I returned to full time work in March this year, after an 11 year break, minus 18 months 2016/2017 teaching in a school in Dubai. I've had other jobs from volunteering in townships to working in a covid vaccination site to working as a TV assistant on the European Golf Tour.
My last teaching job in the UK was delivering and assessing NVQ III students in the work place as Teaching Assistants. It was a role I wanted to return to initially, but with such a long time since I'd taught, getting interviews was difficult. I saw a post advertised at child 4's old school and was offered the job.
I arrive in work on my bike, in the car or on foot, via the swimming pool at 8.30am and leave at 3pm. I have no planning, no marking, no assessments.
I have 2 lessons, a 15 minute break, 2 lessons, 30 minute lunch, 2 lessons and home. I rarely stay past 3pm unless I want to, to send emails or updates students notes.
In interview when asked what my career progression was I replied that I didn't have one. I'm more than happy to do this role until I retire. I have all the school holidays off, other than 2 teacher training days, in which we can travel, visit our children and grandchildren in.
Apart from the standard English, Maths, Science, Geography and History, I also support students in Home Economics, Design and Technology, Music, Art and Drama. We've been doing Performance Poetry on stage, I've been helping two classes with making a bottle opener from metal and plastic to baking, making hats, gloves and cushions
I have 2 regular students I support for around 12 lessons a week and around 10 other students I see on a regular basis and randomly cover other students if I'm needed. I work with years 7,8 & 9.
I love the variety of lessons I'm involved with. I have a good relationship with the students and the class teachers. I regularly support the rest of the students in the classes and often have to deal with behaviour issues when it disrupts me or my SEN students from working.
Most of the teachers are happy for me to do what I do in addition to the SEN students, handing out books, ensuring students have the correct equipment and supporting them with behaviour in the classroom to enable learning.
A couple of teachers have their way of doing things and quite often in my opinion have little control over the class and it can be very chaotic with little learning taking place. The same students work really hard in other lessons, despite being generally noisy regardless.
In addition to the SEN with my allocated students, I find myself dealing with bullying, safeguarding and injury during lesson change over and on my way to and from work. I've broken up fights on my way home and dealt with incidents on the way into school. I have a strong duty of care when I see someone in trouble and have an overwhelming urge to help. Some may say it's interfering or being a busy body, bt I can't ignore acts of unkindness, injury or safeguarding concerns.
I'm refreshing my knowledge, I'm recalling my own education and I'm learning new things everyday. I'm confident to say to a student or teacher, I don't know something and we will find out together how to work the answer out, which to me is the whole point of being a teaching assistant, to facilitate learning.
I supported a year 8 student with working out a maths problem, when the teacher asked him the answer and how he worked it out, he replied with '4' and 'Miss told me'
I enjoy spending some of my break time playing table tennis, jenga and supporting students with their homework, not just the SEN children, but anyone who asks me for help.
Do you have experience as a teaching assistant? Does or did your child have support in school?