It’s all about connecting–Training for paraprofessionals

Yesterday I had the opportunity to do a training, with our school social worker, for the paraprofessionals in our school district.  We had a professional development day, so it was nice to be able to talk to some people I don’t always get to talk with and learn with them.

Our task was to motivate and talk with our paras about connecting and motivating students.  We had a mixture of experienced teacher assistants and aides and ones who were just beginning.  We provided plenty of opportunities for everyone to share their experiences and it was great to see everyone learning from each other.

We started the day off with this video:

And then gave them this quote to think about:

The very intention to teach is an act of love.

 The next few slides are below:

This survey is interesting:

Then I asked everyone to shake hands.  They all looked at me like I was crazy, but they did.  Next I asked them to shake hands with someone different. . .this time however, that person was someone they didn’t care for and had a horrible, contagious disease.  Once again they did.  It was interesting to see their actions and expressions.  I asked them to shake one last time but this time pretending that it was with someone who was very important and they were very excited to see.  Again I watched and listened.  It was interesting to see the differences.  

We talked about the differences and related it to working with students. . .thus our connecting and making a meaningful difference.  (Notice how that first quote is important!)

From there we played a little game to make sure we all knew some of the terms used when we were working with our students. . .

Then, we went back to talking about connecting. 

We all know that when we work in a school, we need to make other connections too.  Knowing how to connect with teachers is also important and will strengthen our relationships with our students.

 We asked everyone to think about themselves, as communication starts with what we say and how we say it.

We talked for a while and then showed this video:

From there, we tried to pull everything together.
We asked the group these questions:

Lastly, we shared with them this video:

Really, the very intention to teach is an act of love, and if we go back to the slide with the student survey, kids think of their paraprofessional as their primary teacher.  They have the possibility to be that student’s favorite teacher.  The one they will think back of when they think of feeling loved and connected in school.  

While this was for our paraprofessionals, I think we as educators need to realize the importance of having students feel connected, loved, valued, and heard.  I know that how I want my students to feel.

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