Educator Ayo Jones says that classroom teams are like arranged marriages. You don’t have much say in who you end up with, but you have to support each other, work together, and stay focused on the kids. Before Jones was a teacher, she supported in the classroom with a partner she would have moved the stars for to try to help, while barely wanting to lift a finger for another partner. However, this is not the way it should be. Even though it is unlikely you will be best friends with every team member, it is essential to stay focused on what is most important: the students.
Of course, this may be easier said than done. To make things easier, here are a few ways to help set expectations for your partner relationships.
Setting expectations early
Clear and mutual expectations need to be set early in working with your classroom partner. When you first meet your team or partner, you should sit down with them and discuss the roles and responsibilities you’ll each be taking. Ask what your partner can expect from you and vice versa. This will help to create a mutual understanding in order to avoid friction or tension later down the road.
These expectations don’t only apply to your relationship with your partner; they also apply to your students. When working with a new partner or team, be sure to set expectations for students and their lessons. What students are supposed to be doing and what they’re supposed to be learning are two different things, so it’s a great idea to tap into the outcome so that you can be more effective in supporting the students during activities. If you’re having trouble with this, know that lesson plans often state the objective; or you can ask your teacher partner prior to instruction. If all else fails, you can check the IEP or state standards.
The 5 keys
If you’ve been having trouble building your team, Ayo Jones created this course for you. Jones, an educator with over 15 years of experience, knows that it can be difficult getting adjusted to a new partner or team. She created this course to help you with the transition.
Ms. Jones goes in-depth into the 5 keys of teamwork in special education and gives documents and examples to help you manage the roles and responsibilities of everyone on your team. This course is excellent for both experienced and inexperienced paraeducators who need training for their special education job duties. It can also serve as a partnered training between a teacher and their para partner. By the end of the course, you’ll have a better understanding of the importance of your team for students with disabilities along with how to make that team exceptional.
In this 30-minute course presented by Noodle Nook, participants will learn:
• Why expectations matter on a team
• How to set expectations on your team
• Why you need an emergency plan
• How to get answers from your team
• Ways to collaborate with your team
• What good communication looks like on a team
• How to approach team meetings
• How to appreciate and celebrate your special ed team