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EatSleepTeach EatSleepTeach is offline
 
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EatSleepTeach
 
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Tips for working with TA
Old 06-25-2010, 07:04 PM
 
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Hi all!

I'm pretty new to this board. I'm starting my first teaching job in September- a classroom for students who are severely autistic. I will have a TA and, being fresh out of college, am a little unsure of exactly how to go about working with him/her.

Do you have any tips or experiences for me? I don't know who I will be working with, but I am curious as to how to start. I don't want to come on too strong, but my students are most important, so I will need to make sure we are always on the same page.

Thanks!


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What works for me is to have duties
Old 06-26-2010, 09:36 AM
 
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clearly defined. What is it that is under my domain, and what are my IAs responsible for? That prevents us from all trying to do the same thing at once, or completely neglecting something. It is also important that teachers and IAs agree about classroom management and rules, so that more manipulative students don't try to play the adults off one another. Be sure to have your IAs schedule their lunches and breaks when you are working together to figure out master schedules to avoid any grievances.
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Old 06-26-2010, 04:51 PM
 
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During opening days...try to set aside some time to talk with your assistant. Find out what his/her experience includes... they may have worked in your new program so may have some great insight. Work as a team but with clear boundaries. Let them know you are open to ideas...but will need time to think it all thru...

We have some pretty seasoned...assistants that are good...but have a hard time with change...

Good Luck!
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newspedteach newspedteach is offline
 
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don't want to overwhelm you
Old 06-26-2010, 05:52 PM
 
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but feel free to scan this board (sped) past this page...there are a lot of stories, advice, etc. that may help you get a feel for what it is like to manage assistants. On this board, teachers have posted about their wonderful IA's (instructional assistants) and their terrible IA's. I've had terrible to mediocre to ok.

After two horrible years with one IA, I got her removed from my class (end of last year). I had big plans to come up with some type of IA handbook to present to my new IA as well as another IA (she's been with me all three years I've been at this school). Well, I just didn't get to it, but after working with my new IA for the past year, I don't think it would have worked that great anyway. It seems like the more detailed I get, the more the woman thinks I am unhappy with her (she's extremely sensitive and takes many requests/clarifications/corrections as criticism).

Anyway, I think the previous posters gave you some good feedback. I would definitely sit down with your IA first thing and get to know him/her a bit and try to find out strengths and weaknesses. I would ask preferences a bit, but I wouldn't give the IA too many choices (lol, just like our kids) because he/she IS the assistant and YOU get to be the one to decide who does what--although input from all is nice, you are ultimately responsible for the program.

Try to stay organized and give your IA a heads up when things are going to change. I know I'll think of more....written schedule, regular lunch and breaks, etc..

Good luck! I hope you love your new job!!! Come back and tell us all about it .
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EatSleepTeach EatSleepTeach is offline
 
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Old 06-27-2010, 04:44 AM
 
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Thank you for all of your input! I will definitely be looking back on this board for advice as newspedteach suggested.

-Eatsleepteach


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Old 06-27-2010, 11:21 AM
 
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If you PM me with an email addy, I can send you a couple of para handbooks from other districts I've come across. They're in PDF format and too large to post on here.
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EatSleepTeach EatSleepTeach is offline
 
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Old 06-28-2010, 03:41 AM
 
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I don't think I can send a PM because I'm too new =[
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handbooks
Old 06-28-2010, 08:00 AM
 
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can give you ideas...I think I browsed through one on here once. But, remember that para expectations vary greatly from state to state and even district to district and position to position.

Something you could also do is contact your educational service district (ESD) and ask if they have a paraeducator handbook for your area. I wouldn't have thought of this, but I happened to find one while doing a huge clean out of books and paperwork last week! I used to be an IA (or Para) so I happened to have this laying around. It is actually written FOR paras, so it will give you a good perspective, maybe.

Good luck
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Just like with your students...
Old 06-30-2010, 07:42 PM
 
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Set limits and boundaries. I am a second year teacher this year. I came into a classroom in the middle of the year last year replacing a 30 year veteran. I being 23 at the time, came into a room with two TA's, one being 30 and one being 45. I made the mistake of trying to be a friend. The result of that was I ended up with one TA constantly coming in late, and the other taking advantage of my good nature and spending hours out of the classroom at once, helping with office work or just chatting with the other teachers or office staff. This TA also started to put off the lessons I wanted her to teach and taught her own saying we could do mine tomorrow. I was miserable trying to figure out where it is that i could set down limits without ruining the work environment. DO NOT get yourself in that situation. I found myself alone and angry a lot of the past year and it didnt help me or the students. This coming year I am going to have one TA the same, (45 year old) and a new one to the room who is also older than me. I am going to use the entry of the new TA to set firm rules for the old one. I am considering having weekly meetings with my TAs to keep me up to date on the 3 support inclusion kiddos we have this year as well as giving them the freedom to bring lesson ideas to me. The thing you have to remember is that YOU are the teacher not the TA, even though they may wish to be. While you can learn from them, you are still in charge. I am going to need to remind myself of that as my school year starts as well. Good luck!
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Old 07-02-2010, 10:47 PM
 
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A teacher mentor from your school would likely be able to offer great advice in this area. I am an SEA (Canada) and our responsiblities vary widely but I can say that we are teacher directed with the focus on completing IEP goals being our top priority. My experience has been different in every class I have worked in and my responsibilities change with each teacher but good communication will help you both transition as I'm sure you are not the only one wondering how this will turn out. One exceptional teacher I worked with had a place for me to check what I would be doing on a daily basis with a list. This may not be appropriate for your situation as behaviour is likely to dominate the early part of your year. Usually, classroom rules, including visual schedules etc. are the first priority of teachers on a yearly basis. It would be great if your SEA is there for this so that while you are going over it with the kids the SEA knows exactly what the plan is if said rules are broken. You mentionned that your classroom is for children who are autistic and I am surprised you will only have one SEA. This sounds like you will all have a challenging but interesting year! Wish I could be there! Good luck and have fun! Students with autism are a blast to work with! Oh and...the best success with students seems to happen when a good team is formed so communicate, communicate, communicate!


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