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SpecEdteach24
 
 
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I can't handle my para
Old 02-19-2015, 06:34 PM
 
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I teach in a self contained spec. ed. classroom. I teach in a unique program where I have a blend of students with autism, MSD, EBD, FMD, etc.. It's an extremely difficult classroom. It's my 3rd year teaching in this classroom, but the last 2 years the class was at a different school. This year, I was moved into a new building and inherited the para from last year. The teacher that worked with her last year warned me about her, and since August, it's been an incredibly hard battle. Every day when I give instructions, she rolls her eyes, blows me off, shrugs her shoulders, etc.. She ignores behavior plans, tells me how much she dislikes working with me, and changes lessons/removes materials and adaptations from the classroom as she sees fit. Back in September we went through a mediation session with my principal because she said that she wouldn't listen to anything I said and didn't believe in having a structured special ed. classroom and that the students would learn more without so much structure and direction. My principal told her that she didn't have to like it, she just had to do it. Since then, nothing has changed, and she makes my entire day SO difficult. Anyways...point being...I honestly can't imagine teaching any longer if she will be in my room. My principal has already said that she will be here next year. Has anyone dealt with an extremely difficult para, or decided to leave a school because of it?


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I haven't directly
Old 02-20-2015, 03:30 AM
 
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But life is too short. The para knows somebody somewhere. It is apparent that the para will not change her ways- why should she? She has been doing it her way for a very long time and it's being endorsed by the P. Nothing will change.

If I was in your spot, I'd be looking for a different position. Would you have to leave the district to have a different assignment?

Two years is way too long to deal with this.
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Old 02-20-2015, 04:08 PM
 
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My ex-para could be a cousin of yours. She disrespected me in front of the kids, argued with me in front of the kids, did so many things behind my back. was horrible to the kids. My principal would do nothing. I tried the nice approach. I tried the ignore approach. I tried the confrontation approach. Nothing mattered to her - she was like a stone and was always right.
She had connections and would never be disciplined in any way. I knew she would be there next year. I left and every time I groan in my new job, I think of her and somehow the day gets better knowing I will never have to deal with her again.
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Old 02-20-2015, 05:39 PM
 
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Can you talk to the director of Sped? Perhaps your class can be moved to another school.
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Old 02-21-2015, 05:24 AM
 
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I have heard this subject discussed on this site before. Isn't there a way that you could come up with an agreement signed by both her and your principal to follow your classroom procedures etc.? Then document is she is following the agreement. As with anything, squeaky wheels get greased. Send a written invitation to mediate with your principal, Para, and your SPED Coordinator. You will have to be non emotional and collect data to show that she is not doing her job in the classroom. Do you have her job description? This is the time of the year that we all get assessment. I had to do my own assessment of my TA and give it to the principal. If you are comfortable with your SPED coord., I would tell her that if the problem is not resolved, you will be requesting to move to another school. If you are a good teacher, you will be scooped up easily. Life is way too short to be disrespected and miserable.


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Old 02-21-2015, 11:05 AM
 
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Having good aides would be a dream come true. From my observation it seems, and I have been told, that it takes years to get your classroom where you want it, meaning the aides that work well with us. I've always had problems with aides. I told my aides that when they have a problem with another aide to go tell our supervisor (principal). I got tired of feeling like I was running and 'complaining' to my principal because one aide was unhappy with another. I have 3 aides currently. One of them voices complaints behind my back, but when I ask him if he has any concerns he always replies no, everything's fine. Some people just like to complain-it's a character flaw IMO. All I can do is communicate my concerns and advise my other aides to please not let this undermine morale, and we discuss ways they can handle his comments. He's made one student cry (I have cute preschoolers) and shoved another kid's chair into a timeout area (with the kid in the chair) and raised his voice several times to another aide in front of students. My principal knows, but because of bureaucracy her hands are tied. I have another aide who is legally handicapped, yet, because of her bad attitude, nobody wants to work with her, so she's stuck in my classroom. Again, admin's hands are tied because they don't know where to put her. My aides are resentful of her inactivity and busy being mad at each other instead of focusing on the kids. It's sad that the system can't deal with them more effectively. And they wonder why the rate of attrition is sooo high for SPED teachers.
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Old 02-22-2015, 03:51 PM
 
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Clearly, for whatever reason they value the para more than you (I agree with pp, para probably knows someone). Whatever the reason, the P is sending a clear message that nothing is going to change. Time to move on; whether to another building or district. You neither need nor deserve this disrespect.
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Old 02-22-2015, 05:50 PM
 
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Thanks everyone for your thoughts. I'm glad to know i'm not alone in thinking that this is too much to handle. I'm not exactly sure why my P thinks my para is so valuable. It is a big trend with our P though, to not be willing to move or let-go of any paras who are not working out. One of the other teachers in my building has also had difficulties with her para this year (an elderly man that they hired without any past experience) and emailed our P this weekend to discuss possibly moving him next year and our P answered and said that it wasn't possible and that she feels that any staff issue should be able to be resolved.

Sigh...

