While the news regales us with depressing facts and figures about unemployment being at an all time high, and how it's nigh on impossible for 18-25 year olds to find a job, I've been going against all the statistics and social struggles by landing myself a promotion in the school. Hurrah!
The interview took place yesterday and while the tutor group I support were going through a powerpoint with their form teacher about the diabolical state of employment for young people, and I had to watch their little faces drop and hear questions from little Johnny like, "So will I never get a job even though I work hard at school?" and hoping they won't be fucked like my generation is, I came to appreciate the fact that I even have a job at the moment. Even though it's not always been ideal, I'm lucky enough to be in full-time employment, and yesterday I was even being offered the rare opportunity to progress in my work.
The pressure was on though as I was the only person to be interviewing at the time. The vacancy was initially advertised internally and I was the only existing member of staff to apply. On one had, this might be great because you know you've not got any competition, but on the other hand it's intimidating because you're essentially only up against yourself, so if I didn't get the job it would come down to the fact that I was just shit and there could be no excuse of "that person was better or more qualified than me".
Luckily though the latter didn't happen and I have now officially gone from being a Teaching Assistant to a Higher Learning Teaching Assistant for English. "Ooohh, sounds fancy and full of responsibility," you may say, and you'd be right. I now get to deliver lessons and actually teach small groups of students in withdrawal classes. I'll have to plan the lesson, think of innovative and engaging ways to teach Shakespeare and the like, and then actually full on educate young people. That's pretty exciting, and the best bit is I'll be getting my own classroom and I'll get to write on the whiteboard as much as I want!!!
To me being able to write on a board is the most exciting thing, because it means you're really, actually a teacher. It's a privilege that only teacher-type people get to do. When I was growing up and I used to play 'school' with my imaginary friends (don't judge me, I'm not mad) then there would always be a heavy focus on doing lots, and lots, and lots, and lots of writing on the board, which back then was plenty of A4 bits of paper blu-tacked to my wardrobe doors.
Later, when I got to go into the primary school my Dad was headteacher of, I would indulge my urge of white board writing by going into the classrooms, finding a board marker and pretending to take a lesson, again with lots and lots of white board writing. Sometimes I'd even ask my Dad's colleagues if I could leave maths questions on the board for the kids to do on Monday morning. I should emphasise at this point that I too was still at primary school. It's not like I was 20-something and getting my kicks from going into an empty school at the weekends, pretending to teach make-believe classes and stuff. That would be crazy.
Writing on the board definitely gives a sense of authority in the classroom and that if you write something on the board it must mean it's a really important point to have made it onto the board. Obviously there are other really important things I'll need to do when teaching a lesson as a HLTA, like making sure the kids understand the work they're doing, keeping them motivated, planning interesting activities, but if I'm honest the kid in me will be concerned most about how good my handwriting looks on the board and getting an array of colourful board markers for every occasion!