Helper in the Classroom

March 1, 2023

A paraprofessional, or “para,” is an individual that has 60 hours of college credit and works for the school in some capacity. 

According to Kari Bethurem, most of the paras at Fair Grove work with students with disabilities. There is also a para in one of the pre-k classes that helps the teacher manage the class. 

Sandra Herman is one of the paras at Fair Grove. She stated, Years ago I was PTA president at my daughter’s school; I was always very involved. I was asked if I would be interested in helping with the kindergarteners, and getting paid for it.”

 Herman loves being a helper, she thinks it’s what she does best. She has always worked with children, she even teaches a Sunday School class and children’s church. “Every day is new and very interesting,” she says. She added that enjoys her job and coworkers very much

A typical day for a para never looks the same. Kari Bethurem is another para at the school. She commented, “I feel like there is no typical day where I work. Every day, something new is happening. That is also another thing that I like about my job. It is never boring.” Paras make sure that the student they are working with is where he or she is supposed to be. They also make sure that all of his or her needs are met. 

Bethurem is going to school to be a teacher, and really wants to be working in a school. This allows her to gain experience and rapport with the school. When she gets her certification, she is hoping that she will have an easier and better chance of being hired either at Fair Grove or another school. 

Being a para can be hard, but so rewarding. Bethurmen loves her job, and tries to see the joy on the hard days. She included that she has learned a lot from being a para (mostly patience), and she would not give that up for anything. She concluded, “I love working with the kids. I love feeling like I’m making a difference. I love to see their smiling faces every day. What could be better than that?”

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