I hate to switch schools, because I truly LOVE my team teachers and all of our therapists, but when my para so directly affects my entire day, I can't imagine staying any longer. I think I'll take most of the advice on here and move on next year.
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I quit my last job due to a bad para...
Old 02-23-2015, 10:06 AM
 
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I actually stormed in and quit at Christmas of that year but my P refused to accept my resignation. She was horrid--She thought she knew everything about everything and was better than everyone else...

P excused her bad behavior because she had been there a long time and had good attendance and was on every parent and school committee allowed...Well, my little insight into that was that she was on all those committees because she honestly felt that they couldn't run it well with HER!!

What a crock of BS!! She was soooo full of herself--and she had a little minion in one of the other girls, so it ruined 2 out of 4 paras available to me...Of the other two, one was occasionally sucked into her drama and one was better at keeping it to herself... It made for a terrible year and I didn't even consider putting in for another year. I put in my formal notice in writing by end of January last year. It made me sad because I really liked the community, school, other staff and students. I really enjoyed the kids.
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Paras...
Old 02-23-2015, 03:10 PM
 
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I have had all types/personalities of paras in my classroom over the last 14 years in my building. It used to be that the principal could "circulate" them at will. Well, at some point they got categorized. We have building paras who provide 1:1 services to students in general education classrooms and in the self-contained classrooms. We have autism paras who provide 1:1 services to students with autism who require support. We have classroom paras for student in the self-contained classrooms. They are paid the same, but they are categorized on payroll and come from supposed different funds. So, for the past 4 years I've had 2 classroom paras who are the same and a 1:1 building para that is the same. We work pretty well together, but one of my classroom paras is a pip. He knows it all. (No he doesn't). He'll actually ask questions about what is in a lesson or be amazed at something I am teaching. Understand that I teach children with severe disabilities. Yes, our new curriculum is awesome and teaches grade level (3rd-5th) material, but really? He actually questions some of what is in the curriculum and will pull out his phone and google the information. That usually brings lots of "hows" and "whys". Today he pulled his passive-aggressive routine. I repositioned a child in his wheelchair, something I've shown him how to do probably 100s of times over the past 4 years. He removed the chest piece because the child sat up straight without it. Well, he could maintain a good position without it for a minute, maybe two, then slouched. He started doing his charting during math. When I asked him to bring the child he was supposed to be working with up to the Smartboard, he just sat there. I asked a second time and he did bring the child up. Then, in the middle of the lesson he brought me the charting to sign. I told him that I would not sign it and would sign it when the rest of the charting was done by all 3 paras. He told me that one child's form was a week off of the rest. He had filled it out wrong on the sheet, so was a week behind. I about blew, but shrugged my shoulders and kept on teaching. My favorite thing his did today was trying to explain the assembly on Thursday. I was explaining that we were going to the 2nd/3rd grade concert rehearsal in the afternoon. He asked if we could just stay in the room because we are on that pod and they always practice on the pod. I told him that, no, they practice in the gym and that the concert was always held in the gym. He argued that it was ALWAYS on the pod. My other two paras had glazed looks in their eyes. It was all they could do to not laugh. I finally did convince him to look at the risers that were in the gym. The only time they are out is when we have a concert. UGH. He takes sick time at least one day a week during teaching time to "go to the doctor". I did remind him that there are doctor appointments available after school hours. He told me he doesn't want to miss any time at his second job in the school after care program. The reason is that he's the "boss" in that program. He would have to give his bullhorn (yes, he uses one to bellow at the kids). UGH. 66 more student days and I retire. Yes, this is one reason. At my exit interview with the principal I am going to ask what I did to deserve 4 years with that man. .
Kathy


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I'm in your boat too!
Old 02-24-2015, 12:37 AM
 
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I feel your frustration. I am dealing with the same thing in my classroom. This is my first year with a para so I'm learning wow it's not easy having someone else in your room all day basically watching you teach and critiquing everything little thing you do. I get the same thing you do: eye rollings, sighs, not following schedules, lesson plans, etc. Although my aide is somewhere on the spectrum and tells me everyday that my classroom is too cluttered--she wants me to clear all of it out. I don't think (or maybe so in your case your para doesn't care) that people realize how rude they can be!

I agree with the precious poster--it's going to be hard getting her to change her ways. Can you talk to your P again and let him/her know that look it's not working here--something needs to change. Can you go above him to your special education supervisor? That is my plan. My aide has said she doesn't like elementary and wants to go back to high school (she used to teach). Keep us posted! I'll be thinking of you!!
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Old 03-07-2015, 09:17 PM
 
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I'm a para myself. I try to do what the teacher asks of me. If you have an issue with a co-worker or employee (paras can be a bit of both) then ordinarily you would work it out with them. This seems to be beyond working out. I can't really tell you what to do, though. If the para knows somebody, they could possibly end up getting rid of you instead of her. It doesn't sound like your admin will support you. I know it's frustrating because I'm sure it's not good for your kids, but if your admin has no spine there's not a lot you can do. You have to decide what is best for you.

I have known of situations where bad paras were just moved around a lot, but never fired. They knew somebody. One para screamed a teacher and was rough at times with the kids. She even broke confidentiality in a bad way. But she still has her job.

Fortunately my situation this year is pretty good. No big issues. But we don't have the para I mentioned above. In my experience there are a lot of good paras, but there are a lot of bad ones, too.
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