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Reform Magazine | April 15, 2021

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Here & now: Helen Glasse

Here & now: Helen Glasse

Helen Glasse begins teaching assistant work in lockdown

Early In January 2020, I started working as a teaching assistant in a primary school, before Covid-19 had become a problem even in Wuhan, let alone here. Well, what a year! I love my job. People close to me would think differently at the moment though, from the number of times I come away and either declare myself useless, or too tired to be any good to anyone.

In September, I changed roles slightly to work in our specialist area of the school. These children have taught me so much, and I’m sure there’s more to come, but I wanted to share some thoughts from my experiences.

The sum total of the understanding that children in my class have of the global pandemic is that there’s a ‘bad bug’. Wouldn’t it be great to only worry about it like that? We’re so bombarded with stats and graphs, it makes me wonder if we could all strip our mentality back to ‘Be careful, there’s a bad bug.’ Of course, in reality it can’t always be as simple as that.

These children still need daily interactions, support, safety and nurture. Covid-19 doesn’t change that fact one bit. We now have to wear visors at all times in the class, and masks when in corridors or other classrooms. The children don’t understand why this is. And try using Makaton sign language with a plastic shield in front of your face – it adds a whole new dimension. One child particularly enjoys interacting and building relationships through the use of very close physical contact, which means at the moment, she finds this by pressing her nose up against mine with a visor in between…

Helen Glasse is youth representative for the United Reformed Church’s Eastern Synod

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This is an extract from an article published in the March 2021 edition of Reform

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