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Working effectively with support professionals in the classroom

Welcome back to another episode of the Edumagic podcast! Today's episode discusses the importance of working with support staff in the classroom. Our guest is Katie Leckenby, a Slippery Rock University professor and special education expert. She shares her insights and strategies for building relationships with PCAs and maximizing their support in the classroom. So, let's tune in and prepare for a jam-packed episode filled with valuable tips and advice.


The episode is divided into four sections. In the first section, we'll define PCAs and differentiate them from TSS workers. The second section will provide tips and strategies for students interested in working as a PCA. We'll discuss the importance of gaining experience, exploring different special education settings, pre-interviewing the school and district, and building a strong resume. In the third section, we'll focus on building relationships with support staff in the classroom. We'll discuss how to overcome intimidation, communicate roles and responsibilities, ask for advice from experienced staff, and learn from observing support staff in action. The final section will address how to deal with disjointedness in the classroom. We'll share tips on how to stay focused on the purpose and passion, communicate effectively, and work through disagreements.

As educators, we must build strong relationships with these invaluable members of our teams. Here are key takeaways from our conversation:


Communication is key

  • From day one, it's essential to establish open lines of communication with your PCAs.

  • Discuss the students' needs and goals, clarify roles and responsibilities, and create a collaborative environment where everyone feels heard and valued.


Embrace the power of delegation

  • As a student teacher or field student, it's natural to feel the need to do everything yourself to prove your competence. But remember, you're part of a team, and delegating tasks to PCAs allows them to use their expertise and support your students effectively.

  • Trust in their abilities and appreciate the diverse skills they bring to the table.


Address disagreements with empathy

  • In any team, disagreements may arise, and it's important to address them with empathy and respect.

  • Remember your shared goal of student success and approach conflicts with an open mind.

  • Effective communication and proactive problem-solving can help resolve conflicts and strengthen relationships within the team.

Remember your "why"

In challenging situations, it can be helpful to reflect on your purpose in education and share your passions with support staff to build relationships and common goals.


Be adaptable

  • Special education classrooms often have multiple support personnel, each with different roles.

  • Embrace the opportunity to learn from their expertise and work together to provide the best possible education for your students.


Building relationships with support staff is as important as building relationships with students and co-op. Collaboration and communication are crucial in special education classrooms.




Get in touch with Dr. Leckenby https://www.instagram.com/drleckenby/


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