In my pigeon hole at work sits a green form, it has sat in there for a few weeks now. I know what the green form is, I just don’t know how I am going to fill out this green form?
This form is asking me whether I would like to be considered for a classroom teacher placement next year? A simple enough form really. If I don’t apply to be placed in the classroom I will continue my role in learning support.
The problem is this: do I have another year of leaning support in me? Can I do this job for another whole year, can I work with the students with the greatest needs for another whole year, can I cope with the stresses that learning support brings, can I continue to work with the same students day in, day out for little return on my investment? It sounds harsh, but I just don’t know if I have another year in me.
People always say that it takes a special kind of person to work in special education; I think that this is inclusive of learning support. The role of the learning support teacher is to meet each and every diverse need of the student by implementing a long term vision of a student’s academic and social growth as they progress through their educational journey. I have worked in this role for five years now, and generally speaking, unless a student has moved to another school I am still looking after the students I started with five years ago, plus all the new ones to the school over this period of time.
I don’t want to sound like a whinging teacher but I think I’m done. In my role I work with children with varying needs; we have students on the spectrum (but aren’t we all to some extent), we have students with acquired brain injuries, we have students with intellectual impairments, we have students with hearing and vision difficulties, we have children with cerebral palsy, down syndrome, chromosome disorders and ADHD, and sometimes we just have children who have parents with limited parenting skills. It is my job to ensure that every need of all these children is met and that the child is learning both academically and socially. I write programs for these children, I write maths programs, I write literacy programs and I write socially inclusive programs. When I am done writing these programs, I implement them. I work with children, I teach explicitly, I read, I write, I mark, I nag, I play, I supervise, I construct, I explore, I plan, I attend meetings, I chair meetings, I budget, I photocopy, I intervene, I perform first aid, I stop World War 3, I talk, I send notes home, I ring parents, I do yard duty, I borrow books, I make thousands of decisions each day.
I love and care for my students but I am tired.