Impact Feature Issue on Volunteerism by Persons with Developmental Disabilities
Being Part of the Partnership
Being in the Long Beach Paraeducator Partnership has opened up new things for us as people and as educators. Each week we take back knowledge, theories, and strategies that help us work with the culturally diverse children in our school district. Communicating with other paraeducators and the support that we give each other are the most rewarding experiences and keep us motivated. The paraeducators in our cohort share information on classes, classroom techniques, how to deal with behavior problems, and the many personal issues we face while working and going to school. The partnership provides an opportunity for all of us to grow as educators and legitimize what we already do. It gives us an opportunity to shine on our way to becoming teachers, while we are working on our degrees and credentials.
One of the highlights of the program so far happened when our program coordinator asked us to be presenters at the California Paraeducator Conference, and we were shocked because we didn’t think that we had anything to say that anyone wanted to hear. But our conference room filled up quickly with listeners, and we were delighted at the end of our presentation when hands were raised with questions. At the conference we also secured a lot of valuable information to apply, practice, and share in our classrooms. There were more than 1000 paras there just like us, all seeking knowledge. It was truly an amazing experience.
Contributed by and Alayne Pickens, Paraeducators, Long Beach Unified School District, Long Beach, California.