The education system has countless unrecognized champions who dedicate themselves to the pursuit of student success. These unsung heroes include paraprofessionals, often called “paras,” who play an essential role in classrooms nationwide. Learn more about their identity, roles and responsibilities, and why they are indispensable in education.
Who are Paraprofessionals?
They are dedicated professionals who work with certified teachers to support students at every level and in specialized programs. Additionally, paraprofessionals are known by many names – Teaching Assistants, Instructional Aides, and Educational Aides. Their primary goal is to improve the learning experience for every student.
Roles and Responsibilities
Paraprofessionals have multiple roles in the classroom that make them incredibly valuable to teachers and students.
- Student Support – Paraprofessionals provide one-to-one or small-group assistance to students who require additional help to understand concepts or complete assignments. They assist in adapting teaching materials to accommodate diverse learners.
- Classroom Management – Paraprofessionals help maintain a conducive learning environment by assisting the teacher in implementing classroom management systems and supporting student behavior.
- Curriculum Instruction– Paraprofessionals provide follow-up instruction and reinforce the lessons provided by the classroom teacher.
- Special Education – Paraprofessionals are critical team members who support students with disabilities in all developmental areas as specified in the student’s IEP.
- Assessment and Progress Monitoring – Paraprofessionals provide support in assessing student progress and in the recording and tracking of student data.
- Language Support – Paraprofessionals with second language proficiency can support Emergent Bilinguals and English Learners; their ability to provide translation and language support is invaluable.
Five Reasons Why Paraprofessionals Matter
The presence of paraprofessionals in classrooms benefits students and educators.
- Individualized Support – They work with students who need more individualized support to address individual learning styles and needs.
- Inclusive Education – Their role is vital to ensure students with disabilities have access to quality education within the general education classroom.
- Efficient Classroom Management – Paraprofessionals support a well-managed classroom that allows teachers to focus on instruction.
- Enhance Learning – Paraprofessionals provide reinforcement and clarification that contribute to better lesson comprehension and increased academic success.
- Resource Optimization – Paraprofessionals maximize the efficiency of educational resources, making education more cost-effective.
Paraprofessionals play a significant role in schools and positively impact the lives of students and teachers each day!