Cultivating positive para-educator/educator relationships
Professional relationships are like plants: They require care and attention to grow and fully develop. Cultivate your crop of work relationships as you would any personal relationship. If you share, communicate and are aware of your strengths and weaknesses, your relationships with colleagues will bloom.
Share your vision for the future with the teachers or para-educators you work with. Take time to get to know them and their professional goals. All educators strive to provide students the best learning experiences possible; discuss ways you can work together to give these experiences to your students.
Problems arising from dealing with diverse personalities and differences of opinion are common weeds in the garden of professional relationships. Communication is the key to killing these weeds. Sitting down with a person with whom you are having difficulties and discussing ways you can amend the situation shows that you are proactive and want to better the relationship. Be calm, and have a plan for discussing things that are bothering you. Have specific ideas for solutions to the problem, and be open to compromise.
Nonverbal communication is often overlooked. Be conscious of the signals you are sending with your posture, facial expressions, eye contact, tone of voice and gestures. Make sure you are sending the message you intend.
Remember that everyone has a distinct way of viewing and reacting to situations. In the end, you can control only your actions. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Try to recognize both your professional strengths and areas in which you need improvement. Working on personal growth can help your relationships thrive.
All relationships require maintenance to grow. Practice mindfulness and communication, and watch your relationship garden flourish!