BECOME AN ASSISTANT TO A STUDENT WITH A DISABILITY!
Patrycja is a third year student of economics. She is just starting a new semester not only of learning but also of working as an assistant to a colleague from her group. “One of the biggest advantages of my work as an assistant is that it is easy to combine it with full-time studies. I recommend it to all students who regularly attend classes. This is enough so that the additional duties do not cause any difficulties,” she says. Patrycja is Ola’s assistant. Together they study economics. It was Ola who told her that the University of Wroclaw is looking for people who will support students and doctoral students with disabilities.
“An assistant is a person who supports the process of student’s or PhD student’s education. His or her detailed duties are each time adjusted to the individual needs of a person with a disability. Usually we need most assistants at the beginning of each semester, but we recruit all year round,” says Anna Ponikowska from the Support Unit for Students and PhD Students with Disabilities.
What is Patrycja’s responsibility? In Ola’s case, it is visual disability, which is connected with difficulties in moving within the building, dealing with matters at the Dean’s Office or reading information from boards. During classes, Ola uses a special device, a kind of small telescope, to read from a greater distance. But then she is unable to keep up with writing notes. And here with help comes Patrycja. She writes notes on a computer and then she easily adapts their format to Ola’s needs.
Patrycja learned about how she should perform her duties at the Support Unit for Students and PhD Students with Disabilities. She attended a training session where she learned that the basic principle of the assistant is to support, not to do everything for that person. Since then, Patrycja has been in constant contact with the Unit and she can always call them if there are any questions or concerns. If necessary, both students also have the opportunity to receive professional help from a psychologist, Dr. Alina Czapiga.
What was the biggest challenge for Patrycja as an assistant?
“I think it was a necessity to introduce my duties to teachers. Many of them had not previously dealt with assistants. Beginnings were difficult, but after explaining the whole situation, everyone remembered that after each class I needed their signature on my work card,” Patrycja answers.
For Ola and Patricia, the contact does not end after the classes. The girls simply like each other and like to meet privately as well: “As it so happened, my assistant is a colleague from the year. We have established a good relationship and we get along both in the student-assistant relationship and in private. We maintain regular contact also outside the university,” Ola says.
Do you want to know more? Read the answers to the most frequently asked questions. Anna Ponikowska answers:
When can I apply for an assistant position?
Basically, throughout the entire academic year, although the greatest demand is at the beginning of each semester.
What will my duties look like?
The range of duties of an assistant is tailored to the individual needs of the person with a disability, but always involves support related to the educational process. We are looking for assistants for students and PhD students with any type of disability. The exact responsibilities are part of the contract we sign with the assistants.
How do I know that this is a job for me?
If you like helping people and are an open and empathetic person, this is definitely a job for you!
Can I manage it even if I have no experience with people with disabilities?
Lack of experience is not an obstacle to becoming an assistant. At the beginning of each semester we always organize trainings. The assistant can also ask us questions at any time.
How many hours a week do I need to spend on this work and how will I be paid for it?
It takes usually about 20-30 hours a week. Of course the working time depends on the individual needs of the person with a disability. The payment is made monthly on the basis of the jobsheet, which should be regularly updated.
How much can I earn?
The rate is 20,00 PLN gross per hour. The number of hours depends on the needs of the person with a disability and the availability of an assistant. If an assistant would like to work with more than one person with a disability, it is also possible.
How should I apply?
Just send your CV to our e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org. It is worth to specify your availability right away so that we can immediately adjust it to the needs of the person with a disability.
What if during the semester it turns out that I want to resign?
The contract is signed for a semester, with two weeks’ notice. Of course, you should inform us as soon as possible about your wish to resign, so that the person with a disability is not left out without support.