Year: 1998-1999
Month: November
Leader: Group G

Situation/Case Study:

Paraprofessional oversteps her bounds: Paraprofessional works with 2 special education students, one in A.M. and one in P.M. The paraprofessional is very good and takes initiative. Called and said she was me. Pretended to be me and called the bus company (CP) student doesn't need to hold hand because of goal. Questions my teaching. Told what students should be doing, i.e., adding with students who doesn't even know numbers. Yet did addition with student. B. (teacher) writes directions, explicit, verbally etc. Paraprofessional agrees, but then does own thing anyway.

The teacher would feel a loss of control in a situation like this. She may feel frustrated because her directions are not being followed. She would not know how to express her wishes in a tactful manner so she does not hurt the paraprofessional's feelings. A teacher in this situation might feel "used", angry, like his/her identity was stolen, unsure of what to do or say next. A teacher in this situation would feel angry, frustrated and confused. She has discussed the issues with her paraprofessional. The paraprofessional says she understands and will change her methods then the paraprofessional continues to do exactly what she wants - in direct opposition of her supervisor. A teacher in this position might feel frustrated on how to approach this person, challenged or inadequate. She feels frustrated, angry, and wants to solve the situation peacefully. The teacher in this situation may feel confused because directions are clear, but not followed and if the paraprofessional were argumentative or up front about not agreeing, there would be an opportunity for further communication. "Instead, I keep catching her doing things I've asked her not to." A teacher in such an event might feel disrespected because this paraprofessional (who is not certified or even partially certified) is questioning and overriding the teachers directions and professional judgement. A teacher in such an event might feel conflicted while admiring this person for being creative while on the other hand the colleague appears to be disrespectful of her position. A teacher in such an event may feel betrayed when her suggestions are not being followed especially when she appears to agree and to empower that person with responsibilities, and betrayed by lack of respect for going as her alias. A teacher in such an event might feel frustrated, anxious, because she wants her requests honored but doesn't want to "rock the boat" and alienate the paraprofessional plus we're not trained to supervise paraprofessionals. A teacher in such an event might feel angry because there is not respect for boundaries. A teacher in such an event might feel angry because her teacher role was challenged inappropriately. A teacher in such an event might feel frustrated because she is vying for the leadership (decision-maker) role. She feels angry that the paraprofessional has used her name to inquire about fieldtrips, supplies, etc. She can't clearly define roles in this relationship.

Theories behind practice:
Training is so minimal for teachers in supervisory roles - what's best for kids is always at the core of any decision - what are the boundaries when multiple people are involved in classroom - new paraprofessional orientation - what are the guidelines - reflect on past reviews

Impact on others:


Teacher's reflection 2 weeks later: As the school year has progressed, I believe the paraprofessional is gaining respect for me as a teacher. This respect, along with continuing to give not only clear and concise directions, but explanations as well; the paraprofessional is following directions better. In January, Autism consultants will be making a visit to offer suggestions. Hopefully empowering her to be a part of programming for the child she works with during this visit will result in her understanding directions better and then following them accordingly. I've always believed respect must be earned and this experience working with this paraprofessional has been a good learning opportunity for me. Just because I am the teacher, doesn't automatically commend respect. It must be earned.