Starting Your Journey as a Teaching Assistant – Amy shares her experience.

Amy has been a consultant for Thames Teachers for over two years and currently works alongside Jessica in their successful support division. After graduating from university, she went on to work in primary schools and FE colleges as a Teaching Assistant and Cover Supervisor. Amy has been able to provide assistance to our candidates over the years and has shared some of her key lessons learned from working in schools below.

1. Education Agencies!
I joined Thames Teachers initially as a candidate to work within schools. I carefully researched the agency I wanted to join and met with them soon after speaking with my consultant on the phone. Although I had several preferences such as wanting to work within primary schools, I kept an open mind in other areas to ensure my consultant was able to discuss all options available to me. My main advice is to be open and honest with your consultant about your aims and preferences.

2. Learning Opportunities!
My aim of working within schools was to gain experience to begin a career in teaching. I ensured I was available to support the teachers and classes in a variety of ways to develop my knowledge as much as possible. I would speak with the teachers about their class, if they had not already approached me, to understand where my time would be most valuable for them. As a Teaching Assistant and Cover Supervisor, I became involved in lesson planning, marking and after-school clubs which built my confidence. For any graduates interested in teaching, working as a Teaching Assistant provides brilliant insight into what specialisms you would be interested in training in.

As a Cover Supervisor, behaviour management was a key area that I needed to focus on. I would often have activity sheets ready for any students that finished all the work set early. Having A4 pages with Sudoku, mental maths puzzle sand other brain teasers available is a great way to keep your pupils engaged. I would highly recommend taking the opportunity to learn from experienced teachers at the school and apply this in developing your own effective behavioural strategies.

3. Enjoy the Experience!
Working as a Teaching Assistant, I had a great time building pastoral relationships with the pupils. In a support role there was much more freedom to interact with pupils individually and get to know them. Seeing the development of their learning, both academic and social, was the greatest reward and working within classrooms was a hugely enjoyable experience! By the end of the academic year, I was able to see how much the pupils had achieved individually and as a class.
Working in a school, I can safely say that no day will be the same and it is a great way to gain experience. If you are interested in learning more do contact Jessica or Amy and they will be able to help you get started on your journey!

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