In my last post I shared why I have to quit the job I love. My last day is today! It’s going to be hard – I’m not going to lie – but there are 5 things I will stop worrying about when I leave my job the minute I walk out the door.
I’ll stop worrying about:
Missing the Joke
Working with a lot of people is great. This is especially true of where I work as the staff get along brilliantly. At lunchtime we meet up in the staffroom and there is always some funny story being shared or general hilarity. And I miss every. damn. word. A full noisy room with a high cavernous ceiling is a deaf person’s hell. It’s impossible for me to keep up with the conversations, the stories and the jokes. I join in the laughter with no clue as to why I’m laughing, to save face, to blend in. A full staffroom has always worried me and it’s not the relaxing place it should be.
But not any more! No more head bobbing in agreement of something I haven’t heard.
The teachers I work with are wise to my hearing loss and make sure they tell me what they want in a clear and precise way. They do it automatically now but I still worry that I’ll mishear something and go off and do completely the wrong thing with the children! Or worse still, in class and those inevitable words “and what do you think the answer is Miss Honey?” All heads turn and suddenly there you are, centre stage without a Scooby Doo as to what the question was.
“Er, run that by me again Miss Trenchbull please.” I ask.
But no more.
What to Wear
Being a teaching assistant, I have to consider appropriate clothing and footwear. I think about what’s happening that day (there maybe some mud rock or clay modelling planned) and decide what to wear accordingly. I remember one gorgeous summer’s day wearing a pair of white linen trousers to work only to be told a ‘messy art’ trip had been planned to our local Art College. Needless to say, I never wore white to school again.
Another day I wore a summer skirt with sandals and had missed the memo about a hike through the local National Trust Woods. I borrowed a pair of 2 sizes too big trainers from a teacher and hoped that Gerard Butler had decided against a visit to Wales that day.
Also, I have to remember that I lean over low desks a lot, looking at work and talking to the children, so loose tops, if you know what I mean, are a no-no.
So from Monday I can stay in my PJs and unicorn slippers all day if I want to. I won’t – but I could.
Making biscuits/Welsh cakes/scones/smoothies/soup/pancakes
Now, I’m not the best around food. Don’t get me wrong, I love the stuff (remember I do Slimming World), but I’m not so great at making things with children. I wasn’t very good at letting my own children make stuff, let alone 30 ten year olds. The very thought of letting them loose with a vegetable knife was enough to make me break out in hives. I’d resist the temptation to draw a line 10 feet away from the cooker behind which they had to stand and watch while I tossed the pancakes. Those babies are HOT!
I would ignore the nose wiping while making pastry and the coughing over the fruit just before it was blended into that school favourite ‘Strawberry Smoothie with a Dash of Influenza’. But most of all I won’t have to worry about having to make up an excuse not to sample Johnny’s Welsh Cakes (although these would have been fried and all known germs destroyed – hopefully).
The School Inspection
To be fair, this isn’t a huge headache for teaching assistants. As long as we do what we’re supposed to and help and support in the usual way, there’s not a lot in the way of preparation we have to do (my colleagues may be outraged by this – “well she didn’t!”).
But the thing that did worry me about the School Inspection was the interviews the inspectors did with us all. What with hoping I would be able to hear them and then understanding what they meant and then hoping that you didn’t put your foot in it – oh, I found the whole thing very stressful! Never again. Phew!
Coming across as stupid
This goes with the territory if you’re deaf. I think I should patent a T-shirt with ‘I’m deaf, not stupid’ on the front. Now it’s not the adults in the school environment I worried about, but the children.
In primary school, the children (mostly) look up to, and respect the teachers, and indeed all other adults who work there. But by being deaf and asking children to repeat themselves, or worse having a child tell me what another has said; I felt that the children would somehow lose confidence in me and my ability to help and support them.
Following on from that they may start to think that I wasn’t reliable and then any trust and respect would disappear. Oof, I got a little serious there! Of course this didn’t happen, but I always was worried that it might. I would hate to let things go so far that the children thought I was stupid.
But not any more.
So there we are. The end of what I think is one of the best jobs in the world. In fact I’m surprised I’ve never heard a teaching assistant on Radio 2’s Chris Evans’ Great Job Wednesday slot. Perhaps it’s not ‘out there’ enough. At least I can stop worrying about these things – I know some are not really ‘worries’ but hey ho!
I have a few funny stories about being a TA too. Leave me a comment or a thumbs up if you would like to read about some of them (those I can publish anyway).
To find out about being a teaching assistant in the uk take a look at the National Careers Service website.
Until next time…