The support!


So, my job………aged 33, I support college students in the classroom, primarily assisting with their English and generally trying to help them keep their focus and stay on track in lessons. I love it!! It is literally my favorite job in the 20 years that I have been working.

Ok so I if you count the horrendously heavy, uphill, Sunday paper round (screw you News of the World with your outrageous number of magazines and inserts), then technically I have worked since the age of 11, however if you consider over 10 hours a week falls under the classification as more of a proper job, then I worked from the age of 13, at Ainsley’s the bakery in Leeds. Thursday and Friday after school and all day Saturday. I vividly recall my loathing of the uniform, it was just the most horrendous mint green and white pinstriped monstrosity. The “dress”, lined with press studs all the way up the front, skirt length below the knees but above the ankles, I must emphasise how over-sized it was for my then slim and sporty teenage figure, I vaguely resembled a pasty twiglet dressed as a minty candy cane, although on the only positive note I can scrape from this hideous attire, at least the waist tied pinny gave some shape to the peppermint gazebo. Unfortunately, the matching mop-cap I was forced to don (I shit you not!) took the attention away from any improvement I had achieved with the pinny. Good job that I wasn’t self-conscious of my appearance back then………While I count this as my first “proper job” I didn’t start paying tax until after I finished full time education at the age of 19 (but hey my tax dodging was short lived compared to some) so despite what I must have looked like I guess I should hold my head up high really.

So these days I proudly find myself working as a Student Support Assistant for young people with behavioural and learning difficulties. One of the most enjoyable aspects of the job to me is as I sit in class with my students I get to learn what they learn, what a bonus! I love to learn new things, I just like to know stuff (If only I’d had that attitude during my own school days). Saying that I have achieved more qualifications in the last six years than I did in the first 19 years of my life.

I am by no means an academic, I consider myself to be of average intelligence, but I like to think that I am relatively good at my job and being a big kid at heart, this allows me to relate and interact on the same level as the students I support when appropriate, which so far works well, mutual respect is a useful tool in my job, it allows for banter while still meeting the aims and objections of the session.

Although, it seems there is a small price to pay for being able to have said banter. One of my students in particular, let’s refer to him as Jeff, Jeff is actually hilarious, (not that all my colleagues would agree), but we work well together and he gets his work done, so I don’t see the harm in having a laugh at the same time, providing it doesn’t have an effect on others in the class. But this lad one day early on in our time working together, “pied” me a treat (being “pied” translates to being shamefully humiliated usually publicly, like a cream pie to the face I guess). I had bought some comfy new shoes for work that I considered to be trendy, a flat, dark boot and a well-recognised brand, Kickers (other footwear brands are available).  Well, within minutes of my student entering the class room I was greeted by 110 decimals of “what the f&ck have you got on your feet”…..well and truly pied! So when I wore my Superdry espadrilles yesterday as it was a tad sunny and above 6 degrees centigrade I thought, these can’t possibly get me in trouble, wrong! At 33 I seriously thought my days of caring what kids thought about my footwear were far behind me, wrong again! Lesson of the day, don’t try to “get down with the kids” the harder you try the more it dents the old pride when you fail!