January 05, 2005
I am currently a regular Middle School Social Studies teacher but have served inclusion students for three years. I had a para that was assisting the students too much, a problem that definitely needs to be addressed, even though the para was trying to do her best to assist the students. If anyone else is struggling with how to deal with a para who is helping students too much, here are some suggestions. In order to be as tactful and diplomatic as possible, I suggest you discretely, let your concerns be known to the special ed representative at your school and suggest a meeting with the three of you. At the meeting, review the special needs student's IEP's, making sure that all accommodations are being met. At that time, the head of the program and you can stress the importance of meeting the student's accommodations, but not enabling the students when there is no need. This is also a good time to emphasize the duties and responsibilities of the paraprofessional. The main thing to remember is that YOU are the teacher and defining or redefining the para's responsibilities is okay, and sometimes necessary to maintain and ensure the best learning environment for your students.