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Teaching Assistant Goes Back to School

Do all Classroom Assistants get locked in the cupboard or is it just me? Well I suppose I am still only training to become a Teaching Assistant at the moment, maybe that's the difference. So far I love it, except for being locked in the cupboard which isn't quite as much fun. So far I love it. For anyone not clued up, Teaching Assistants or Classroom Assistants are basically support staff for the teachers. To put it simply, we do exactly what we say on the tin. We're actually shipped to schools in tin cans to protect us from being battered and bruised before we arrive. Also it acts as a sound barrier and a bullet-proof force field that blocks out the light and shields our fragile eyes from the horrors of the real world. Once we've been smuggled safely inside, the doors are locked and we're released into the wild. We have our freedom, sort of. At least we're as free as we're ever going to be.

Anyway as I was saying, we Teaching Assistant are beneath the teachers. When I say we're beneath the teachers, I mean that we're sandwiched somewhere between the floor and their shoe. It's not a bad place to be. I can certainly think of worse places. Of course all the teachers in my school are great. I have to say that or they'll lock me in the stationery cupboard again. It's such a boring cupboard too; it never goes anywhere, it's completely stationary. Last time I was in there for three years. Three years! All I had for company was an Irish paperclip called Paddy. He always seemed to be drunk and kept falling off shelves but that's a different story entirely.

By the time I was released from the cupboard I couldn't speak, I couldn't spell my own name. Come to think of it, I didn't even know my own name. To stop them thinking I was a complete idiot I replied instinctively with the first and only thing that came into my head, 'Paddy'. From that day forth I've been known as Paddy. To make matters worse I could barely speak at all. Every time I opened my mouth I blurted out some random, incoherent noises that have never been heard before and will hopefully never be heard again. There are probably top secret decoder teams still trying to decipher those sounds.

After the 'name' incident the teachers thought I was unintelligible and sent me back to Reception. The Receptionist told me there wasn't a space for me there and she was far too busy to speak to me right now so I'd have to go away. Luckily someone came to my rescue and escorted me to the correct class. Three years in a cupboard had done my amazing geography skills no good at all as I discovered the Reception class was at the other end of the school.

I had to learn everything from scratch. Of course I was the oldest kid in the class, being some twenty four years older than the next oldest who was five. The other children would gang up on me and bully me beyond belief. They were monsters. One boy stole my lunch money four times in one week. I only escaped the fifth day because it was a teacher training day so we weren't at school. He must have been the meanest four year old I'd ever seen. I swear he was about seven feet tall. Either his parents were pouring Miracle-Gro on his Shreddies or he was wearing stilts. All I knew was I wasn't going to argue with him. I just reluctantly handed over my money and ran away and hid in a corner.

Finally, here I am today, the finished product of an excellent education system. It was an education system that was not afraid to keep children behind, whether they were failing or not. Last year I finally graduated from Primary school, aged 35. It was a proud day but I'm so happy those days are over. I'm not looking forward to beginning Secondary school though.