Ok, so I have a confession to make...I HATE my job. I'm a special needs assistant in a very tough inner city secondary school and I'm really struggling. The children I work with are constantly aggressive. I even had an incident where I was just walking down a corridor and got grabbed by a girl I was walking past, slammed up against a wall and threatened with a staple gun, with the words "Want me to staple your fucking face?!" Every single day there is at least one confrontation, and the aggression is off the charts. I'm always being sworn at, threatened with violence or (This is Belfast, Northern Ireland) threatened with paramilitary organisations. Knives are frequently brought into classrooms. I just hate the kids in the school. They are vicious and evil, boasting about attacking people and going out rioting. They are racist and sectarian and treat me and the rest of the staff like dirt. I have been followed home several times by boys I know have criminal records and have had to take detours to the local police station. I am terrified that they will find out where I live. The boy that I am assigned too has ASD and ADHD. He used to be violent and would often physically throw me out of classrooms, but now has calmed down. Unfortunately, we have recently discovered that he has developed a drug habit. As a result of this I now have to follow him around during break and lunchtimes to make sure he doesn't go to any of the dealers in the school. I have asked my boss for time out of class to get my lunch but was told I couldn't have any. I like my little boy but I don't like having to face down aggressive drug dealers for him. I feel its a bit above and beyond the call of duty. My boss is another problem. She treats the Classroom Assistants as if we are her own private slaves who she sends out to do work for teachers she likes but won't allow to go near teachers she doesn't like. She also has an inner core of cronies who spy for her and report back on every CA's movements. The other CA's are clique-y and bitchy and have bullied me since I started because of my training (I'm a qualified teacher) and because of my religion. They even went so far as to try and get me fired last summer as they did not want someone of my religion to be working in the school. As a result, I am now dreading working over the summer holidays with them, but I can't afford to give up the extra money this work brings in as I have a mortgage to pay. I'm also frustrated with the work. I have a degree, PGCE and a masters degree and wanted to teach in a special needs school. Instead I am working in an environment where many of my colleagues treat me as if I haven't a brain in my head. I'm bored and academically frustrated. There is absolutely nothing challenging or stimulating about cleaning whiteboards or finding a pen for a juvenile delinquent who isn't going to use it anyway. And all for £15, 000 a year. I
So why don't I quit? I'm terrified that I won't ever get another job. Before this job I was a teacher but I couldn't find a permanent position. There are over 6000 unemployed teachers in Northern Ireland and even finding subbing work was hell. I have a B at English A level (my subject is English) and was told by a principal in a girls school I had been subbing in, that this would mean I'd never get a permanent position, even though I have never had below a C in my classes at GCSE or A-level. Not that it matters anyway because the truth is...whisper it...I've found that I don't really even like working with teenagers. But I'm almost 30 and worry that I'm too old to retrain. I feel terribly trapped and when I think too much about it all I end up having panic attacks. I have no one to talk to about this as my family as a whole are not good listeners. I feel like I've let them down anyway, like everyone is thinking "What a pity. she has so much potential but she never lived up to it." My father died a year and a half ago of cancer. He was a very accomplished man who took great pride in my academic success and kept pushing me for more. He didn't like the fact that I was working as a Classroom Assistant. I feel like he died disappointed in me. Like I let him down. I hate that because I loved him very much and really miss him.
I'm a very quiet person, an intravert and quite shy, and I know this situation is killing me. I can't sleep, I sit on my sofa and cry every night. I feel like I've created this huge big mess for myself and I just can't see a way out. I'm sorry to rant but I have no one to talk to about this. My work colleagues will think I'm whiny and weak and my family will say "If you don't like it, then quit" which is easier said than done. I guess I just wanted to get it all out as I've been bottling this all up for so long.