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    Aid from an Aide
    By Jane

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    I have been an assistant for 16 years and have worked in many different environments, some where the teacher just put post-its on items to be done and others where I felt I was truly part of the class. Either way works; however, my favorite teachers were those who sought out my strengths so that I could help in other ways than cut and paste, copy or grade papers.

    I am good at bulletin boards, art, music and reading out loud. My favorite teachers would go over her plans with me each morning and see where I could help her. Often I taught the craft lesson she had planned (changing teacher/assistant roles), or taught the class songs or read a book she had in her plans. This gave her a little down time, and made me feel very integral to the class.

    My teachers always made me feel very important to them. I did the cutting and pasting and copying with joy because it gave me pride to be part of this class because my teachers always treated me with such respect and always addressed me in the classroom as the other teacher (although we all knew the hierarchy).

    You are right in standing firm - the teacher is in charge. You make the plans and teach the children. BUT, do yourself a favor, your assistant can make life so enjoyable for you and your class by taking the little things off you and most especially, by being your right arm, not your footstool.

    I hope your aides all become essential. Guide them to be what you need and all they can be. It is your classroom, and you all deserve all the help you can get

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