When we think of the people responsible for educating our children, we typically think of teachers. But there is another unsung hero in America’s classrooms whose job is just as important as a teacher’s — the paraprofessional.
There are currently more than 250,000 paraprofessionals working in schools across the country. They typically assist 10-25 students per year by providing support to those with disabilities, English as a Second Language students and at-risk students. Typically, paraprofessionals require two years of higher education, an associate’s degree or some form of certified training.
Paraprofessionals, also known as paras, para-pros or para-educators, bring immeasurable value to the classroom. Students with disabilities, or those who need additional instruction, require extra attention in order to help them understand the lesson. Paraprofessionals help teachers save valuable class time by working with these students and helping them keep pace with their peers. Without the added help, these students could fall behind.
It’s also important for a disabled child’s development to be among their peers. Paraprofessionals allow these students to join the classroom rather than relegating them to special education classes. Paras act as a bridge between these two learning environments, helping the students learn valuable social skills.
Many times, a para’s duties go beyond classroom work. Some also help with disabled students’ physical needs, like feeding, cleaning or moving those who can’t do it themselves. They also help deal with any behavioral problems the students might have.
Paras are not technically teachers, but rather everyday people from the community. They provide a vital connection between the local educational institutions and the communities they serve.
Working as a paraprofessional can be an extremely rewarding career. But paras are currently in short supply. Para’s in many districts are currently stretched too thin, forcing them to spend less time with each individual student. Ultimately, it’s the students who suffer.
MHED is currently hiring passionate and dedicated substitute paraprofessionals. MHED paraprofessionals work as needed when the regular para is unable to work. If you have a high school diploma and love helping and working with children, apply today: https://mhed.tedk12.com/hire/ViewJob.aspx?JobID=20