The end of the Summer term is hurtling towards us at lightening speed, it being impossible to hurtle slowly.
As a ‘spare’ teacher in school I am, if you’ll excuse the pun, spared the vast majority of the end of term jobs my class-based colleagues are currently working flat out to get done – reports, achievement-data-logging, up-dating curriculum records, not to mention sorting out the Year 6 Leavers’ Concert, timed perfectly for the last-week-but-one of school, a time when staff can least cope with all the costume making and rehearsing.
Then there are the after school meetings staff have with the teachers their pupils are moving on to, to pass on vitally important information, and all the while supervising children who get increasingly whappy as the timetable is messed about with, the days get muggier and the holidays draw ever near. Especially our Year 6 pupils who, since SATs were over in May, have completed their job with us and had their eyes fixed firmly on secondary school life. No wonder my mainstream colleagues all look so worn out.
There are downsides to my job, too, though. It can be a bit unsettling, working on the fringes of the school, a part of it and yet not, experiencing it differently to the way the mainstream teachers do. Also, being a ‘spare’ teacher leaves me up for being bagsied for everyone’s school trips and in the past two weeks, I’ve been on three, across four age groups. Which might sound fantastic, but has it’s drawbacks – mainly related to coach travel, sick buckets and losing challenging children in overly crowded places.
Then there’s all that walking around in the hot sunshine, looking at interesting things, eating free chocolate, chatting with teacher friends from other schools… No, it’s not going to balance out is it? Cadbury’s World versus every night spent writing reports? I definitely get the better end of the stick. I’ve said it many a time, I’m very lucky to have my job. I enjoy all the benefits of being a teacher – the holidays, the fun of working with children, doing all the things I love to do (all language based) and none of the things I don’t, (difficult maths and anything to do with PE).
True, I don’t get to be in charge of my own class and be their ‘special teacher’, nor do I, largely, have much say in choosing the curriculum our children learn, which can be a bit of a downer for a control freak like me. But though the funding for support posts such as mine comes under threat with the regularity of an Autumn festival, and no-one knows whether the Government will fund us beyond the end of the next financial year, I’m not sure I want to be a class teacher ever again.
Life as a support teacher can feel like picking treats from the sweetie shop.