The Diary’s of a Teaching Assistant

Day 11

Opted to stride out the miles on the treadmill today. I think every runner would agree that a run outdoors with the fresh air is better, but a mixture of events just meant the treadmill was more convenient for me. Benefits of a treadmill: Easy to keep good form, you have to adhere to speed (fast or slow), you can listen to music, people watch in the gym and any gastro-related stress is easily dealt with due to having toilets nearby… 

Anyway, I’ve been wanting to write this post for a little while, even pre-blog, due to the nature of what I saw in my brief time as a teaching assistant. I spent a term and a half as a TA in the SEND department of a high school, just south of east of Watford. Unfortunately, the school had a bit of reputation in the area for its poor behaviour and with this, came some great moments. I used to take a daily log book, in which I made small notes of; events that happened, subjects discussed by children and antics I witnessed from the ‘factory floor’ – as it were. I won’t name the school and I will say it was a lovely place to work, my colleagues were very friendly and I actually used to quite enjoy working with the kids I was a assigned to but, oh man did some sh*t go down.  

Here’s some of the highlights: 

Music class, Tuesday 10th October: 
There’s a picture of Elvis on the board with the title “The Blues”. Teacher, after a good handful of attempts to stop the kids from blowing up the plastic wallets he’s handed out into makeshift pillows, has asked them who is on the board. Amongst the rabble of wheezing children, Child A put up his hand and answers unprompted “I know who that is sir, it’s Elton John, my Nan likes Elton John”. Elton, the king of rock and roll. 

Science class, Wednesday 15th November: 
Title is “Are You Healthy?”. Judging by the bag of Haribo and Doritos that Child A has already consumed in the lesson, as well as Child B who is sat at the back of the room munching a Morrisons Ploughman’s cheese sandwich about as discreetly as it smells; I’d say not very. Especially seeing as its only 8:55am.

Double Drama, Thursday 5th December:
Child A walks in an hour and 10 minutes late. As he waltzes through the door he throws a roll of cash at the teacher. “Sir, man don’t need school no more, mans making P already sir.” (roughly translates as – I’m not coming to school anymore as I already make enough money). Teacher has unravelled the roll of cash and counted out £175… Child A is 12 years old. A look of disbelief in both our eyes and neither of us are quite sure how to handle this situation, but meanwhile, Child A is now stood on a chair swinging his tie around his head singing “I’m in the money.” 

History class, Thursday 4th January:
Instead of sporting the golden jumper that I often wear to work, I have my new grey Crew Clothing knit on. Child A comments on it in front of the other 35 pupils in the history class. “man like Mr. Gold isn’t gold anymore, he’s silver – Mr. Silver, sir is on some next poverty ting”. (this roughly translates to: sir finally has a new jumper, it took him so long that he must be poor). Comic genius according to the rest of the class: I have no come back. 

Science class, Thursday 11th January:
Child A and Child B “have major beef” (they no longer like each other). I have been assigned the task of monitoring Child A to avoid altercations and Child B has just entered the classroom. Teacher has done nothing but say “Class, be quiet” for the last 22 minutes and there’s no use me trying, I’m the poverty-stricken Mr Silver according to this class. Suddenly Child B has picked up his chair, thrown it across the room and its headed straight for me. I duck and it hits the wall. Child A has retaliated by attempting to throw his chair, which has also narrowly escaped my head. Every other student has caught the entire ordeal on SnapChat and I am now famous throughout the school. 

Philosophy & Ethics class, Wednesday 24th January:
Subject matter is North Korea. Child A has raised her hand and said that her dad used to work in North Korea. Teacher and I share questioning looks. Approximately 30 minutes later, Child A raises her hand and admits she is mistaken: her dad used to work as a Courier. This makes a lot more sense.  

Monday 6th February:
Child A has stolen a laser pointer from the Drama class room. I have told him that he needs to return it or I will have to let the teacher know. As the day comes to a close he has decided on keeping it, forgetting that he has already admitted to stealing it and claiming it’s actually his from home. I would let someone more senior know but they are currently dealing with Child B who had a machete in his bag. The Crocodile Dundee joke has been said several times in the staff room. 

Friday 9th February:
Child A is upset to hear of my departure from the job. Upon saying his goodbyes, he has said that he is dreading the return after the holidays upon which one of my former colleagues will be assigned the post of his ‘helper’. He admits that he doesn’t like working with the other members of staff because they are overweight and smell. The language was a bit more grotesque. Before the bell rings for my final goodbyes, the colleague that was being referred to asks for my advice on handling Child A so well, I wish I could have told her the truth. Farewell Mr. Silver, hopefully your new job will buy you a few more jumpers. 

School is just another walk of life. I enjoyed my brief time working in one, but it wasn’t for me. Despite the college I work at now being an educational facility, the Special Education department is way less of a factory. It’s about enrichment and engagement; a lot more than the mainstream system of a high school allows. I personally didn’t enjoy high school, but thats for another story. 

Happy Sunday, y’all. Also, I’m going to do the website. I need some help though, so if anyone has any expertise in website hosting, please contact me. 

Peace & love.
BG. 

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