Below is the story she shared:
Twenty-five years ago a little girl climbed in her mother’s car and was on her way to her first day of kindergarten. She was super excited and could not wait to begin the learning process! Little did she know that three years down the road she would struggle in school because she had a learning disability called dyslexia. It was because of a teacher, a special education teacher, and mostly a teacher assistant that she was able to catch up on her academics before entering middle school. The girl’s teacher assistant would pull her aside to work in a small group to provide extra support that her teacher was not able to give because of all the number of other students in the class.
That girl was me.
If it were not for a teacher assistant, I would not be here representing teacher assistants. These special people made me want to work with children and provide support for students like me. I have been a teacher assistant for the past eight years. I have played many roles such as co-teacher, nurse, bus driver, role model, mentor, and tutor. I also serve on the crisis prevention intervention team. The one role that I love the most is providing extra help to students who struggle just like I did. I am able to provide some insight to teachers about these types of students because I have been in their shoes. North Carolina schools are already feeling the impact 7000 TA’s cut since 2008. Where is the plan to bring them back?
Two years ago, I realized that I wanted to help students even more, so I went back to school to finish my degree in Elementary Education. I hope to become a kindergarten teacher. During this college journey, I have made the president’s list every term and have been accepted into two national honor societies. I know that my academic achievement falls back to all the extra support I received while attending school. If it were not for those teachers, teacher’s assistants, and a special education teacher, I would not be standing here today. Thousands of these extraordinary teachers are leaving our state or the teaching profession every year. These are the people I would want mentoring me as a new teacher. Where is the budget to keep them in our classrooms?
I am walking proof that teachers and teacher assistants play a huge role in the education of our children. So, I ask you today to please keep doing what is best for all students, especially those like me with a learning disability, by funding teacher assistant positions and creating a budget that will keep our best teachers here, in North Carolina.
Thank you Amanda King for sharing your story!