Academic Skills



Special Ed Blog Hop Week four!

Welcome back for the 4th week of the special ed blog hop! This has been a really fun hop to be apart of and we have hit some really important topics! I do think that this week is BY FAR the most important to discuss: Paraprofessionals!

There is sooooo much to discuss when it comes to Parapros in a self contained special ed classroom so I  thought I would do a top 5 list of paraprofessionals tips in the classroom!

5. We really can't do our jobs without them...At any given moment in my classroom one of my kids can have a melt down, a bathroom need, a medical need, or they need hand over hand assistance with their academics. Be so grateful for the paras that you have and if you don't feel your classroom is being serviced well enough be an advocate and try try try to get the right amount of hands in the classroom!

4. Get their advice! Some paraprofessionals have been in the classroom double or triple the amount of time that you may have been teaching. This is my 6th year teaching and one of my paras has been in the classroom for 16 years.....she knows A LOT and I ask her opinions on behavior plans all the time! Sometimes experience is just as important as a degree and a  teaching license.

3. For you newbie teachers----do not let them run the classroom. Their experience is invaluable however, remember you are still the teacher. This is YOUR classroom with YOUR name on the door, and ultimately YOUR reputation. Listen, take advice, be thankful for their help, BUT make sure you do what you know is best. I had a really awful paraprofessional relationship a couple years ago. We were close in age and she felt as if she was my equal and did not hold back when she didn't agree with me. I wish I could have reacted to her differently in the past, but I let her get to me and tear me down more often then not....and truly it wasn't good for anyone in my classroom.

2. Be an advocate for your classroom. Not all personalities jive let you administrator know at the end of the year if you think someone else might be a good fit. I LOVE and adore my two current paraprofessionals in my classroom. We don't have to speak and we know what each other is thinking. I wouldn't have gotten there with them if I did have the uncomfortable conversations with my administrators and ask for changes when I felt they were necessary.

And the NUMBER 1 Paraprofessional Tip:

1. Have fun with them! You will spend more time with these adults then most people in your life. When there is conflict talk it out and move on, laugh with them when crazy things happen in your classroom (because lets be real crazy stuff ALWAYS goes down in a classroom with students with significant needs), and when all else fails go to Happy Hour together.....nothing makes a tough day better then a glass of wine or a margarita with people that know first hand how wonderfully hard and rewarding your job is every day!

Have a wonderful week! Make sure you stop by tomorrow because the Specail ED Back to school blog hop is taking place and some AWESOME freebies will be given!

Hop on over to Mrs. H Resource Room to learn more about ParaPros in the classroom!



  1. Great tips Julie! I try to remind all new sped teachers to find the balance between hearing all of the valuable information paras offer while establishing the teacher role. Thanks for sharing!
    Mrs. P’s Specialties

  2. You are right...we do need to remember to have fun!! Our job can be so stressful...we have to have each other's back!
    Mrs. H's Resource Room

  3. Great tips! I have to be careful about going to happy hour with my ladies though. They gave me too many tequila shots on the last day of school!
    You AUT-a Know

  4. Love that advice! As a first year teacher, I am soaking this all in! Thank you!