As a working title, this particular blog has been started over and over again and then promptly pushed aside because at the time, I didn’t really know what to say. I knew there was a story in the idea but I didn’t have the words at the moment. So returned to this poem today, I’ve been working on for the better part over a year. And today, perhaps because my spring break starts in just 24 hours, it’s time for a little reflection before that section of the academic year loads up and becomes difficult for different reasons. These are reminders from all sorts of people who I have seen in different capacities in different parts of the state as I have traveled around.
When I Became a Paraeducator
When I became a paraeducator…I didn’t know what I would be actually doing.
When I became a paraeducator…I didn’t know I was capable of that much patience.
When I became a paraeducator… I didn’t know that I could handle that much more noise in my life.
When I became a paraeducator…I knew my students wouldn’t be perfect, nor did I expect their peers to be.
When I became a paraeducator…I had to learn that the grade the student got was not a reflection of my help or lack of help.
When I became a paraeducator… I had to learn that I was not their BFF.
When I became a paraeducator… I had to avoid being competitive. Not every student was up to the task or willing to be competitive.
When I became a paraeducator… I was surprised to find that the wonder of the world may fascinate some students and be an annoyance to others.
When I became a paraeducator… I was surprised to learn that other paraeducators were willing to teach me what mistakes they had made so I wouldn’t make the same ones.
When I became a paraeducator… I knew that every day would be full and different.
When I became a paraeducator… I learned that for not being teachers, paraeducators know an awful lot about social interactions of students and the school based gossip, and then using it to help the students who need it.
When I became a paraeducator… I had always imagined the work was a selfless pursuit, a calling, and what I found were people who found a calling.
When I became a paraeducator… I never thought I would measure up to being as good as some of my co-workers who had been doing the job for over ten years, and by the end of my second year, I was a hardened veteran.
When I became a paraeducator… I learned that when I made a mistake it was a chance to teach the students how to handle mistakes.
When I became a paraeducator… I learned that even with a disability, students are just like their peers.
When I became a paraeducator… I learned that giving students independence showed the greatest spectrum of their academic, social, and emotional abilities.
When I became a paraeducator… I finally learned the lessons in school I thought I never would need.
When I became a paraeducator… I was always grateful to learn the depth of my students’ creativity, knowledge, and/or gratitude for my help every day.
Can you add your own ending to “When I became a paraeducator”? ParaEducate is going on Spring Break from March 23 to April 3. Are you interested in participating as a Guest Blogger for ParaEducate? Do you have a question for us? Find ParaEducate online here, here, here and here. ParaEducate is 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.