Revisiting the Introductory Challenge


It’s true that teachers and parapros can be friends as well as co-workers. But the instructional mission has to come first. If the instructional mission doesn’t matter a lot to the teacher or parapro, it won’t matter much to students. That’s a tragedy for students.


You’ve been working as a paraprofessional at Eisenhauer Elementary School for three years. It’s May 15, and you’ve just learned that you’ll have a new job in the fall. You’ve been hired at an elementary school in another district. You’ll earn more money in the new district, but, really, you wanted to work elsewhere for another reason. At Eisenhauer, you didn’t feel you were able to help your students as much as you wanted. In particular, you concluded that communication overall was not good. Your supervising teacher did not communicate much with you. In fact, there were communication problems all over. There wasn’t much collaboration. Communication with parents was poor. Teachers and administrators were at each other’s throats. In the new school district you’ll be part of an instructional team, but there was very little teamwork at Eisenhauer. Also, you didn’t like how any of the staff at the school treated ELLs.

Even though you’re more than ready to leave, you’re not going to escape Eisenhauer Elementary without an exit interview with the principal!


The principal wants to learn about communication at the school, so he’s going to ask tough questions! If you’re completing this activity on your own, you might want to jot down your answers to these questions. If you’re working in a group, you can trade off who plays the role of the parapro and who plays the role of the principal.

Principal’s Questions

  • How would you characterize your relationship with your supervising teacher?
  • How might that relationship have been improved?
  • What would be your recommendations for improving collaboration across the board among the schools’ professionals and paraprofessionals?
  • How might the school improve communications between staff members and parents?
  • What linkages might the school establish with other organizations in the community? How would these linkages help the school’s students and educators?
  • What steps might we take to increase students’ involvement with academics?
  • How might teachers and paraprofessionals use data to improve classroom instruction?