Introductory Challenge

Maybe you’re already working as a parapro in special education. Maybe you’re getting ready for that role. Either way, you probably know that it’s a complex job. Often, the job involves helping students do what others take for granted. For instance: you might help a child get around the building. Or you might help a student eat meals. It might seem like these things don’t have much to do with instruction. Wrong!

For some students, getting around and eating meals does and should involve instruction. And this sort of teaching is a big challenge.

Helping with instruction is also becoming a more important part of the parapro job. In the future, you may join an instructional team. These teams include teachers and others who play a role in instruction. For example, some teams include speech pathologists and school counselors along with teachers and intervention specialists. These teams meet in order to plan, monitor, and improve instruction. Sometimes instructional teams are small—one teacher and one parapro or intervention specialist, for instance.

Here are some questions to start thinking about:

  • What will such a team expect of you (as a parapro)?
  • What is your teacher supposed to do as a team member and as your supervisor or coach?
  • How will the two of you deal with instructional matters?

Think about the questions as you watch the webinar. Think about them as you work through the rest of the unit. These are actually not easy questions for teachers, principals, or superintendents. Sure, they are easy to ask, but that’s it. Actually answering them is difficult. Everyone on the team needs to think about them. They can use the answers to make decisions about how to work well together.

Go ahead and jot down some of your thoughts. At the end of the unit, we’ll circle back to these questions. That’s because the unit is going to help you come up with answers.