Andrew Porter – Paraeducator
September 30, 2021
After spending a whole year online, coming back in person has been a hard adjustment for some students, and having the resources to help them is critical. One of those resources is the study skills class, an offshoot of the Lincoln special education program. Andrew Porter is a new paraeducator in teacher Linda Edington’s study skills class, and he’s excited to help with this difficult transition.
Before working at Lincoln, Porter graduated from Portland State University. He’s served as a substitute paraeducator for the past year. Porter graduated from Lincoln five years ago. He says being back is nostalgic, and working in the same place he used to learn is a great experience.
“My senior year, I had a really amazing teacher, Mr. Lynch. He was an amazing inspiration to me when I was a student. He encouraged me to speak up more in class, which encouraged me to further my education,” Porter said.
A paraeducator works in the classroom under a licensed teacher to help students learn. The study skills class works with students who have Individual Education Plans (IEPs) which create accommodations for students’ specific needs.
“Perhaps [a student] is struggling in a certain subject, or they need accommodations to make learning better for them,” Porter said. “That can be very different from student to student, so it is very specific.”
As the year progresses, Porter wants to be available for students in any way they need. This includes helping them with work from other classes, or answering any questions a student may have.
“I let students know I’m interested in English so they can come to me for help with essays. I definitely have to refresh my math a little bit; I’m not always going to have the answer for complicated math problems,” he said. “Other than that, academically I feel it’s important to have individuals you can talk to.”
Although Porter is just getting started in the class, his role is already proving to be very important. Edington, who teaches the study skills class Porter works in, thinks paraeducators are vital for the success of her students.
“It’s extremely helpful because I have three [paraeducators] who were able to help me out. They were able to each work one-on-one with a student, and it’s always going to work better when you can focus on that student and what they need,” Edington said. “They were able to really focus in and really understand what the student was working on and help them through it.”
Despite what is sometimes a tough adjustment of coming back to in-person school, Porter is staying positive. He’s excited for the year to come, and to help as many students as possible. Porter says it’s his favorite part of working at Lincoln.
“It just makes me feel good that I’m helping students prepare, I’m helping students who are struggling, and I’m helping them prepare for their adult life and to succeed,” he said. “I feel that I’m spending my time in a really valuable way.”