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We don't want to be like teachers

FURTHER to your article "Unions at odds over assistants" (TES, April 19), we would like to make the following comments.

We are a small group of teaching assistants currently working within an inner-city primary and we all attend an education centre to gain further qualifications.

The article presupposes that teaching assistants want to take on the role of teachers, to cover for sick colleagues. Has anyone asked them?

After reading the article we feel that although in theory it may be possible to "control" a class of infants or even junior pupils, we think an assistant may face major problems in a secondary school environment, particularly if there are children with learning difficulties or behavioural problems.

Teachers have assistants to support them in this and other areas. Who would assist the assistants?

Research shows many assistants are highly qualified. Some have degrees, even teaching diplomas, but choose to be assistants. One can only assume they do not want the extra responsibilities that accompany the role of a teacher. We are of the same mind. If we saw our role as teachers then we would qualify as such, although we feel our present roles amount to that of being much more than just "babysitters".

A Carway M Nearn S Speed Varna adult education centre Barrass Street Higher Openshaw Manchester

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