Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Day in the Life of a Paraprofessional

Both Mike and Melissa Harrington work as paraprofessional's by day. Mike works at the local Jr. High school with an awesome student who only needs help with a few daily tasks. Melissa works at an elementary school splitting her time between English Language Learners and Social-Emotionally Disabled students. It is her daily life we will take a closer look at and from which we will glean some wonderful teacher moments.

Every morning, Mrs. Harrington, as she is known by her students, begins with a group of three 2nd grade boys who are all English Language Learners. It is this group of boys that often bring Mrs. Harrington the greatest laughs. (Two recent accounts of her times with these gentlement will be featured at the end of this article under the sub-title English Language Laughs.)

After working with these small balls of fire, Mrs. Harrington continues her work with the English Language by assisting a group of kindergartener's whose main task is learning to follow directions, it is proving quite the undertaking. Next, she has the pleasure of working with a 3rd grade student who is in his second year of learning the English Language. He can provide some challenges as he desires to disregard all he's ever known in his home language but shines most days, especially on those when he is given the opportunity to draw. The rest of Mrs. Harrington's morning is spent working in the classroom one-on-one or with a couple kids at time on various English tasks.

After taking a short break to read for pleasure and eat her lunch, Mrs. Harrington enters her afternoon of working in the special education rooms. This is an ever-changing job as the needs of the children are often changing and it requires a most flexible attitude and schedule. This part of her day tends to provide the greatest challenges but also some of the greatest rewards as she is able to watch certain children overcome or have small moments of truly enjoying their own childhood.

By the end of the day, Mrs. Harrington is thankful to have the opportunity to work with so many children, receiving great learning opportunities and moments strictly for laughter.

English Language Laughs
A few weeks ago Mrs. Harrington 2nd grade group was receiving a "lecture" of sorts from their teacher regarding the need to go on to college. The boys then began talking of their love for wrestling and wondering if that was something they could do in college. "Of Course!" replied Mrs. Harrington. However, within moments it was clear that the wresting the boys were interested in was the WWE-RAW. From there developed the following conversation:
Child: "Is the WWE in Cheyenne?"
Mrs. H: "No."
Child: "Well, when I'm old enough to drive I'm going to drive until I find the WWE!"
More recently, Mrs. Harrington was teaching her students some new vocabulary. The teaching of this word sounded like this:
Mrs. H: "Today we're going to learn the word annual. What word?"
Boys: "Annual."
Mrs. H: "Any ideas what annual might mean?"
Child 1: "I know. It's like: Annual do my laundry. Annual get me a drink."

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