Paraprofessionals are an integral part of the classroom. Ensuring they have the training they
need to help them succeed falls on both the administration and the classroom teacher they will be
working with throughout the school year.
So, what are the best para training tips to make the school year amazing? We have compiled
some of the things every para should know and be trained in before the start of the year below.
Read on to help your para succeed in your classroom!
Tips for Training Paras
Keep Their Background in Mind
Many paras come from an education background, but many more do not. While you may have
years of teaching experience, this may be your para’s first time in the classroom. Keep in mind
that they need guidance on both teaching strategies and how the classroom works. Be
respectful and meet them where they are in terms of background and prior classroom
Confidentiality is Key
There are legal implications when it comes to working in special education. Make sure that your
para understands the importance of confidentiality. Not only does it protect the students in
their care, but it also protects their job and possibly yours as well. Be clear on when and where
it is appropriate to discuss specific student needs to preserve their confidentiality.
Procedures Should Be Clear
When working in the classroom, paras need to be made aware of and trained on the
procedures that are used. Whether it is dismissal time procedures or safety procedures in the
event of an active shooter. Their ability to reinforce and implement classroom procedures
begins with being properly trained on what is expected of them during the day.
Make IEP Goals Known
Since paras will be working with students who have IEPs, they must know and understand the
IEP goals they are helping to meet. When paras are made aware of the goals in the IEP, they are
better able to implement and address the steps needed to meet those goals. Make your paras
part of the team by including them.
Does your para know when things are happening in the classroom and where they are expected
to be during those times? Share the class schedule with your para and inform them of breaks,
lunches, duty times, etc. Clearly outlining the day’s schedule makes it easier for them to help
you and the students.
As teachers, we know that students often act out in specific ways due to things that have
nothing to do with what is being taught in the classroom. With experience, we understand that
their behavior is not a reflection of our teaching abilities. However, for paras with limited
classroom experience, they might not understand why students are being triggered or acting
out. Explaining the behavior and giving insight into your students’ struggles can create empathy
and make your para’s job a lot easier.
No matter what information you share with your paras, it is essential to treat them with
kindness and respect. They may not have the same background and teaching experience as you
do, but they are there to help. Taking the time to explain the details, expectations, and routines
allows them to help you the best as they can.