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twin2 twin2 is offline
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 15,482
Senior Member

Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 15,482
Senior Member
I was a para
Old 03-17-2019, 06:16 PM
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I acknowledge that every school has a different atmosphere and some treat paras better than others. Some paras are very well liked and respected. Others feel as though they are not treated fairly, even taken advantage of. I'm sorry you were feeling so lousy about your situation at work, and I hope those issues have been dealt with and things are better for you. I am not sure that I understand exactly what you are complaining about. Are you complaining that paras are not given opportunities to lead PD sessions, or that the other staff do not treat paras well?

There are times when paras can lead PD sessions, because they have the expertise to share with other staff. There are other times that a more qualified person is chosen. Sometimes it is just a matter that there are enough teachers who need credits doing PD sessions that there isn't a need, or an "opening" to ask a para to lead PD sessions. Other times, para contracts do not allow paras to be used to teach PD sessions. The para contract at the school here is very specific about how a para can be used, and it only involves working with students, which is how our school system interprets Title I regulations regarding highly qualified paras.

Relationships in the classroom can be tricky. Some paras are very humble, and willing to do anything the teacher requests. Others aren't as humble, but they pour themselves into what they do and it just works. Some teachers are true leaders and know how to use paras appropriately. Other times, teachers do not have the experience using paras, and are feeling their way through, like anyone new to any profession. Even under the best of circumstances, this can include a lot of trial and error, because what worked with one class does not necessarily work with another. Needs and dynamics are so different from class to class, year to year.

I would ask you to take a step back. You are very experienced as a para, and must have a lot to offer. Is it that the teacher is just trying to be the leader, because ultimately the teacher is responsible for how the para is used. It will be on their evaluation whether that para was used effectively or not. Administration looks for certain things, and teachers have their own ideas how to best use paras. It may not leave room for your suggestions to be utilized. One answer to this might be to go to administration and request they host brief weekly para/administration meeting where paras can express concerns, give ideas, and administration can do the same. The school I'm at now does this. I am no longer a para, so I have not been to one of those meetings, but I think it is a great idea. I wish our administration did this when I was a para.

Last edited by twin2; 03-17-2019 at 06:35 PM..
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