One of the biggest challenges we face every year is getting our instructional assistants( IAs) trained in helping teachers in the classroom. It is not unusual if staff is hired for our special education classrooms who have never worked with students who have special needs. They may have a huge heart for children, but they just don’t have a background in what to do when behaviors occur.
Often the classroom teacher does not have time to coach/mentor a new staff member because our paraprofessional staff can only work very restricted hours each week. That means that there is zero time for anything extra during the day and it’s all hands on deck when the buses arrive.
If behaviors occur, often the teacher must stop what he/she is doing to address something that the IA can’t handle. As a result, the children who were getting direct instruction from the teacher are now off task, losing instructional minutes and possibly starting to have behavior issues because the teacher’s attention is elsewhere!
Have you heard of the arcade game Wack a Mole? In this game a little “mole” pops his head up out of one of many holes and your job is to bop the mole over the head before he retreats to score points. The moles pop up randomly everywhere and it’s a challenge to know where the head will pop up next and to see how quickly you can respond to this craziness!
Well, obviously we’re not bopping children on the head, but the random pop up behaviors that has staff running from child to child around the room totally reminds me of this chaotic, stress producing game!
So what to do? Take a look at this portable visual support for STAFF on what to do when a child is doing both the right things and the wrong things!
I want to give a shout out and a thank you to my new friend, Behavior Communicates subscriber and K-2 principal of Jenks West Elementary School in Tulsa, OK, Angela Hobson, for welcoming me to her school, giving me a tour and being a huge supporter of special education! She and some of her staff attended, the Down Syndrome Society of Tulsa’s conference where I presented earlier this month, which speaks volumes to me.
Support for our students starts at the top and when you have an administrator who is willing to take the time to learn more about how to educate children with disabilities, you’re on your way to a program that can make a difference in so many lives! Kudos to you, Angela, and all of the other administrators who recognize the value of quality professional development which in turn leads to quality instruction for our students who need us the most!
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You take care and I’ll see you next time!