One of the most important elements of a successful special education classroom is a strong relationship between teachers and paraprofessionals. Building these relationships with paras can be challenging.
Here are some tips to help you build these relationships and create a healthy, supportive working relationship, as well as some information on why they’re important and what to do if you’re having trouble building them.
Meaning of a solid relationship with paras
It is important for a special education teacher to have strong relationships with the aides who are in her classroom. This relationship helps create a successful and supportive classroom environment.
A teacher and paraprofessional can only work together to help students learn better if they are able to work well together. Paras can and should provide support for teachers to focus more easily on teaching and helping their students, but if they don’t know how to do this or the relationship is strained, it can be more challenging for them. so.
When a teacher and skydiver have a strong classroom relationship, everyone wins!
Steps to building strong relationships with Paras
Create clear lines of communication
Creating an open line of communication between you and your paraprofessional is key to teamwork. Be sure to keep each other informed of any changes or updates in the classroom so that everyone understands their role in helping students succeed.
Schedule changes can throw a big wrench into your daily routine, so make sure you always communicate them to your skydiver as soon as you know there is going to be a change or disruption to your day.
Respect each other’s roles
Realize that you and the paraprofessional play different roles in your classroom, but the roles are equally important. Acknowledge each other’s strengths and be willing to work together to support the class and its students.
It’s okay to let your partner know how much you appreciate everything she does and that you couldn’t do it without her!
Develop mutual trust
Building trust between you and your paraprofessional is essential to working together effectively. Show them your trust by giving them tasks that play to their strengths and don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed.
When you have a strong relationship and are more of a team than just individuals working in the same room, you want to help and support each other.
Provide encouragement and support
Show appreciation for their work and offer constructive feedback in a positive way to help them grow as an educator. Encourage collaboration with other staff in the special education classroom so that everyone feels supported and valued in their role.
Remember that not all skydivers have a background in special education. In fact, most of them don’t. So the special education classroom can be an intimidating and overwhelming place if they don’t have a lot of training.
What to do when your efforts to build a working relationship with your initial fail
It is essential that special education teachers have a strong working relationship with their paraprofessionals to create an effective and successful classroom. However, building such a relationship can be difficult, and it can be discouraging if your efforts fail. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t give up! Here are some tips to tackle the problem and get back on track.
If the relationship with the paraprofessional is strained, try talking it out. Find a time when both of you are free and calmly discuss current issues.
Seek professional help
Talk to your supervisor or other school leader about the problem and ask for their advice. They can provide you with insights you hadn’t considered before.
Be open and honest
Schedule an appointment with a paraprofessional to discuss the issue openly and honestly. Listen carefully to their opinion, offer a solution and work together on a solution. Have an honest and open conversation with your paragraph about the problems.
You may also want to:
- Reevaluate both of your roles in the classroom
- Focus on how to collaborate more effectively.
- Ask for feedback from other employees to better understand the situation. Maybe they see something you don’t.
- Make sure there is clear communication about expectations and goals.
- Show appreciation for their efforts and provide positive reinforcement when they do a good job.
By following these tips, teachers can create a strong relationship with paraprofessionals that will ultimately lead to better outcomes for special education students. Good luck!