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busybeing busybeing is offline
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 54
Junior Member

Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 54
Junior Member
Para Problems
Old 11-26-2017, 06:20 AM
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Please help with a very uncomfortable situation...

Basically, my para seems to think she knows more than I do (or the other teachers in the building) and won't take direction from anyone. She has undermined me in front of students, and challenges me pretty much on a daily basis. For example, we are currently working on place value; she told me that the students "really need to be able to spell word names correctly" and asked me for sentence strips so she could write out word names and post them in the room. To give you a better idea of my students, they are third graders performing 1-2 grade levels below in both math AND reading. Spelling number words correctly isn't the priority here. Correctly counting base ten blocks is. I gently explained to/reminded her that I have three boards for anchor charts (reading, writing and math) and that I like to keep them as visual and targeted to one concept as possible because some of our students struggle with attention and I don't want to overstimulate/confuse them with too many visuals on one board. She sighed and said "ooooooo-kkkkkkkaaaayyyy".

Recently, she even went so far as to way overstep while I was giving the students a district math benchmark test. My admin admits that it is a meaningless test for my students because they are so far behind, but the superintendent wants data for each student regardless. Well, separately, our annual statewide assessment is now computer based, so my kiddos have accommodations written into their IEPs to match a test that is now given online and not on paper, so most of the accommodations don't even apply to our paper based benchmarks. Regardless, I gave ALL my students number lines, read aloud the problems and even broke the multi-step problems into chunks. Some of these kids don't even have these accommodations for their state-wide assessment so technically I was giving them more support than is required in their IEP. Mid-way through the test, she interrupts me and says "don't they have accommodations for this?!?!" because the students were naturally becoming frustrated by the test. I said, "yes they do, but their testing accommodations are computer based... this is a paper test, the best I can do here is what I am already doing." She gave me a dirty look and said, "Well, they're on IEPs, they MUST have's just odd to me that you're saying they don't have accommodations..." She went on like this under her breath for a good five minutes as I continued the test. Later that day, I pulled up a spreadsheet I had created (months ago!) of all of their state-wide testing accommodations and showed her that how I was administering the test went way beyond what was in their IEPs.... also for a test that wont' even be looked at!!!! I got another sigh and "oooooo-kkkkkaaayyyy" out of her. Not satisfied and clearly wanting to be right, she tried to challenge me AGAIN and asked about their accommodations and modifications section of their IEP, the ones at the beginning of the IEP that we generally give to the gen. ed teacher, things like "preferential seating, etc." I showed her my data binder - each student has their own tab and right behind it, I have printed out that page with all their accoms and modifications. Nothing she could say because it's a district wide benchmark and I cannot modify it.

Sorry this was so long. I initially had another example I wanted help with, but I got to venting obviously!

I'm not sure what to do at this point. I really don't think I need to justify my teaching or what I am doing in my classroom, but I think a lot of this is coming from her because our program is a mess. I started in it mid-way through last year; it was me and another teacher, who my para became very close friends with. Well, the other teacher ended up getting fired at the end of the year for multiple reasons, but this para thought she was wonderful so I don't know if she's resentful that I'm still in the program and her friend is gone? Also, my program got moved to a new school within our district. There are a lot more social politics in this school and my para just does not play the social game very well. She has made an uncomfortable relationship with at least one of the gen. ed teachers we work with on a daily basis.

Any thoughts? I try my best to be laid back and "go along to get along" with her as much as I can, but this is already shaping up to be a stressful year for me thanks to a very active advocate situation I have with one of the students. It hasn't gotten to the point where I'm doubting myself or my abilities as a teacher but I know she has a tendency to gossip and I'm afraid she could have an affect on my reputation at this new school, more so among staff who I don't work directly with.

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