I’m sure everyone tells you how important it is to train your paraprofessionals. If they don’t know how your classroom runs, have each students behavior plan memorized, and know their duties how can they be successful right?
Well, having time to train paraprofessionals is often considered a luxury. We don’t have prep time, they don’t have any extra paid minutes in the day, and we often get new people throughout the year thrown into the mix.
How can we combat this?
We couldn’t run our programs without our amazing paraprofessionals, so let’s make sure they have the tools to be successful!
Having a place your paraprofessionals can easily go to reference things is a lifesaver. I have always had an “info binder” that I can direct paraprofessionals to when they enter my classroom for the first time. It is helpful for subs or new paraprofessionals to have some information about their role, expectations, the schedule and the students in the classroom before jumping into things.
The binder pages should contain all information that is a NEED TO KNOW in your classroom. It should be quick and to the point. It should contain information about schedules, routines, reward systems, behavior plans, allergies, sensory needs, and most importantly expectations.
I ask all staff that begins to work in my classroom in any capacity, find 5-10 minutes to read through this binder while our students are on a break, or at therapies or specials in order to get themselves up to date with classroom procedures.
I then find 5-10 minutes after school to meet with them to discuss any questions, problems, or concerns that they may have going forward. I also keep a blank page in the background for notes and questions and encourage all staff to keep notes on student data sheets when ever a question about a plan or program may come up. I then can respond to that or find time to model a program for them the following day.
I also find classroom reminder signs, or visuals for adults, to be just as important as our visual reminders for our kids. I hang these on my door to remind staff that may stop by throughout the day what the expectations in my classroom are. The prompting hierarchy is posted throughout the room, as it is easy to forget and simple to glance up to remember!
I like to laminate and use these schedules as dry erase boards to update and assign duties weekly or monthly. These signs throughout the room are a quick and easy way to keep staff updated with the goings on in the classroom, without having formal meeting or planning time together.
It is so important for all staff to feel “in the know” in order to best serve students. Remember to always update your staff on new information or things going on with the student that they should be aware of to their job effectively. This often takes just a few minutes each Monday morning to go down the list of students with any updates.
& always remind your staff that our students are master imitators, you are our role model when you walk in our room!
How do you train your paraprofessionals?