Shortly after beginning work at the school, there was in my pigeon hole a message from P#3. He had received feedback from the teachers I was working with and all reported their satisfaction with my attitude, the manner in which I interacted with students and assistance to them in their classrooms. So I had been given the tick of approval long before the 3 months had expired and from that time both my responsibilities and working hours increased. As well as working in the primary school as a classroom support I began working with the learning support team which took me into secondary classrooms. In this role I supported individual students in the classroom as well as one on one individual support when students were withdrawn from classes. In time I moved from the primary school into secondary classes and secondary support entirely.
In this role I was in many classrooms and observed many teaching styles. And this is where I came into contact with my P#4. This woman appreciated the way I operated in the classroom; supporting the student I was there to support but not sitting right on top of them and working around the classroom to assist other students also. I can tell you, because I have been on both sides of the fence, a good teacher aide is worth their weight in gold. And boy, you learn a lot as a teacher aide, but the most important thing is that you are there to support, not usurp the authority of the teacher. One needs to enter and move around the room seamlessly, one needs to listen to the teaching and make sure students do also. It is very rude to be interacting with students, except to gesture to them to listen, when the teacher is teaching. Anyway, P#4 liked my style and P#4 had quite a lot of clout in the school as the HOD of secondary English and it was she who lobbied with the admin for me to move into the English Dept as not only a classroom English support but as the administrative assistant for the whole of the department. She encouraged me and often remarked that I would make a great English teacher. In this role I became familiar with how units of work are assembled, curriculum and government legislation, marking and record keeping; the workings behind the classroom. I loved the work I was doing and I was very happy.
Then two things happened. Firstly, my father passed away and left me some money and secondly, I realised that if I did not use this money now to get out of the renting cycle, I never would. So I bought myself a home. With this home came a mortgage that went on for A LOT of years and it occurred to me that I probably needed a better income. By this time my love for the microcosm of the school community and the encouragement P#4 offered made teaching the obvious choice. So I began my university double degree in Arts and Secondary Education. This I did externally, taking two subjects a semester and continued working at the school.
In my way leads onto way life I am very thankful for P#4 and very thankful that out paths crossed. She deserves mention as another significant person who helped shape the direction of my life. An amazing, very intelligent and well read woman who at the same time is earthy and very natural, at times both radical and conservative, strong and kind. P#4 retired and I worked with two other English HODs before I also left this school but she is my friend and she still encourages me.