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K9: Understanding the paraprofessionalís role regarding communication with students, studentsí families, and the community that supports learning and well-being for student with Other Health Disabilities.
K10: Understanding the paraprofessionalís role within the educational roles and responsibilities of teachers and support personnel in providing educational services to students with OHD.
S4: Demonstrating the understanding to utilize opportunities for students with OHD to participate, interact, and learn with all students.
Working Effectively with Teachers and School Personnel
As you learned previously in Core Competency Area 7: Communication and Collaborative Partnerships, working with an educational team requires frequent and open communication between the teacher, paraprofessional, and other members. Having a paraprofessional in the classroom is an asset and requires a close working relationship between the paraprofessional and teacher. The teacher and/or other licensed professional are responsible for directing your work as a paraprofessional. They need to communicate responsibilities and roles effectively. The more skills you bring to the classroom, the more valuable you will be. These skills are enhanced by a good working relationship between you and the teacher. Paraprofessionals play a valuable role in assisting teachers, and most teachers welcome the help that you provide.
Paraprofessionals assist the teacher in implementing instruction and following school policies. When you accept the assignment of paraprofessional, you also accept the leadership of the teachers with whom you are assigned. You also play a role in classroom leadership as well. You are obligated to accept decisions that teachers are required to make, just as they are obligated to support your decisions in the classrooms, hallways, playground, and lunchroom. It is necessary that paraprofessionals and teachers learn to work effectively as a team. Strong, clear communication builds this working relationship and allows for professional growth and effectiveness. Strong communications strategies can build positive relationships between members of the educational team.
Ideas for Strengthening a Working Relationship
It is important to develop a trusting, open relationship with school professionals. Everyone has different ways of supervising, managing, or working with one another. Many school staff, teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, and volunteers work together in the same building. You will work with some of these regularly and some less frequently. Learning about the people with whom you work and identifying their roles will help you become more effective as a paraprofessional. The list below offers tips on how to become a strong partner with the school personnel with whom you will work as you provide supports to students with and without disabilities.
Through these strategies for developing and strengthening relationships, paraprofessionals will be strong advocates and supporters of all students who need supports and services to be successful.
Information for this unit was used with permission from:Institute on Community Integration. (n.d.). Para eLink Core Competency Area 7.3 and 7.4: Communication and Collaborative Partnerships, Lessons 6 and 7. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota. Retrieved June 30, 2006, from http://ici2.umn.edu/elink/7k2b/c7k2b_6.html and http://ici2.umn.edu/elink/7k2b/c7k2b_7.html