Paraprofessional Appreciation Day comes on April 3 every year. Paraprofessionals are titles given to people from different fields, such as healthcare, education, law, engineering, or human resources. They are supposed to be assistants to the main professionals. Nowadays, though, paraprofessionals are gaining more respect and importance as they are becoming professionals in their own right. They can provide services that meet the needs of particular clients. For example, paralegals, who are licensed by the Law Society of Upper Canada in Ontario, can provide independent legal services to clients and even courts, albeit only in some jurisdictions. They can provide services such as court filings, settlements, auxiliary legal services, and legal research. However, most of the time these services have instructions from a solicitor attached to them.
History of Paraprofessional Appreciation Day
In the 1960s, paraprofessionals were first hired to work in schools around the U.S. with the help of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society anti-poverty program. Unfortunately, early paraprofessionals were mostly female and were all poor, which created a stigma and made them highly discriminated against as they had no choice but to do the jobs that no one else wanted to do.
Paralegals were endorsed in the U.S. in 1967 by the American Bar Association (ABA) and the first committee of legal assistants was established in 1968. The year 1970 was a turning point for paraprofessionals. Their job description changed from a dead-end job that barely paid minimum wage to a job that is sought. This all started with Velma Hill and United Federation of Teachers (UFT) President, Albert Shanker, who won their first UFT contract in 1970. The contract tripled their salaries and provided benefits that made people pursue it as a career.
It is not known when the celebration of Paraprofessional Appreciation Day began but it is suggested that it was first designated by a Missouri governor to celebrate paraprofessionals in the education sector.
Paraprofessional Appreciation Day timeline
Paraprofessionals are hired for the first time to work in schools in the U.S.
The American Bar Association endorses the concept of paralegals.
The nature of the paraprofessional job changes from a dead-end job to a sought-after job.
The iconic TV show “Emergency” fuels an expectation for advanced care from paramedics.
Paraprofessional Appreciation Day FAQs
How do you say thank you to a paraprofessional?
You can say thank you to a paraprofessional by treating them as you would any other teacher or colleague.
What should I get as a gift?
You can get a paraprofessional many things like handwritten notes, baked goods, or a customized mug.
Why is Teacher Appreciation Day celebrated?
Teacher Appreciation Day is celebrated to honor teachers and to recognize the lasting contributions they make to our lives.
How to Observe Paraprofessional Appreciation Day
Thank the paraprofessionals you know for their services. You can thank them via a note and a small gift, such as some nice flowers. You can also show your gratitude in a post on social media.
Use their help
Starting today, resolve to hire more paraprofessionals for jobs you need to be done. You will notice the difference this will make as they bring their professional expertise.
Make sure to treat them just like the main professionals. Don’t let them feel inferior as they have probably been through this bad experience a lot. Just a few nice words could do wonders.
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Why Paraprofessional Appreciation Day is Important
Paraprofessionals make life easier
They assist teachers in the classroom by working with students to help them complete their assignments or practice reading. They also help by supervising students outside the classroom and assisting teachers with clerical work.
They are more relatable
In the education setting, for example, paraprofessionals are much better at relating to and gaining the trust of our children than the main professionals. This kind of relationship with children is priceless and indispensable for their future.
Appreciating those who deserve
Paraprofessionals might be overshadowed by main professionals and might not be getting the recognition and praise they deserve. This is a day to do just that.
Paraprofessional Appreciation Day dates