What Paraeducators Really Want

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And need from general classroom teachers

When asked the question “What do you want or need most from your classroom teacher?” paraeducators from around the country tend to have one overwhelming response. More than anything, they want to know what will be happening today (or tomorrow!) in your classroom (tweet this). Not an unreasonable request, when you think about what they’re supposed to do every day as part of their jobs. Everybody functions better when they know what they’re doing!

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“May I see your lesson plans?” is a question many paraeducators ask the general education teacher to figure out what’s happening in the classroom. If you hear this, you should understand that it really demonstrates the paraeducator’s desire to do the job right. A paraeducator working in your classroom will be much more effective with student when he or she is able to prepare and respond proactively instead of reactively during instructional activities. If you think about it, this just makes sense. When told what the instructional topic or activity will be, paraeducators may review material, become more familiar with the topic, brush up on processes or procedures, or prepare supplemental materials to aid in instruction.

This author worked with a paraeducator in a geography class who enjoyed preparing ethnic foods from the country of study and leading student discussions about customs associated with food and eating. These instructional—not to mention gastronomical!—bonuses wouldn’t have been possible unless this particular paraeducator had had some sense of daily instructional plans. You don’t have to show the paraeducator your lesson plans, but you should try to understand the reason for the request.

This Planning Ahead Form is a useful tool when figuring out exactly what the paraeducator needs to know to do his or her job.

 

Wendy is the author of The Classroom Teacher’s Guide For Working With ParaEducators.

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