Friday, 21 January 2011

Thoughts on Working as an LSA

Most of the time I love my job.  There is nothing more amazing than being the source of a child making progress in an area where they struggle.  Over the years I have celebrated the big achievements and many more times, the very small ones that have been hard won.  The day a child who barely spoke when I became his LSA finally said my name;  when a little girl spelled her first word correctly without me having to step in; when a boy with severe dyslexia managed to write his first few sentences completely unaided.  Moments like these make the job worthwhile and give you the impetus to carry on despite the poor wages!

But there other times when you feel completely defeated.  Nothing you try works and you have exhausted all your strategies and tactics.  A lot of the time some lateral thinking or maybe someone else's fresh perspective on the problem are enough to get things back on track.  However, occasionally you really do have to admit defeat.  This can certainly bring you down to earth with a bump and get you quite depressed.  It's hard not to take it personally - for me anyway. 

Our headmistress said something that made me think recently - 'you can't help every child' - which is sad but very true.  You can do your best, but there is no guaranteee it will work.  Outside circumstances affect the situation too -  does the child get helped and encouraged at home; do they receive the professional help they should be getting such as speech therapy or OT; are the parents supportive of your efforts; is the child in need of special schooling rather than what you can offer?  It's not just the few hours of tuition that you give, it's the whole package.

So you have to distance yourself sometimes, accept the defeats, celebrate the successes, and when the time comes to move on to the next child in your care, be confident in the knowledge that you did your utmost for the previous one.

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