The job of a teaching assistant can vary depending on the school and the teacher you are working with. Each school, although having to adhere to strict guidelines, can still to an extent change some of the ways in which the school is run. If you have previously been a teaching assistant in a school and then move to another you may have to learn to work in a different way.
It is important early on to establish what your job role entails exactly so you do not overstep the mark with the teacher and also so you do not miss any important tasks that you should be doing.
You may be given task such as creating displays, organising worksheets, collecting and giving out books, hearing children read and possibly taking a small group of children to work with during lesson time. If there is a pupil who has learning difficulties then you may be responsible for working with them the majority of the time.
Some teaching assistants that have teaching experience may be asked to cover the class for a short period if the teacher is away on a course or off ill for example.
Safeguarding children is something that all teachers should be trained on and it’s important to keep up to date with the latest methods and advice to ensure that you are compliant with current legislation. This can be tricky however when you are in an unfamiliar school as a supply teacher.
Now some people may think that this is not an important aspect of supply work however it is essential that no matter how long or short you are responsible for that class you do your utmost to ensure that the safeguarding standards of the school are upheld.
The first thing to do is to familiarise yourself with the schools safeguarding standards and procedures so that you are equipped with the information should you need to use it. This is just as important as reading over the fire drill procedures and the first aid information so should not be overlooked.
As a new unknown adult in a position of responsibility, you may also actually be in a position where a child is more likely to approach you with an issue relating to safeguarding as there are less embarrassment and fear of judgment from someone who is completely unknown to them and they may not see again.
With many students getting ready to start their GCSE’s and A Levels this summer, they will soon need to be considering what they are going to do afterwards. It may be that they are going on to further education and know what grades they need to get or possibly that they have decided they want to work. The recent laws state that all under 16 to 18-year-olds must stay in full-time education, for example at a college, start an apprenticeship or traineeship or spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering, while in part-time education or training.
To find out what career may be suitable for you, you could try taking one of the personality quizzes such as the one on the UCAS website. This will ask you a series of questions and based on the answers you have provided, it will tell you a bit more about your personality and what jobs may be suited to you.
You have to be able to speak to a careers advisor at school or if not you may be able to contact the nation careers advise service to find out what options you have available to you and what may be a good career path for you to choose.
Teaching is a hugely stressful job and there are many aspects of teaching that people find difficult and can cause unnecessary pressure and stress. As a teacher there will be times when you may feel that you need a bit of help and advice. It may need that you need advice on how to deal with the behaviour or a certain individual or class of students or possibly how to teach a particular subject in an informative but fun way. There are a number of places that you can go to help seek out the answers to your queries and many teachers often start by asking the advice of fellow colleagues or the head teacher. You may even find that a colleague has been through a similar situation to you and can help you by suggesting things that you could try that seemed to work well for them. If it is a certain topic or element of the curriculum that you are worried about, why not see if anyone has copies of lesson plans that you can look through to help you plan your lesson.
Often there is a huge amount of information, worksheets and lesson plan ideas online, your school may have access to sites such as Twinkl which can give you a great place to start.
With the turnover of teachers so high at present and more and more leaving the profession entirely, we have to question what is going on in the world of education. After speaking to a number of teachers, it is easy to see what the most common reasons for leaving are and why many of them say teaching is not what it used to be.
Education has moved on a lot over the past decade and children who are now starting reception are doing work that maybe 20 years ago would have been done in years 4 or 5. It is great that our children have the opportunity to learn more from a younger age but with this comes added pressure to students but also to teachers whose job it is not constantly checked that the children are at the level they need to be.
Teaching has become more targets and results-based and there is also a lot more paperwork for a teacher to complete. With teachers often having classes of 30 plus, lesson planning and marking now takes up a huge part of their working day, often meaning they are having to carry on working at home in the evenings.