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S. Auxiliary Personnel in Schools

1. The term “auxiliary personnel” refers to those other than teachers, as defined in the NLTA Act, who function in a supportive role to teachers in the schools and who are neither paid nor hold contracts with a school board. Teacher assistants, library assistants, clerical assistants, audio-visual technicians are example of auxiliary personnel.

2. Definitions

a) Teacher assistants are auxiliary personnel assigned to work with a teacher, or small team of teachers.

b) Student assistants are auxiliary personnel assigned to work with students with special needs. (See Section T.)

c) School assistants perform a large variety of tasks for the entire teaching staff in the building.

d) Volunteers are usually part-time teacher assistants who offer their services without pay.

3. Every person who is employed to fulfill an instructional role (as authorized by the Acts and Regulations) shall be qualified as a teacher and under contract as a teacher.

a) The function of auxiliary personnel is to assist the teacher or student to whom assigned.

b) Auxiliary personnel shall assume no responsibility for any evaluation involving the school personnel, pupils, or program.

c) Auxiliary personnel shall be responsible to the principal of the school.

d) Any teacher has the right to decline auxiliary personnel services.

e) Auxiliary personnel shall not be included in the calculation of student-teacher ratio.

f) Teaching functions which involve decisions regarding diagnosis of pupil difficulties, prescription of learning experiences and evaluation of pupil progress are the exclusive domain of professional teaching staff.

g) The deployment and assignment of duties within the school of auxiliary personnel who are to work in a classroom setting are the responsibility of the teachers involved in consultation with the principal.

4. Volunteers in the school are responsible persons who provide a service to the school to fulfill specific needs, as determined by the principal and the teaching staff directly involved, without reimbursement or contractual commitments of any kind.

a) The function of school volunteers is to assist the teacher and/or the school.

b) School volunteers who work with children shall work at all times under the supervision of a designated teacher.

c) School volunteers shall be responsible to, and designated by, the principal of the school.

d) School volunteers shall assume no responsibility for any evaluation involving the school personnel, pupils, or program.

e) School volunteers shall not be included in the calculation of student-teacher ratio.

f) Teaching functions which involve decisions regarding diagnosis of pupil difficulties, prescription of learning experiences and evaluation of pupil progress are the exclusive domain of the professional teaching staff.

5. a) The NLTA clearly recognizes the need for additional professional personnel in the schools of our province and will continue to press for such an increase through a change in the present teacher allocation formula.

b) The NLTA holds that as additional funds for personnel become available at the government and/or school board level, such funds should be utilized to provide additional classroom teachers, and such funds should be utilized for the provision of teacher assistants only when adequate professional requirements have been met.

c) If and when teacher assistants are utilized (e.g. LIP volunteer assistants, etc.) they should be governed by the following guidelines:

  1. Instructional Assistant The function of an instructional assistant is to assist with the implementation of programs designed and prescribed by teachers, to be involved on an ongoing day-to- day interaction with students in classrooms and other learning centres, and to follow strategies, tactics, and materials which have been prescribed by teachers.
  2. School Assistant The function of a school assistant is to perform tasks under the direction of a teacher and to work in preparing stencils, duplicating materials, preparing bulletins, distributing materials, supervising certain pupil activities, and setting up visual equipment, displays, and equipment used in the teaching process.

6. Specific Guidelines

a) A teacher assistant shall perform such duties as are assigned to them by the principal subject to the instructions of the school board and the superintendent, but those duties shall not include the organization and management of the classrooms; the planning of teaching strategies; and the direction of learning experiences of pupils (excepting under the guidance of a qualified teacher with the approval of the administration).

Such duties may include the assessment of individual needs of pupils; the selection of materials to meet pupil needs; and the evaluation of pupil progress.

b) In the absence of a teacher, a teacher assistant shall not assume or be assigned duties reserved for teachers. A teacher assistant shall not function in a classroom role if a certified teacher is not available for direction and guidance.

c) Broad guidelines for establishing the roles and functions of teacher assistants are as follows:

  1. Clerical – collecting money, keeping records, typing, filing, etc.
  2. Housekeeping – keeping instructional materials neat and ready for use, arranging work areas, supervising pupil clean-up activities, lab preparations, etc.
  3. Non-instructional – making arrangements for field trips or resource persons, checking out library books and supplies, etc.
  4. Audio-visual – ordering audio-visual materials, setting up equipment, etc.
  5. Instruction-related – making objective tests and objective type homework, preparing instructional materials, working with small groups, etc.

d) The onus must be on school boards to define the duties of teacher assistants in such terms as to ensure that they do not come in conflict with The Schools Act and/or any existing collective agreement by performing functions which can only be assigned to teachers.

e) Teachers who make use of the services of teacher assistants must accept responsibility for the manner in which they are utilized. Not only must such teachers avoid assigning assistants tasks which are teaching tasks, but also they must protect any such assignment by their employees and bring any violation to the attention of the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association for necessary action.

f) Memorial University of Newfoundland should be encouraged to offer a course or courses designed to enable teachers to acquire flexibility in the utilization of teacher assistants.

7. Indigenous Teachers

The NLTA encourages the employment of indigenous teachers rather than indigenous teacher assistants, and feels that the Department of Education (Certification Committee) should give special consideration to persons possessing skill in an indigenous language.

8. Mental Health Specialists

Since most Newfoundland and Labrador schools are too small to have mental health specialists attached permanently to them, the Newfoundland and Labrador government should select and pay teams of mental health specialists who would travel to Newfoundland and Labrador schools and attach themselves to these schools for one or two weeks at a time, each year, to render specialist services. [1981 AGM] [May/2-3/86]