Letter: what happens in the classroom, stays in the classroom: An Educational Assistant’s Story

letter to the editor

I’m an educational assistant in your child’s school. I’m working with a violent student. He’s punching, kicking, hitting, biting, spitting. He’s throwing things at me. Your daughter is there. She sees all of this too. She’s learned to get out of the way when things start flying.

We evacuate the classroom.

Your child eats lunch in the hallway.

She has her math lesson in the hallway.

Evacuating happens more than once a day.

Instead of providing the school with the support this student needs, it’s decided that I will stay with him in his own room all day. The class is safer. The little boy doesn’t have a teacher anymore, though, and the class doesn’t have an educational assistant either.

There are three other students in the classroom who really need me as their educational assistant, but they can’t get the help they need. The teacher is now alone with them – and the 28 other students – and can’t teach them and help the 3 kids who lost their EA. So she has to choose if she’ll answer your daughter’s question, explain the lesson your daughter missed when she was sick, teach that math concept in a different way she’ll understand…or help one of the other kids. Then she’ll make the same decision for every other kid in the class.

You’re her parent, but you don’t know any of this. You don’t know because the school isn’t going to tell you there is a violent child in your daughter’s class. They won’t tell you that they took away the educational assistant that was supposed to be helping 4 students. They won’t tell you that your child isn’t getting anywhere close to the kind of attention you expect her to be receiving.

You don’t know it, but it’s happening all the same.

This is what educators want you to know. This is why they want you to stand up and say class sizes and resource support have to be protected.