My para-educator is amazing! She's been in this position for a number of years and knows exactly what to do to provide the kind of assistance that's needed in a primary classroom. The downside is, this person has accumulated a lot of sick/personal days due to her years of service. It seems like whenever I have big project planned where I'm counting on her support, she happens to be out of the building that day. I've exchanged phone numbers and asked that she send me a text when she is out but that doesn't seem to work either.
Today I was considering how to best deal with this situation since her absences do affect what I can accomplish on a given day. As I was contemplating all of this, it occurred to me that there are so many things that she does well. Yesterday, she was catching up my stack of returned homework papers. She was doing this on her own time and without me asking her to do so. She works with two book club groups each week, she helps me assess my students, she's great at art projects and displays. I could go on and on. The thing is, I can't fault her for the time that she takes off. When she is present, she makes up for the days that I refer to as "missing in action" and I appreciate her immensely for all of those things that she does so well. Sometimes, you have to accept the bad (or not so good) with the good!