For the past few decades, there have been several different people in the United States of America who have been working hard in an effort to raise awareness of the different hardships in the lives of people with disabilities. Even though there are many people who really want to support and improve aspects of everyday life for disabled people, there are just as many people who are extremely inconsiderate and don’t care to help people with disabilities. Many people think that anyone with a pulse can work with and fulfill the needs of students who have disabilities, which is a very untrue and senseless statement. In my opinion, schools have to be more considerate when it comes to assigning substitute teaching assistants to students with disabilities when one of the “everyday” teaching assistants is absent.
There are many different reasons as to why many people, including myself, believe that the schools are being selfish and have to do a better job of picking and choosing who can and can’t work with people and students with disabilities. For example, as of right now, whenever a teaching assistant takes a day off, many schools panic and just call the first number that is on the list, no matter who it is. Like anybody else would do, the person who they called says that they will be more than happy to do it and they are on their way to the school flawlessly. Because of all of the stereotypes about children with disabilities, the substitute teaching assistant expects to have a easy payday, but, when they get to the school, they see that the student is waiting for them to go to class and that is going to be a very challenging day. When that happens to them, a lot of times, they will become very quiet and frustrated and will eventually go into “shutdown” mode. As a disabled student, how would you feel when you are working with someone and, all of the sudden, they began to shut down and didn’t talk to you? In this situation, it is even worse because of the fact that you know that they are frustrated that they have to spend another day in high school instead of just sitting around all day. You would feel frustrated just like the disabled students do when they are in that situation. It would be like the coaches getting frustrated with LeBron James because he’s so good at basketball.
Along with getting frustrated with the fact that the person ignores them for most of the day, the student also gets frustrated because of the fact that the substitute isn’t educated and has no idea what they are talking about. Even though the teaching assistant isn’t there to help the student with the education aspect of school, in order to fulfill the needs of the student, they really do have to know or have an idea of what the teachers are talking about. Until you live in the shoes of a disabled student and have to work with an uneducated stranger, you really don’t know what it is like to have to go through something like this. Try to put yourself in the situation of the disabled student. You are in class and you have been assigned a short answer question, but, you really don’t want to have to type it. If your regular teaching assistant was there, you would just verbally tell them and they would write it down. With the substitute, you absolutely have to type it because, if you try to use your voice, they will just ignore you and you will end up wasting your energy. How would you feel if you were trying to tell someone something and they were pretending to listen to you when you knew that they weren’t? You would get very annoyed very fast. The people who are on the list for substitutes have to learn that they have to be respectful of the disabled students and at least try to help them. The students understand that it isn’t easy to work with a substitute, but, it really makes the situation a lot worse when the person doesn’t even make an attempt to help them.
As you can see, there are many different reasons as to why I believe that various schools throughout the United States have to be more considerate when it comes to choosing substitute teaching assistants for students with disabilities. It is very unfair to disabled students when their regular teaching assistant calls in sick and then they are stuck with someone who they don’t know. When the school goes around calling people and seeing who is available, they have to remember to try to get one who is very attentive.