs some clear direction- she apparantly doesn't know how inappropriate it is to do what she is doing- especially following you around when you say you need to talk with someone! I'm sure it will take time and consistency, but good luck to you- hope you can get through to her!
     
  11. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Aug 10, 2006

    I will be giving her a checklist this year including times as to when she should do something. It will add another 20 minutes on my day but I am hoping that I will be able to cut down on some of the detail within 2 months.

    It is just really hard to give her something to do because something that will take a "normal person" 15 minutes to do, it will take her 1 hour. She does have a learning disablity, so I know it will take her longer to do things, so it is just figuring out what exactly I can give her to do. She just can't do something quickly :( and her response time is really slow (and working with children with Autism, this in not a good thing) . I will give her something to photocopy and she will come back 30 minutes later saying she let 5 teachers in front of her because they said they had only a few copies to do (even though she may only have 20 copies to do :eek: ).

    I feel really sorry for her because her learning disability kept her apart from other students in school and I think this is why she lacks social skills. She is in her 40s and I feel a little weird telling her what to do socially with other adults.
     

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