Having a paraprofessional's support is essential to student learning in many classrooms. The teacher-parapro relationship is a tricky one to navigate for some people. Discussing what to do is just as important as discussing what not to do when establishing a partnership. Consider the following questions and situations to create a solid partnership and keep kids learning.

Instructional Support

Parapros support teachers and students by providing individual and small group learning support. Consider the following information and methods that may impact the paraprofessional's responsibilities in the classroom:

  • How to support students during different types of instruction (e.g., direct instruction, small group work, independent learning)
  • Students' special needs, IEP and learning goals, accommodations and modifications
  • Instructional methods the paraprofessional should use when supporting students
  • Clarity on how much and what kind of instructional support should be provided to students

Classroom Management

Parapros support teachers and students by reinforcing routines, procedures, and expectations in the classroom. Consider the following questions when establishing roles and responsibilities between a teacher and parapro:

  • Students or groups to focus on
  • How and when to redirect a student
  • Routines and procedures
    • entering and leaving the classroom
    • turning in homework
    • requesting hall passes
    • taking quizzes or tests
  • Documentation of student behavior

Clerical Responsibilities

Parapros may support teachers by providing clerical assistance. The building administrator should clarify if these tasks are within the scope of the parapro's responsibilities:

  • Copying
  • Filing paperwork
  • Grading student work
  • Organizing the classroom and its materials
  • Using software and technology related to clerical tasks

Other Important Norms 

  • How, when, and how often to communicate about the day-to-day business of the classroom
  • How and when to deliver feedback (from teacher to paraprofessional and vice versa)
  • The space, tools, and resources the paraprofessional should use in the classroom
  • Particular rules, expectations, and procedures the paraprofessional should know about and support
  • What the paraprofessional should do when the teacher is absent or unavailable
  • How the paraprofessional should handle emergency or personal situations

It's important to emphasize that the partnership between a teacher and a paraprofessional is a dialogue. For students to learn, the adults in the classroom should be in agreement with each other and respect each other. 

Are you a paraprofessional, or have you worked with one before? What are we missing from our list?

Don't miss our series to prepare paraprofessionals for certification and the classroom on August 2-4, 2022. Call ROE SchoolWorks for more details:  (217) 893-4921 or (217) 443-4086.

For more information, check out the following resource: Gross, M., & Marquez, R. (2012): ParaEducate, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

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