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10-06-2019 - Claire Carter - 0 comments
A day in the life of a teaching assistant


What led you to become a teaching assistant?

I worked in retail for 17 years and came to point where I worked long hours, missed out on family events, seeing friends and a lot more.  So I made the decision to change my career, I decided I was going to sign up for a course and train in something different.  Then I was left with a question, ‘what to do?’  I talked to friends, family and all gave great advice, and I decided to go for a teaching assistant course.

 Only thing then was that I had not been in education for 17 years so the thought of going back to college was daunting to say the least.  I needed to do my placement in a school, so I asked a dear friend’s mum (Head teacher in local school) if I could come and do my placement in her school, without it I could not proceed to go on course.  Lucky she said yes and I worked 1 day a week in school, 1 day a week in college and 5 days in my full time job working long hours.  I did this for a year as well as doing all my course work to pass the course.  I learned so much each day I was in school and the fact that I was good at making things, drawing and I was very crateful I went down like a storm.  I learnt so much from the staff there and they helped loads with course work ideas.  After a very hard year I passed my Level 2 course and was set to look for a job in a school, but lucky for me the head of the school in did my placement rang and offered me a job.  So I grabbed the opportunity with both hands.  After all the hard work I was ready for a change.  It did take a while to get used to the hours and weekends off and holidays as before I worked all the time.  First Christmas off in 17 years was the best feeling.   Life changing is an understatement.


 What is your favourite thing about being a teaching assistant?

 There are so many things that make my job worthwhile, working with amazing people who all give 100% every day to make school a great place for the children.

For me the best feeling is what I call, ‘The Light Bulb’ moment.  This is when a child is learning something and all of a sudden, the thing they are learning just clicks and you see it on their face, this is such an amazing feeling for me.

Creating new and exciting displays, which are a little different, form the norm.  Helping with school trip and activities and watching the children grow with every new experience they have just to name a few others.


What would be your advice for those who are looking to become a teaching assistant?

 Get into a school and volunteer, the experience will help you with your course.

 We are all amazing at something, weather that be playing and instrument, singing, drawing, dancing, creativity, gardening etc.  So why not share that talent, otherwise it is just a waste.  Past your talents, on and hopefully inspire children of the future.

 Give 100% and I am sure a school will snap you up.  Going above and beyond at times is always a good idea and talking to staff, share your ideas, listen to their ideas. It makes the job so much easier for everyone.  Team work makes the dream works.


 What are the most important qualities needed to be an effective teaching assistant?

 Good Communication with your teacher is vital.  You work together all day and to give each lesson its best possible outcome, talking and giving feedback is important too, seeing what could make the lesson better or a simple tweak can help.

 Also talking to children, you may need to say the same thing in number of different way for a child to understand what you are asking them to do, which brings me on to the next quality…

Patience is necessary as there are challenging days and emotional days but mostly great days. Always remember you are there for those children to learn as much as possible in a fun way.

 Being Helpful, not just to your class, year group or phase.  The school is a community and the skills you have can be used all over the school.  With me I am creative so I get pulled all over the school to help with displays, give my ideas and thoughts of something creative in a lesson, school productions and I love it as it is what I‘m good at.  Don’t be afraid to help and you get lots of help in return.


 Why do you think the role of a teaching assistant is important?

 Every single teacher are is a superhero in my eyes.  They don’t just work 9 until 5 Monday to Friday.  They work late into the night every night to make sure the lessons the children have are interesting, fun and exciting.  They work most holidays, setting up classrooms, making resources, marking and planning and so much more.

 As a teaching assistant, I’m there to help with making the resource to bring their amazing lessons to life, get thing ready and generally help the teacher.  Working in groups or with individual children to give each child as much support as I can and help them reach their potential. 


 What is your personal strength in the classroom?

 I love the creative side and try to make thing fun, I think that if you make it fun the children are engaged and take in the lesson so much better.  Silly voice is always a must as the children love it and interact well.

 What makes a good lesson?

 Preparation, make the lesson fun and interesting, if you capture the children and the lesson runs its self and you see the children get lots out of it to, which makes learning so much fun and not just for the children.



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