April 12 – the other adult in the class

262/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  Times have sure changed.  Yes, that’s a cliché for sure but it’s so very true.  The classroom is so much different than it was 10 years ago.  Definitely different than when I first got into teaching!  The classrooms are much more diverse and I don’t mean by ethnicity, gender, religion, sexuality or anything of that kind.  Classrooms are educationally diverse in that you have all sorts of learners bringing their unique needs, abilities, challenges and requirements to the same classroom.  Integration/inclusion where possible is the norm these days but this post is not to discuss the merits or faults of the system.  This is the reality as a teacher and one must be able to adapt to what one is presented in regards to classroom composition.  For the longest time, I had the typical students you see on television especially because I taught electives like Marketing, Law and Psychology.  Students of differing abilities were few and far between and I rarely saw Individualized Educational Programs (I bet you that isn’t even the term) but in today’s classroom, I have many identified students with adapted or modified programs and I am very thankful for the assistance provided by Educational Assistants (or Special Assistants or Teacher Assistants – the terms vary).  I can say without a doubt that I could never do their job and I bow down to them.  During my early years of teaching, my experience with EAs was rare as I didn’t have designated students in my classes (which is a good thing as the EAs I had kinda needed EAs for themselves!!  LOL).  However, fthe last few years, I have had EAs in my classes because of the differing needs of students that are now identified and make up a classroom and I can say that the calibre of EAs has improved vastly from my initial experience.  I value these adults in the classroom as they are exactly that, adults to assist me in getting my learning objectives across to the students.  I am very grateful to have that extra person with me and I do not use them as a person to photocopy, run errands etc but to help all students in the class.  I have been very fortunate that the EAs that I have had have been so very organized, went out of their way to not only help the student they were assigned to but also encourage other students in class and also helped me design curriculum and write reports and evaluations for the identified student(s).  Often these EAs are overlooked, not acknowledged or sometimes just ignored in a classroom but I can’t even fathom doing my job with learning challenged students if these EAs were not in my class and I always treat them with all the respect they deserve and am so thankful that we as teachers have this assistance so we can meet every students needs to the best of our respective abilities!  I wish the government recognized your worth and compensated you just as fairly.

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