WHO ARE SCHOOL
The term "school paraprofessional" has been used
to describe a number of different roles within the school system.
It applies to teacher aides, who help a variety of students in the classroom
but not those with specific, special disabilities; and teacher assistants,
who are employed to provide assistance to a child or children with a specific
disability. In this category we find interpreters for hearing impaired
children, the field with which I am most familiar.
The role of paraprofessional is relatively new
within school systems and only recently have training courses been specifically
designed for individuals to do this job. Many, like myself, found
themselves learning along with the job. Some as I, had teacher training
and were a big bonus for school division boards as they could use the knowledge
and experience of the paraprofessional without paying a great deal for
The paraprofessional is often viewed by the teaching
staff as an encumbrance and many teachers are slow to realize the usefulness
of this resource and to allow this person to fulfill their role to the
fullest. Teaching is a career where one does not expect to have to share
his/her classroom with another adult. It is difficult for some teachers
to accept this. Many feel that they are being assessed by someone
else and are not in full control of their classroom. Universities
and colleges, unfortunately, do not prepare teachers or administrators
to work with paraprofessionals and indeed, often do not prepare them
to work with children who have disabilities. This frequently leaves the
teacher in a position where she has less knowledge about working with the
specific disability than the teacher assistant.
When the paraprofessional comes to the classroom,
there are generally many obstacles to overcome and often he/she is made
to feel unwelcome and inferior. It is so important that the
administrators, teachers, paraprofessionals and others who are working
with a certain child work together as a team and acknowledge the experience
and thinking that each team member brings to the team.
Learning Disabilities OnLine
has some great resource material on special needs students.
Deaf Resource Library
is an excellent source of links for all interested in deaf issues.
I welcome communication especially from those who are also interpreters
within the school system and from hearing impaired students who have been
Deaf Linx great source on hearing loss with a wealth of
information on hearing aids.
Career Resources for Americans with Disabilities - American Resources to assist people with disabilities in their search for jobs
Causes of Hearing Loss in Children - Information on Otitis Media, Congenital and Aquired causes of Hearing Loss
If you know of any good sites, please let me know.
Looking for helpful teacher