It’s Teacher Appreciation Week, and there are some cute puns around the office. “Why does a phone wear glasses?” “Because it lost all its contacts.” There are thank you’s, there are little gifts from some students.
So we do have to say, we love the letters. The real ones from the parents or the kids, but especially the kids. If you have a class ‘thank you’ project, we might suggest, especially for the students who are still struggling with writing, get a pencil out on the paper and pre-write ‘thank you’ for the student. Then allow the student to cover the letters with stickers or stamps, following the lines. If you really have time, print out a really cool looking “Thanks” with special font, then use a glue gun and cover the letters. The next part will take time, but peel off the paper from the glue when the glue is cooled. Then place the full “thanks” over another piece of paper and let the student paint on the “thanks”. Variation of paint include spray bottles with water and paint, but keep in mind, that requires a bit of clean up.
But while it’s Teacher Appreciation Week, we also like to remind PTA and PTOs that everyone on campus comes into contact with your child. Be it a secretary, the school nurse, a paraeducator. Even if you student doesn’t need the services of a paraeducator, one may be in their class for another student. Education is not just the bits found on the internet and in books. Or what is shared from one person to another. Education today also involves reminding everyone of what skills they may need to interact with another. Education today involves being able to know when to ask for help. Education today involves teamwork, more than ever.
Speaking of Teamwork
In some classrooms, there can be as many as 5 different aides in a room. Why? Because maybe there are one or two students who need one to one support for very specific reasons. Then there may be another four students in the room who have less demanding needs, then a student who has touch in support for a different type of educational structure. Add in one student who is mainstreaming and then you suddenly have a party of adults and students in a room that was originally designed for only about thirty-five bodies.
By this point in the year, it’s probably a little too late to derail some personality clashes that can be involved. However, keeping it straight between adults of who works with what student and to check in with them is. This sounds very counter intuitive. Aren’t all the students “ours”? Well yes, and no. Some paraeducators are given very specific information about the student(s) they are working with. And out of self-preservation, others may not hear the information or because they don’t work with that student or with the case manager of that student. In a crowded room, there isn’t a lot of time to connect with all the adults privately about a student.
By the way, we’re a huge advocate of Q.T.I.P. at this time of the year. Remember that no one is personally plotting against you. No one wants you to have a lousy day by stating something isn’t working out for them. And it is certainly not personal that a student cried because you told them to take some salad with their lunch.
This is the hardest time of year. There are no breaks but the big one coming ahead as the weather turns (mostly) warmer. It is far too easy to just say it ‘doesn’t matter’ and sit back. Being consistent does matter. That twelfth reminder is not an exaggeration. Intervention is needed. Support the students. Support the teachers. Support each other.
And Thank you, as always for all you do, with the resources you wished you had, and the time you really wish that would slow down, we couldn’t possibly stay the course without you.
ParaEducate ends May 31 for the 2017-2018 academic school year. Do you have any comments about this week’s blog? Do you have a question for us? Would you like to be a guest blogger? Would you like to have an opportunity to pilot some materials at your campus? Find ParaEducate online here, here, here, here, 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.