Submitted by Theresa Freeman
Here is what Theresa had to say about her school’s awesome paraeducator Jen.
I wrote this about the paraeducator in our first grade classroom. Just want to share so paras understand how much they are appreciated. Paraprofessional: a person to whom a particular aspect of a professional task is delegated but who is not licensed to practice as a fully qualified professional. Hmmmm…no…Let’s try another definition… Wikipedia: Paraprofessional educators generally assist teachers in the classroom, supervise students outside of the classroom, or provide administrative support for teaching. Job duties range from filling teaching positions to supplementing regular classroom curriculum with additional enrichment activities for students. Well, I guess. But I’m not convinced there is a measurable range for all the ‘job duties’ Jen fulfills. She assists, provides and supplements by lifting me up, cheering me on, reminding me of all the amazing things I accomplish that I don’t realize when I’m wrongly focusing on one negative, providing much-needed Doritos and Diet Mountain Dew, randomly sanitizing and diffusing to keep us clean and healthy, keeping the candy jar and my desk drawer full of sugar, turning her paycheck into clothes and shoes and school supplies and special little random trinkets that she knows each student will adore, loving on the students and me, listening to our frustrations, fears and hardships and telling us ‘yes, that stinks’, listening to our accomplishments, praises, and blessings and squealing (literally, because Jen squeals a lot) with the biggest smile and happy tear eyes, sneakily grabbing the read aloud book and reading to the class so I can have one on one time with students, supporting the sub when one of my children needs me at home, pouring out prayers and love to my family when I’m at the hospital with a family member, keeping it real and telling me my feet are huge, reminding me how amazing life is when I face a challenge, reminding me to send my students to Art, Music or Speech when I’m super into an exciting lesson on subject/verb agreement, opening chocolate and shoving it in my face, leaving me sticky note reminders, finishing my sentences, randomly bursting into song and dance with me, supporting and cheering on parents, doing all the humble servant tasks that are often overlooked and make the biggest difference…the list goes on. I know other teachers, administrators and faculty understand and agree. Let’s celebrate the paraPROS in education!
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