Back to School Series: Evidence-based Practices for Working with Special Education Classroom Staff

As special education teachers, we rely heavily on our paraprofessionals to help us get everything we need done.  We are put in to the role of manager that, frankly, many of us are not prepared for.  In our Back to School blog series, we will discuss strategies for working with paraprofessionals that will lead to postive outcomes.


Think back to when you were in school to become a special education teacher.  You probably heard a lot about differentiation, quite a bit about behavior, and got good overview of data collection measures.  Try as we might, most of us get thrown in the fire during our first year of teaching.  There is one thing above most else that really throws us for a loop: managing staff in the classroom!
Far and beyond anything else, the one thing I hear concerns about are working with paras.  Most teacher preparation programs haven’t gotten it that managing classroom staff is a BIG part of being a special educator.  Most of us are not ready to be thrown in to this role as classroom manager, while also not really having the authority to dole out formal feedback, implement punitive consequences, or make decisions about keeping staff.  
I had a former BCBA supervisor that used to talk all the time about ABAing people- ABAing your husband to do the dishes, ABAing your colleague to be the one to plan that science unit you just can’t stand.  Most people don’t realize ABA can be used for many things- not just kids with autism (or in my supervisor’s case, your loved ones).  One branch of ABA that I have found fascinating is what is called OBM: Organizational Behavioral Management.  Let me fill you in if you’re not aware: OBM is a branch of ABA that deals with using the same principals of Applied Behavioral Analysis to increase productivity and performance quality in businesses and corporations.  Imagine the possibilities of we all knew how to use these same principles to change our students’ behavior to change our staffs’ behavior.  Of course, it’s not as simple as using some sort of fairy tale princess token board or a visual lanyard, but like I said, the principles are still applicable.
During the month of August, we will touch upon the different methods to increase behaviors, train staff, and make the classroom reinforcing to our paras.  I can’t promise to make everything sunshine and rainbows, but hopefully you’ll be able to get some tips and tricks to managing staff.

Ready to dig in?  Here’s what we will be talking about:




As special education teachers, we rely heavily on our paraprofessionals to help us get everything we need done.  We are put in to the role of manager that, frankly, many of us are not prepared for.  In our Back to School blog series, we will discuss strategies for working with paraprofessionals that will lead to postive outcomes.

No comments

Back to Top