Ask the #Educhums: What are some things you need to remember when working with a new paraprofessional?
Whether your classroom has a full-time assistant or you occasionally work with a paraprofessional in another capacity, it's important to consider how you will make him or her a part of your classroom community. This week, Snarky reader Ms. F — a high school Spanish teacher from Illinois — asked a great question to consider at the start of the school year.
This Week's Question
When working with a new paraprofessional, what are some things you need to remember to tell them as you are introducing/ training them into a new classroom or school?
We asked Erin, a Snarky reader from Massachusetts, to weigh in for us. Erin will start her eleventh year working as a paraprofessional this fall.
It's important for a paraprofessional to know what the rules and expectations are for your classroom and the school, just as you would communicate them to your students. You should also have a frank discussion for the ways in which you want and expect them to be involved in your classroom. For example, will they just hang with the students they're assigned to, will they teach small groups (high or low?), will they have a role in whole class lessons? The relationship works best when everyone knows what the expectation is from the beginning.
I would also suggest discussing the different techniques you use for managing behaviors to encourage consistency, who to consult for different questions or issues (i.e. neighboring teachers, the school psychologist, a social worker, office staff, cafeteria staff, special education teachers they need to know), and where important items are kept (supply closet, book rooms, etc.).
Readers, if you have worked with a paraprofessional in a school setting — or better yet, you are one — we'd love for you to weigh in on how you help him or her acclimate to your classroom or school! Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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