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galwaygirl172 08-24-2016 05:56 PM

Questioning my job description
 
I have been in this situation before. At my old job at the college, I would get burdened with tasks that were not actually apart of my job. (I had a very lazy coworker who was buddy buddy with the boss.)
I feel like perhaps I am running into the same type of situation, kind of. Here's how it works: Our special ed students are grouped with a case manager. They have about 10-15 students they case manage. My co-teacher/case manager for English is brand new, much like me. She is about as lost as I am. However, I have only spoken to her maybe three times because she is always gone with the volleyball team. She also moved offices (we shared an office) to move with the other coaches. I was under the impression that my job was to help her pull grades for her case load only for English classes only. Plus helping students in certain English classes while doing paperwork on the modifications/accommodations made for them that day and copying their graded work for data purposes.
Today has made me wonder what exactly my job description is. One co-teacher/case manager said that she makes her para do all kinds of stuff for her. I sat there wondering where he even has the time when we only get a very short planning period for paperwork. My boss said that we could pull all grades to help out our co-teachers. Once again, I sat there wondering when we would have the time since we are in classes most of the day. We would have to stay after our designated hours for that. I also had a teacher leave me in charge of her classroom for 30 minutes because she had to go to a class meeting for the Freshmen class that she sponsors. It was no big deal because they weren't doing anything strenuous, but I am not entirely sure that I can be left in charge. I also had another teacher allow me to lead her activity in two of her classes while she sat back and chatted it up and distracted the students during the activity. Seemed a little backwards to me. The activity was fun, but the students weren't very attentive with her talking to them.
The department chair of English also wanted me to make these case files for all students who failed the STAAR test so that we could manage progress. She would print out the data, I would magically find time to create the folders for all of those students. I know it's not hard, but again, where is this time they think we have within our designated hours?
I'm not meaning to sound like I don't want to do my job. I would just like to know what my job exactly is because I feel as if I am teetering on the border of office assistant and paraeducator.

Another thing that kind of bummed me out was I never got the memo about departing meetings that I am supposed to attend. I just happened to be told about it and made a mad dash down to the meeting where I was apparently being waited on. Gr.
I also volunteered to take a detention shift when an email was sent all calling for workers. I got a reply back saying that "Only teachers can work detention." Talk about feeling low on the totem pole.

Sorry for the long rant. I just have a lot on my mind with this new job and no one has told me exactly how to do this job. I'm just kind of living on a prayer right now.

twin2 08-25-2016 01:30 AM

Para duties
 
The role of the para is often not clear and some teachers aren't sure just how to use a para.. First, does your school system have a hand-out or contract defining para duties? Do you belong to a union- a union rep might be able to answer your questions. If you work for a Title I school, your duties are pretty well defined. A para in a Title I school is there for the students, under the direction of the teacher (or authority of person such as building coordinator or principal- whoever decides para duties for your school). There is a gray area during non-instructional time and you may help.teachers prepare things needed for instruction, such as cutting laminated items or making copies. Keep in mind different schools interpret regulations differently. Where I worked as a para, paras are not allowed to take charge of classrooms and can't even be pulled when they need a sub for a class. Their reasoning is that the para cannot be taken from the student(s) that are required per IEP to receive a one-on-one para. That would put the school out of compliance. Despite that, the high schools do hire paras to run the in school suspension classroom.

Go to your assigned teacher for clarification first. As a last resort go to the building coordinator or principal. The very last resort would be the union rep for paras.

As for faculty meetings, I usually showed up to the meetings and asked the principal if I were required to attend. We had certain days that they could call a meeting, so if I were not sure if there was a meeting, I usually checked with other staff to see if there was a meeting called. For some reason the principal wasn't very good at notifying paras. Even if an email was sent, paras do not have access to emails during the duty day like the teachers do.

galwaygirl172 08-25-2016 04:59 PM

Twin2
 
The job duties were only related to classroom duties and helping the teacher out, nothing else really. My teachers have been pretty great and want me to help out as much as possible. For clarification, I do not work with my co teacher directly. She's just the English co teacher and I'm the para, so I'm supposed to help her with data stuff (collecting grades).

But I think you hit the nail on the head. Perhaps there isn't a clearly defined job description and they can use me however they please.

Also, this isn't a Title 1 school. I'm also really not sure about a union rep since I'm not apart of one. I couldn't afford the dues lol.
Thank you for your help. I was feeling pretty discouraged. I like the job, I just hate feeling like a peon.

twin2 08-26-2016 08:21 PM

Glad you like the job!
 
You are not a peon! Paras play a vital role in education today. Do not ever think that of yourself. I was very blessed to work at a school where paras are highly regarded.

I never joined the union at our school. Many paras do not due to the cost compared to para income. I have never been a fan of unions, but our school system has a union. Anyone not in the union is on their own.

I hope you find your job very rewarding.


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