Working as Learning Mentor and Special Needs Teaching Assistant, I absolutely loved my job. The timetable I wrote was something I was almost never able to stick to as children needed me at the most inopportune times. Trying to figure out how to help children overcome their problems at school has always been extremely rewarding.
And then there were Mondays.
On Mondays, I had three hours of working with a teacher who evidently got away if not with murder but with almost anything else. At 8.45am, the class scampered into the classroom, all bleary eyed from enjoying their weekends too much. They were greeted by shouting instead of a Good Morning. For me, there was no lesson plan anywhere, again! The teacher was frantically searching for, I don’t know – brain? inspiration? her car keys?, and ignored my request for a lesson plan mostly.
Some children had sat down on the carpet in the front of the classroom but the boys were by now chasing each other. I went to sort them out and held the register in the general direction of the teacher who was now sifting through her handbag.
I had learnt it was not much use to ask for plans too many times and thought about clearing some stacks of random stuff.
With the register finally read around 9am, I still had no idea what the day was going to hold. But at least the teacher had cottoned on that something was amiss and had started rummaging for her USB stick on which supposedly were all her plans for the day.
But of course either the stick had not found its way into the school that morning, the printer had broken or the plans had never been written in the first place. The only certain thing was that I never held those plans in my hands EVER before 9.30am and that the children would all run riot by then as they had more or less been unsupervised and without any focus.
At last the teacher settled at the front of the class, letting the children tell of what they had been up to on weekends, a procedure called “Show & Tell” giving me urging looks as I was dashing to fetch all aparatus, photocopy all worksheets and generally try and set up the maths lesson that was supposed to have started long before already.
As I hadn’t much experience as a classroom TA, I had no idea where to find most things at the drop of a hat and always felt like I was putting out fires. The wasted 45min were something I could never make up, no matter how hard I tried. So the alreay much delayed maths lesson got even later and never started before 9.50am, more than an hour after the children had filed into the classroom and only 25min before break.
The class’ regular TA and I tried to hint at this to management who rapped the teacher’s knuckles 2-3 times before things eventually settled back to “normality”.
So when my lovely special roles were reduced to a normal classroom TA due to budget cuts and I was ignored in my request to work in any classroom but this one I knew I’d be in for a challenge and a half!