The school year is about to start. The school items have been on sale for the time being. We have been all too aware that families are struggling financially, and we know that many more students will likely walk through the door on the first day of school with even less than they normally might have.
And most definitely: this is going to impact the paraeducators as well. Many are making those choices as well for their own families. While the larger discussion should be to Unions and Districts about making equitable pay for all staff and teachers that at least reflects the general cost of living in each area, what are we really going to do when students need a pencil or even a scratch piece of paper.
For those who are able: grab an extra notebook or pack of pencils and donate it to the school for the student who might need that small extra to start the year. For those who have usable supplies, we know they are going to keep going for as long as they can. For items like glue, glue sticks, and markers, that are always needed and dry out or otherwise are consumed and cannot be recycled, have that talk with students about being aware of how much they are using.
Helping students out by providing systems to make sure they have the supplies they need through the school year. Especially ones that are respectful of students’ personal pride.
Remind Me Once Again
Paraeducators are usually at the mercy of whatever ice breaker that a teacher provides for a class on the first day of school. But it is just as important that everyone in the classroom learn each other’s names. No matter the class. The beginning of the year is the easiest. But if the general education teacher wouldn’t mind printing out their role sheet or seating chart so the paraeducator can learn names too while trying to learn things about the student(s) they are working with, it would be really very nice.
Some years, students are just mixed together and they make wonderful friends from classmates. In other years, some students with disabilities just are not that interested in socializing. Finding out a schedule of the student’s day is important to give an idea when it might be time to push a student to cooperate with peers and when it might not be worthwhile. Not every student needs to be friends with every other student in their class, but it will help make things much more enjoyable when there is someone they can trust their own age in any given space.
A review of how to make friends with students is never a bad thing.
A review of where the bathrooms are located also is not a bad thing.
Keeping a running of list of things that appear to bother a student. This might be useful later if there are behaviors to avoid or ask questions about.
And for new staff, do not forget to ask them if they know where the staff bathrooms are or if they have had a break. Let them know they can trust you while everyone is running in opposite directions.
And if nothing else: it is all right to forget some things because there are a lot of things going on and a lot of running in opposite directions. Good luck to those who start in their respective campuses. If your year starts later, get ready. Here we go.
Do you have any comments about this month’s blog? Do you have a question for us? 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 providing materials, information, and strategies for people working in special education inclusion settings for grades K-12. ParaEducate, the blog, is published once a month during the academic school year. ParaEducate shares their findings at conferences, through their books, and their academic adaptations.