Perhaps I have been lucky in the past, but up to last September (in my old job, which I still do 2 days a week), when I walked into a classroom first thing in the morning, I was nearly always met with a smile and a sigh of relief. 'I'm so glad you're with me today' was usually the refrain from all the teachers that I worked with. It wasn't just me, any help in a busy classroom is nearly always a bonus, nearly always.
However this year I am with a different teacher. She checks her clock when I walk in in the morning, even though I have usually come from working with another year group and, timetabled with lessons back to back, means there is not a minute to walk between one class and the next. She gives me children to support and then undermines me by taking over half way through. 'Support so and so' she said today, which I duly did. As I leaned over to look at one boys work and ask him to check his capital letters she pushes in front of me and says 'Lets have a look at your work so and so, I think you could just take a minute to check your capital letters'. I just said that, I wanted to say, I can do my job.
She never lets me use my initiative, she never gives me anything to do that she can't watch me do. For goodness sake I'm a grown woman and I have been doing this job for 6 years now. Not that I would be doing it if I didn't need a job that gave me school hours and holidays. I used to hold down a responsible job, where I was my own boss with deadlines to meet and contractors to motivate. I am a capable person.
Yet today I feel constrained and put down. The pay is poor and the job is stressful, no preparation time, no planning time, challenging children 1:1 for hours at a time, often with no work set.
To add insult to injury, as I finish up my lunchtime art and craft group, my line manager walks into the room. I've not seen her since the holidays and was about to use the statutory pleasantry of 'Did you have a good half term?' when she barks at me 'Leave that, X (a child that needs constant 1:1 support), isn't going swimming, you need to have him all afternoon' Then she walks off!
Well thanks for that, I think to myself, hope you're having a good day too! I do not 'leave that'. The room looked like an explosion in a cardboard factory, and it is someone else's work room. How could I leave it in a mess? I do the mental equivalent of a 2 finger salute and carry on clearing up, knowing the lovely (not) teacher I work with can easily manage him for a few more minutes while she does the register.
I enjoy the company of the children I work with, even the badly behaved ones who have problems of their own poor things. It's a shame the adults can't just be a little more pleasant.
My new job, though stressful too, so far is ok. Yet the more I work in the school system, the more I despair with it.
End of rant. Bring on the weekend.