Losing our jobs
Yesterday I found out that some of my team will lose their jobs. They are teaching assistants, all except one are women. The teachers teach 30 children in their class but the expectations are very high as they must know every child individually and give them all individual targets and different teaching depending on what they need. There are big ranges of ability in the class and when the teaching assistants are not present the teacher often does not meet the needs fully of the children. The teaching assistant often listens to the children reading and helps them to remember what they are learning from lesson to lesson, they help children who do not understand the lesson and they help them to speak clearly and with good words. They also help children develop confidence by praising them, smiling and encouraging them to be independent. They manage tears and children who cannot wash themselves. They do many jobs but are not well paid and appreciated by our current government.
The reason for the lack of support for teaching assistants is due to some research findings and they have raised many issues for us. It was found that teaching assistants spent too much time with children with special education needs and these children needed more support from their teachers. A strong point. It was also shown that teaching assistants did not have effective impact on the progress of children. Now this is more debatable because I have seen it with my own eyes and have evidence to prove otherwise, if and if teaching assistants are well trained and have time to do their jobs properly under the guidance of the teacher. I have provided a lot of training to teaching assistants but they are often used to cover other teachers absences and are taken away from delivering their intervention programmes (extra teaching in a small group). My team are beginning to get very frustrated and they are working together with their union to try to keep,their jobs.
The problem we have in England is that the children and parents do not realise how lucky they are to get the personalised education that is offered. Many of the children I work with come from families with many siblings, parents are unemployed and because our cost of living is so high these families are struggling to provide healthy food and extra resources to help their children learn. Most families do,have access to the internet but not all of them. Poverty is an issue in England as we provide breakfast and school dinners for them and some children do not wear school uniform or do not have a school bag. The problem is that the majority do so the others are often forgotten. The teaching assistant is often acting as an extra parent as some of our parents left school early and had a bad time at school themselves. Our society expects people to have a good education but some children and families need more of a helping hand. I worry that the compassion in schools will be lost, teachers will not have the time to provide the therapeutic care that teach our children to be good citizens. The pressure for good results is pushing other values out and surely it is about the balance of both. I would really like to hear your view on this matter.
Thank you very much for listening.