What Is a Paraprofessional?

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A paraprofessional assists a teacher in the classroom or helps with other school programs under the supervision of the principal. Paraprofessionals play an integral part in the educational process.

1 Credentials

Paraprofessionals are usually non-degreed or hold an associate's degree in a non-specific major. They may be working at the school as part of their college education program.

2 Experience

Many paraprofessionals have experience in jobs outside education. They may want to see if teaching is a possible career, and will work as a teacher's assistant to get a view of the classroom and the day-to-day duties of teaching.

3 Positions

Paraprofessionals might be teacher's assistants, or they may work in other areas of the school--like the computer lab or the resource room--helping students. They may also be trained in computer-based tutoring programs to help dyslexic or other struggling students.

4 Benefits

Paraprofessionals enhance the overall educational program at the school by reinforcing classroom instruction. They also make a difference with students by giving one-on-one tutoring and individual attention to those in need.

5 Effects

Paraprofessionals can have a positive effect on students' performance on test scores. They can also help at-risk students raise reading and math scores by working with teachers to design and implement instructional interventions.

Karen Hollowell has been teaching since 1994. She has taught English/literature and social studies in grades 7-12 and taught kindergarten for nine years. She currently teaches fourth grade reading/language and social studies. Hollowell earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Mississippi and her Master of Arts in elementary education from Alcorn State University.

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