Sunday, July 19, 2015

SPED Summer Bloghop {Week 4: Paraprofessionals}

 I hope you have been enjoying our sped summer blog hop! This week is all about working with Paras! Ahhh, a question many of us special educators struggle with! 

Some of us get lucky and get great paraprofessionals, and some of us aren't so lucky! I have experienced both! I feel very fortunate at this time to have two of the best aides I could ask for! But I've also had some bad experiences as well! 

One mistake I found I made when I first started teaching was not being a part of the interview process. Be a part of this process!

My school just hired people for the position as they were referred from the district office, and being a new teacher, I didn't know any different.

 My first year teaching at this school, I got an aide that could not stand germs, she couldn't stand stinky kids, and heaven forbid a kid draw back a fist and attempt to hit her. This lady was at the sink washing her hands more than she was working with kids! Really? That doesn't work in my classroom! My class consists of snotty nose, stinky kids that come to school unbathed and wearing the same clothes, and kids that hit, kick, spit, scratch, throw, and I even had one one year that would pee on you! 

I decided at that point, that it was time to get involved with the process! I went to my principal and requested to be a part of the interview process in the future and expressed my concerns. She was more than fine with it and was in fact pleased that I wanted to be involved. 

So this led me to come up with some tools to better prepare myself and prevent this from happening in the future! I knew she was transferring at the end of the year and that I would be getting someone new again. So I prepared some Interview Questions, a Paraprofessional Code of Ethics, and a Para Checklist for myself. Don't worry, you'll get to download all of it!

Here are my Interview Questions

I wanted to make sure that the applicant's I would be interviewing understood what my classroom was like and what they were going to have to deal with. Their reactions say it all when some of these questions are asked. It also gives them the opportunity to back out if they do not think they can handle the situations discussed in the interview. My principal even asked me if she could have a copy of my interview questions last year to use at an interview she was conducting for another teacher. ((Smiles)) 

If and once they were hired, I wanted to provide some guidelines and code of ethics to them, as one of my first aides had broken many code of ethics in my classroom....which was my fault because I was not prepared and had not participated in the interview process! So now that this was changing, I prepared this Code of Ethics that I go over with them upon their employment!

And then, to help me remember everything that I need to do to get them acclimated, I made a personal checklist for myself!

I have been using these documents for the last 3 years, and they have been very beneficial for me! I hope they will help you too! You can click on each one to download it for free! 

If you'd like to see how I utilize and schedule my paras during the instructional day, you can read all about that here.

I also use this communication log in my para's centers for them to write notes to me about my aha moments, or something a child may be struggling with in the center, etc. I really love that I started doing this! It's been great and I also used it as evidence for one of my Professional Standards during my evaluation. 

And of course, what's a blog hop without a giveaway, right? 

Pin the very first image up top to Pinterest, leave your pin URL in a comment below, and one random winner will get to choose any item from my store! 

Thanks a Bunch!

Now head over to......
Yo u AUT-a Know 


  1. I love your checklists! Last year I had a different para about every three weeks and I am hoping this year to get a new para (and a permanent one). These checklist samples will be great to help with that transition! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Wow! How lucky you are to be able to assist with the interviews! That's not how it works in our board! Love your forms too! Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Wonderful advice and forms! I just posted about the same topic on my blog and did a periscope last week! I pinned the image to my special ed. board on pinterest Thank you for spreading this valuable information!

    Teaching Special Kids

  5. Thanks so much for sharing these lists! I will have a new assistant this year!

  6. Love these tips!

  7. Fantastic post Traci!! Excellent resources and tips for any teacher who is new to having paras in their class. I especially like the checklist of things to remember when I get a new staff member. Thanks for sharing!!
    Mrs. P’s Specialties

  8. Thank you for sharing these because this is not taught in college!

  9. Those interview questions are just what I'm looking for!! We are hiring 3 new paras and I get to sit in on those meetings! This came at the perfect time!
    Mrs. H's Resource Room

  10. Those interview questions are just what I'm looking for!! We are hiring 3 new paras and I get to sit in on those meetings! This came at the perfect time!
    Mrs. H's Resource Room

  11. Traci,
    I love your forms! The code of ethics is awesome! I might keep those interview questions handy if we ever have paraprofessional interviews again. We hired a bunch a couple years ago and they've stuck around, yay!
    You AUT-a Know

  12. Thank you so much for sharing this! I am making a communication binder as we speak!


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