Letters extra: Classroom assistants

16th February 2001 at 00:00
A voice to be heard

I bought the TES (January 12) for the first time in several years in the hope of finding something relevant to me. I did find two small references but that said it all. I'm one of the thousands of unrecognised, teaching assistantslearning support assistantsclassroom assistants in a primary school.

The job has changed significantly in the ten years that I've been doing it. Like thousands of others, apart from the usual photocopying, sharpening pencils and putting up displays, I teach groups of children in all subjects across the curriculum, attend planning and staff meetings, help to supervise school outings and residential trips, actively partake in school policy committees, help to formulate and implement IEPs, teach whole classes in an emergency, (open plan classrooms allow this), and work and liaise with visiting professionals.

I've attended over 25 training courses, many alongside teachers, and completed all the literacy and numeracy training. I also regularly work over my paid hours and help to run various clubs and activities. Many primary schools in today's 'inclusive' education would encounter significant difficulties in running effectively and efficiently without us.

Credit and social class rating ranks us alongside teachers but I know that many parents would be horrified to learn that my take home pay is just over pound;500 per month! Train as a teacher I hear you say! My age and single parent status mean that my financial options for doing this are prohibitive and unrealistic. Don't get me wrong, I love my job and I work in a wonderful school where the head treats us extremely well and recognises our expertise, but I am now forced to consider options for earning extra income. All we want is financial and professional recognition for the skills we have and the job we actually do now, not the misconceived perception of the old fashioned 'classroom helper'. More articles and feedback on this would be more than welcome.

Devon teaching assistant name and address suppliednbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;

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