To the Editor:
At the last district school board meeting, ed techs, parents and teachers spoke in support of the roles of ed techs in the educational and larger community. I found the description of life as an ed tech heart-wrenchingly accurate, and yet not complete.
In the course of one day, an ed tech may work at teaching, re-teaching or pre-teaching any combination of science, math, literature, social studies, wellness, pottery, art and even band and gym. The ed tech will be expected to help adapt any of these subjects to the special needs of the student, as well as the mental, physical, behavioral or intellectual challenges of that student. The ed tech may work with several students a day, or only one, but they will be called on to be super-humanly flexible, to understand the needs of both students and content teachers, and to find a way to meet all those needs. No one in the school deals daily with as many personalities, or personal challenges, with the possible exception of the principal.
In a day without breaks or prep time, the ed tech will be responsible for knowing the contents of the novels, articles, experiments – assignments of all kinds – their student will encounter. The ed tech will have to know their student well enough to find the best way of overcoming the unique challenge that may prevent the student’s understanding in any class.
The ed tech was once seen as a teacher’s aide, there to help things go smoothly for the teacher. That model disappeared long ago, but true appreciation for the demands of the job has not replaced it. Certainly, the woefully inadequate salary reflects that sad truth. It is time for the school department and the community to recognize these valuable contributors and find a way to compensate them fairly.