Teacher Assistants working with ASPECT are used to the long held practice of stepping up to cover unexpected short term absences of the class teacher.
This practice is part of the expectations of being an ASPECT aide. When it occurs - a higher rate of pay is applied in acknowledgement of the higher duties.
This arrangement was put in place to accommodate the particular circumstances of many of the ASPECT classes, that having unfamiliar or unknow people present can cause significant distress and disruption to students. The aide is not there to replace the teacher or undertake the work of a teacher, but to allow the class to be supervised and activities continue with the least disruption to the students as possible.
But this practice is being abused.
The Union has been made aware of situations where aides are being required to step in to cover long absences for periods of approved leave, or on regular days to cover part time teaching load allocations, teacher release, and professional development. They are being required to write up observations reports, modify programs and undertake assessments, meet with parents and undertake other ‘teacher’ duties, on the basis of being paid the higher duties rate as an Aide. This work will often also include hours in excess of the hours of direct contact, for which they will not be paid. Often on the justification that a casual teacher couldn’t be found.
This is setting off alarms on a number of levels.
If you are being asked to step in and take the place of a teacher, even for a very brief period of time, it is important that there is clarity as to the expectations of you and the reasons why. You should not be asked to cover scheduled absences or undertake the work of a teacher.
If you have any concerns, please contact your organiser at the Union office.