“It’s a Balancing Act!”: Exploring School/Work/Family Interface Issues Among Bilingual, Rural Nebraska, Paraprofessional Educators

Authors


*Rochelle L. Dalla is an Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences at University of Nebraska—Lincoln, Omaha, NE 68182-0214 (dalla@unomaha.edu).

Pallabi MoulikGupta is a Research Assistant in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences at University of Nebraska—Lincoln, Omaha, NE 68182-0214 (pallabi_g@yahoo.com).

William E. Lopez is a Senior Lecturer in Teaching, Learning, and Teacher Education at University of Nebraska—Lincoln, Omaha, NE 68182-0214 (wlopez2@unl.edu).

Vicky Jones is a Candidate, Extended Education Coordinator in the Northeast Research and Extension Center at University of Nebraska—Lincoln, Omaha, NE 68182-0214 (vjones@unlnotes.unl.edu).

Abstract

Abstract: Nebraska’s rural school districts have a rapidly growing Spanish-speaking student body and few qualified instructors to meet their educational needs. This investigation examined factors that promote and challenge the ability of rural Nebraska paraprofessional educators to complete an online B.S. program in elementary education, with a K-12 English as a second language endorsement. Interviews focused on the interface between school, work, and family, with special attention on family system change and adaptation. Twenty-six bilingual paraprofessional educators enrolled (or formerly enrolled) in the education program were interviewed. Twenty were first- (n= 15) or second-generation (n= 5) immigrant Latino/as. Influences of program involvement on the marital and parent-child relationships are discussed, as are implications for future work with unique populations.

Ancillary