Not every year is stellar. Maybe a student was not a good fit for you. You struggled all year trying to balance behavior, academic progress, and healthy boundaries for you and the student. Maybe a general education teacher wasn’t a good fit for your work habits. There is also campus culture and then the community as a whole was not what you were expected.
Realistically though, many folks fold up as a paraeducator within a year. One of the goals we wanted to avoid was the energy and skill we wanted to put forth was to help paraeducators avoid that lonely island feeling that can happen, even for veteran paraeducators.
And we have reached out and met with not just teachers and administrators, but other paraeducators. We know all too well about things we can’t change – salary, benefits, retirement, breaks, the list goes on far too long. But we know a lot about the parts that are working and that within the control to help bring the campus together.
But what if you’re not able to stay or maybe this wasn’t the job for you, we’d like to tell you a few things.
- You did make an impact. You stayed day in and day out when others might not have been able. You saw things that no one would have believed and things that were perhaps not so great. But you got to see the change that happened for the students.
- Though you may not be fondly remembered, you were a part of the academic year. And just for the time you’ve been a part, you’ve gotten to take a chance to build the fabric of a community. And it’s a legacy that has a lot of meaning. It’s the thing you will take with you no matter the path through life.
- The students do want to say ‘good-bye.’ Students are rather unpredictable. Every rolled eye, groan, or moan, is just a different way of bonding. The parts we get stuck on sometimes is that the student’s refusals and other off putting behaviors, but sometimes for some students, this is a way they know how to bond with an adult. Even for the students who have trouble connecting, a little card, or a hand drawn picture, that’s the best part of the work in question.
- Don’t lose touch. Visit the following year if you can, send a letter back letting the kids know you think about them from time to time. Stay connected with your co-workers, they might surprise you from time to time.
We hope you return for next academic year. But we also want you to know that a resignation letter or a retirement letter is not the end of the world. We understand your life demands change and how things work out will direct you the way you need your life to go. However, if you do ever cross paths with a paraeducator, let them know about ParaEducate. We hoped we were able to reach you a little better during your academic year.
While we still have you…
We sign off in two weeks so we can focus on our academic end of year activities and prepare for our annual publishing rush. We have five books that are potentially up for publishing this summer. With this work we will expand the work in providing academic modifications to teacher to use with students with disabilities. We also have been working on connecting more folks through our #BetterTogether folks. So the summer is busy, but we plan on one summer blog and we will return for the 2018-2019 academic year in August.
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