Often, students on an IEP have trouble communicating how they’re feeling or if they have a problem that is affecting their ability to learn. This may often lead to behavior problems with those students.
Improving collaboration in the classroom between members of the teaching team is essential to improving the overall classroom experience for teachers, paraprofessionals and students – and it may take something as simple as a 3x5 index card to accomplish.
For paraprofessionals who juggle a workload that includes focusing on dozens of specific students throughout the teaching day, making sure that all of the students they work with are having their needs met can be quite a challenge.
As opposed to co-teaching, where teaching responsibilities are often shared between two colleagues, the teacher-paraprofessional relationship is a bit different, with the teacher taking more of a supervisory role. This can influence attitudes that are reflected in phrases like “just a paraprofessional,” when paras actually play a much more important role in the classroom than many realize.
As part of the classroom team, paraprofessionals often must deal with student behavioral issues just as their teacher does. Since it’s a question of when a behavioral issue will arise, not if, the teacher-paraprofessional team should develop a plan of action to manage behavioral issues and refocus students on learning.