Where paraprofessionals help lead teachers in handling classroom instructions, substitute paraprofessionals are given the responsibility of making sure that a lead teacher never teaches a class on her own! In case a paraprofessional is unavailable, a substitute paraprofessional steps in to take care of things.
Working in the academic arena is tricky – one is responsible for shaping the future of many students so it is necessary to be a role model yourself, no matter which position you are working at. And as a substitute paraprofessional, professionalism is even more important as you have to gel in with students you don’t know from Adam! And they don’t know you! Students usually get quite quirky with new teachers and it is important for substitute teachers to be friendly, patient and extremely well-informed about their work.
Substitute paraprofessionals do not really need a degree or certification in teaching, but if they do have one, there is a great chance of moving up the ladder swiftly. If this is where you want to begin your teaching career, you will have to be knowledgeable of teaching practices, possess the ability to get along with students of different ages and temperaments and be extremely flexible with your schedule.
Working as a substitute paraprofessional has some limitations though. For instance, one cannot create curriculum or impart lessons unless specifically instructed by the lead teacher. What you can do as a substitute paraprofessional is given in the list below:
• Instruct assigned classes according to specific instructions provided by the school / lead teacher
• Understand teaching methodologies and daily schedule of each class
• Monitor students in accordance to directions provided by lead teacher
• Present a positive role model for teacher by engaging in appropriate behavior and conversation with them
• Create a classroom environment conducive to learning a wide variety of concepts
• Observe students for signs of distress or behavior issues and attempt to handle the situation immediately
• Assist in imparting lessons by providing needed logistical support to the lead teacher
• Encourage students to set and maintain standards of appropriate behavior within the classroom
• Guide students in classroom assignments and activities both individually and in groups
• Collect teaching materials and arrange them appropriately for use by the lead teacher
• Keep bulletin boards and classroom displays up to date and assist in checking notebooks and assignments
• Check and record students’ attendance and handle records while maintaining a high level of confidentiality
• Assist young students with washing up and toilet routine and encourage them to eat their lunches