When a teacher asked us how they could support their classroom aides to help them feel like valued team members, we knew that our Really Good Teachers would have the answer. Sure enough, the responses were insightful, practical, and kind. If you’re wondering how to support your classroom aide, check out the answers below. Your aide will undoubtedly feel like part of the team in no time!
Making Classroom Aides Feel Like Part of the Team
“In my kindergarten classroom, I have an aide for 1 hour each day,” says Lydia D. in Little Rock, Arkansas. “I have assigned my part time aide to work with struggling learners. Every couple of weeks I assess the students learning in specific areas to look for growth. I always share the data with the aide.”
“I refer to my aides as “teachers” and ask their opinion regarding my students. Also, it doesn’t hurt to buy them chocolate!!” suggests Kelly C. from West Seneca, New York.
Tracy, from Andover, New Jersey, says, “Treat them like valued team members! They should be addressed and treated with respect by you and the students. Include them in classroom lessons and activities. Ask for their opinions and feedback, and listen to their suggestions. ”
“I always work with several paraprofessionals. I try to pick up clearance items throughout the year,” explains Debbie from West Lafayette, Indiana. “I just bought Valentine socks at Kohls for 70 cents each pair. I write a short rhyme and attach to the small gift. My paras work hard and need to be apreciated.”
“I have been a classroom aide for 21 years and just recently retired,” says Charlotte from San Antonio, Texas. “The best way I feel for them to be valued is to include them in some decision making, ask advice from them because them are very knowledgeable about different aspects of learning.”
“Before returning to school to earn my teacher certification, I worked as an aide. I felt most valued when a teacher would ask me to participate in the lesson in some way. Even it was just a question for me to answer,” says Janet, from Katy, Texas.
In Tempe, Arizona, Ronda says, “Having T.A.s myself, I know how important it is to let them know how valuable they are. Once in a while, I will write them a note to let them know how much they are appreciated. If I feel that they have gone over and beyond, I give them a small token of appreciation.”
“As an aide, I was included in the weekly collaboration breakfast; each teacher/aide shared about their experiences, and we talked about the expectations and the upcoming events for the week. We talked over problems and issues and discussed solutions,” says Heather from Casper, Wyoming.
Charity, in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, says, “Provide words of affirmation and get the students in on thanking the aides for their hard work. Often, adults need praise just as much as the students. ”
“Involve your aide in as many components of the school day as possible,” suggests Carol from Franklin Park, Illinois. “Have the aide give input on craft project ideas, brainstorm different behavior techniques for challenging students, and attend faculty/IEP meetings. Any time the team meets, the aide is invited to join the meeting too.”
In York, Pennsylvania, Suzanne says, “We bring a special luncheon to school during the holidays and at the end of the school year and try to work out our schedules so that we can visit a little together. We give a small thank you gift or poem to let them know that we appreciate everything thing they do.”
“I have my students address them as “Miss” or “Mrs.” or “Mr.”. I give them a small birthday gift and definitely a gift at the end of the year. I have them on the “Star of the Week” board and give them authority to discipline if needed,” says Rita from Kasson, Minnesota.
“Something my aide really appreciated,” says Cheryl from Huntsville, Texas. “The aide was included in our class photo. The company gave me two copies of the class photo. The students autographed the second class photo, framed it, and presented it to the aide.”
How do you support classroom aides? Share your ideas below!