One of the unique qualities of some of the best paraeducators is knowing when to step in and run at full capacity anticipating the needs of all the individuals in a classroom in any given situation. However, that skill, for most paraeducators takes time to understand the results of hitting the ground running and getting all the parts together.
Being present in a class, with a student, with a group of students, can be taxing hour after hour. But for those who are not there just yet, making sure that one reaches out to connect to students or staff is just as important. Reminders to show gratitude for connection and how students connect to you.
The world continues to astound us all with the way our students ask to connect in the world and their community. The world that students inherit is changing and the students are much more aware than when we may have been that youthful. How we respond and how we take care of ourselves after responding and helping students navigate their emotions and inputting knowledge are as important as helping students navigate those challenges.
Gathering support and knowing how to support other staff is just as important. Learning when a birthday, a significant anniversary, or other momentous occasion is part of reaching out and helping to build that adult community.
We are sincere that the little tries and the little movements continue to build the roads for students, teachers, and for administrators. Professional trust is built as familiar patterns become understandable by everyone working for a student or group of students.
The little things really just begin with making the professional promise: I will be here. Renay was recently laughed at for saying this to someone else professionally, but that promise carries so much weight when one is dedicating the school year to a group of students. That promise does not mean that sick days will not be taken, family events do not come first. That promise is the minimum we make daily no matter the task at hand.
Professionalism for some comes easily. For others, it requires time to learn and grow. Students grow, and so should their paraeducator. Partnering with other more senior staff helps make sense of the roles in school as an adult. Balancing between finding your strengths and finding how to navigate the campus where you are assigned.
The Parts of Inclusion
We are reminded that some things need to be advocated for. Sitting at a table in the middle of a sea of students does not always work for all students with disabilities. However, to be a member of the class, it is important to have a student have a spot to work that is consistent and puts the student within arm’s reach of their peers and not in full view as a curiosity or to be treated as a guest.
The Words of Paraeducators
Renay had an opportunity to be interviewed by a group called Undivided. Check out the paraeducator information that Undivided shared.
February is our anniversary month. Stay tuned for our anniversary blog post.
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.