Assistants are worth double

21st February 2003 at 00:00
MY classroom assistant, Val, taught me everything I needed to know about teaching reception children, after spending years at middle-school level.

She suggested, cajoled and generally guided from behind. In fact she was an absolutely perfect model for a teacher trainer. She could take the class with one hand tied behind her back, but I rarely asked.

I didn't have the cheek to ask her to do a job for which I was paid three times as much and, initially at least, had about a third of her expertise.

Classroom assistants should have a classroom observation based on agreed classroom practice criteria, and a simple test based on questions such as:

"What would you do if I?" and "How do you approachI?" They would, of course, pass with flying colours and should immediately have their salaries doubled. They deserve no less.

Michael Todd

27, Main Street

Askham Bryan

York

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