A Letter to the Students

Welcome Back! We are so very excited for the 2016-2017 academic school year blog for ParaEducate.

As of a week ago, voting was open for a conference that ParaEducate, The Inclusive Class, and National Board on Full Inclusion, with Sheryll Zellis, and Rob Rummel-Hudson are participating in. Your vote helps our summit get selected.

As always, we’ve prepared a few entries that discuss beginning of the year activities. This year’s first blog was actually inspired by something that transpired at the end of last school year. We had noticed the recent rise of students who were reluctant to receive help and at the end of the year, with the help of a general education teacher, we asked a segment of the youngest grade why they didn’t respect the paraeducators on their campus.

There were some pretty varied and uncensored reasons but the heart of the matter: the students who had been the most troubled by paraeducators were students who had no positive experiences with paraeducators prior to arriving on the campus.

This shocked us a little and immediately we could list the positive interactions that paraeducators on this campus had provided all students, not just the students with disabilities. But that got us thinking about how to intervene this upcoming school year, to provide these students at this particular campus a better sense of what that staff was really about. Not just that the Principal said they were a part of the team. Not just that the teachers said they were as influential and beneficial to the classes they supported, and not just to the specific students they had to work with.

I give you, a letter to read to students.


Dear Students,

You don’t really know me, but I’m a paraeducator. By definition, my job is very specific. In some classes, I may float around a lot and get to meet a lot of you. In other classes, I may have to stay in one place, no matter what, and work with a specific student.

Your previous campus may also have had paraeducators, but here at this campus, we really are a part of your education. We’re here to help you learn. Sometimes learn about students who may think or act quite differently from what you’re used to. Sometimes it’s to help you learn that your voice matters. And sometimes it’s to help you learn that you have staff members on your side.

I am an extra set of eyes in a classroom and in the hall. Yes, sometimes you may ‘get in trouble’ by me. But I did see that other student pick on you, and while you didn’t think I didn’t do anything, I promise you I reported it, I may have also intervened and talked to that student about their behavior. That classmate that has been depressed, I asked them how they were doing today. I want you to know, that you may be in a stage where you wish to disappear into the floor, but I see you and I will get to see you do amazing things this year.

Sometimes I may not do anything to help a specific student or situation, because that’s a part of growing up. You have the right to rise and fall by your own merits. If you don’t know it, I’ve already been in the grade you have been. I’ve sat in that seat, I’ve been the student too shy to raise my hand, I’ve been the student that didn’t know what question to ask first, and I’ve also been that student who didn’t know how to start.

I will be here all year. Myself, and my other paraeducators on your campus are all here for all the students.

Sincerely,

Paraeducator


Do you have any questions about this week’s blog? Do you want to offer a guest blog? Find ParaEducate online herehereherehere, and on our website. Paraeducate is a company interested in providing materials, information, and strategies for people working in special education inclusion settings for grades K-12. ParaEducate, the blog, is published weekly during the academic school year on Thursdays, unless a holiday. ParaEducate shares their findings at conferences, through their books, and their academic adaptations.

About paraeducate

ParaEducate is a company run to help reach out to paraeducators or paraprofessionals in public K-12 schools, giving advice, talking about publications that ParaEducate produces, and other useful information regarding working in public school settings.

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