Experience and Role
This assignment portrays my understanding of the role of a Teaching Assistant and how I believe my past experience has influenced my current role.
The Teaching Assistant??™s File (DfEE, 2000, para. 2.5) suggests four levels of support provided, and although I have structured my assignment in this way, I feel that many points are interlinked and as a whole they highlight the extreme diversity of the Teaching Assistant??™s role. As suggested in Study Topic 1 page 5, they are sometimes referred to as ???paraprofessionals ??? meaning they supplement and support the work of professionals.
I support a mixed year 3/4 class (KS 2 ages 7-11) but have experience in working across KS1 and KS2, including Foundation stage. I run a breakfast club and am a nominated first aider. A Cover Supervisor qualification enables me to supervise the class in the absence of the Teacher. My job description is ???Teaching Assistant level 2??™ and my role is extremely diverse with varying levels of responsibility. My school (2012) Job Description. (Appendix A)
Primarily my aim is to help pupils access the curriculum provided by the Teacher. I supervise individuals and groups during learning activities. To help encourage acceptance and inclusion of pupils with special educational needs I deliver daily phonic sessions. I provide support for pupils??™ independent learning by reinforcing the Teacher??™s points. I also support gifted and talented pupils to stretch their abilities. I deliver a P.H.S.E lesson which facilitates physical, social, emotional and educational development, where I aim to gain pupils??™ trust and confidence, encourage independence and good behaviour. It is important to develop positive working relationships with pupils to assist maximum progress and attainment. (KU1.1)
As suggested in Study Topic 1, page 10, Teaching Assistants not only support learning but also enhance pupils??™ confidence by positive interaction. CD1 seq 1
It is vital to ensure pupils??™ safety and to assist in their general welfare. This involves many skills ranging from providing a physically safe environment to being a good listener. A Teaching Assistant must be a consistently good role model, promoting good values and behaviour. As Mason has noted in Chapter 4 of Primary Teaching Assistants, Learners and learning, we need to listen to pupils as they can provide valuable feedback.
I assist the Teacher with the implementation of set tasks for individuals/groups of children, including tidying the classroom before and after activities. The production of teaching aids is another part of my role together with presenting displays. I am involved in classroom administration, collecting dinner monies /school trip monies, and am responsible for a pupil incentive reward scheme (star charts and certificates). I continually monitor and record pupil progress, providing verbal and written feedback to the Teacher. I regularly mark pupil??™s work and during assessments will read for less able pupils. I am often a first point of contact for parents/carers and liase between them and the Teachers. (KU 1.7) I believe that my contribution towards the planning and the production of I.E.P s is invaluable as I have relevant information relating to pupils. A French pupil with little knowledge of the English language recently joined and I supported him by labelling various items (ie furniture) so as to familiarise him with the language. (KU 1.1).
I regularly deal with minor disputes or accidents which enable the Teacher to continue teaching with minimum disruption. ???With up to thirty seven children in each class, how could a teacher do her job effectively without assistants??™ (Study Topic 1 ,page 20)
An effective Teaching Assistant will represent a school as an excellent role model. I am aware of my school??™s policies and procedures and understand my role and responsibilities in relation to these. (KU 1.2)
My school (2012) Staff Handbook.(Appendix B)
I recognise the importance of maintaining confidentiality. I consider myself to be a strong team leader who exchanges information with colleagues in line with agreed practice. I attend staff meetings and regular reviews for a statemented pupil who I support. This allows me to communicate with the SENCO, parents and outside professionals (Speech Therapists, Educational Physchologists) . (PS 3.3) (KU 1.7). This helps me to review the IEP with the Teacher, which in turn, helps the school. I attend most educational visits and assist at school fund raising events. I contribute to the school by developing skills through in-service training and other courses helping my continuing professional development. (KS4.3).
Near the end of Year 6, I escorted a pupil with learning difficulties to his new school for a taster day. Prior to this I had visited the school and taken photographs of various rooms to familiarise him with his new setting.
I support the curriculum by assisting in the delivery of educational programmes, and also with the implementation of learning activities. (KU 1.1)
By following the planning I am able to support pupils??™ social and emotional development and contribute towards their communication and intellectual development. I also develop their physical development and skills. By marking work and giving feedback in groups, I bring fresh ideas to the curriculum. Progress is constantly monitored which is helping to raise standards.
As Hancock and Colby have noted in Chapter 1 of Primary Teaching Assistants, Learners and learning, of the seven types of work carried out by teaching assistants, support for children??™s curriculum learning took up most of their time. For those who find it difficult to access the curriculum, I offer individual support, thus promoting inclusion.
My school (2012) Prospectus(Appendix C)
Previous interests and experience
I believe that my previous jobs have all equipped me with knowledge, experience and skills which are transferable to my current role. I worked as a Financial/ Mortgage Advisor for a bank, where confidentiality and the ability to work as a team member were vital. Excellent social skills were also a necessity. Within school, confidentiality is essential as is the ability to communicate with children, colleagues, parents and other professionals. (PS 3.3).
Team working and being able to provide effective support for colleagues is of paramount importance.
When working as a Secretary/Sales Negotiator in an Estate Agency, as well as having excellent organisational skills I had targets to meet (similar to helping organise planning or meeting curriculum targets.) Prior to paid employment, I worked voluntarily as an Assistant for ???Helping Hands??™, a social group of children with physical and mental disabilities. I feel this has heightened my awareness of inclusion, discrimination and human rights within my current role.
Shaw has noted ??? the disabled people I met taught me about the damage that social systems can do as well, also often unintentionally.??™ (Chapter 3, Primary teaching assistants, learners and learning, page 23).
My love of children also attracted me to a voluntary position working with a church group called ???Pathfinders??™. This encouraged social interaction of children from different cultures who practiced different religions. I have brought my experience of ???multiculturalism??™ into my present role as it has given me a deeper understanding of other cultures. ???It is important to recognise that all these skills are transferable and can be very useful for working in school??™ (Study Topic 2 page 17).
I draw on my own experience as a child at primary school and feel that ???empathy??? is an invaluable skill which I now use at school every day. As a pupil, I was very shy and hated being the centre of attention. The playground was a noisy battlefield and I felt vulnerable, but thankfully Mrs A, (a helper) was my ???guardian angel??™. She was kind, approachable, had a soothing voice and made me feel safe. I like to think of myself as the ???Mrs A??™ of today as I can empathise with many of the pupils I support in my daily role. ???Looking back, you may realise how much you learnt from a bad experience.??™ (Study Topic 2, page 8.) CD1 seq 1
I have three teenage children and I believe that parenting experience is a very important skill which I bring to my role. As with my own children, at school I am able to deal with their quarrels, I can be adaptable and flexible and can perform other tasks whilst still monitoring their movements/progress. I am able to use effective encouragement to help them to complete a task and I have an understanding of their own personal habits.
I feel that advanced planning and preparation of work are vital if the curriculum is to be developed effectively and if appropriate support for teaching and learning is to be provided. I am fortunate to have a good working relationship with the Teacher I support. She involves me in the planning/preparation of work through, regular meetings and we discuss daily lesson plans and learning objectives. We also discuss my contributions to the lesson and the level of support required together with specific strategies for learning activities. I provide verbal and written feedback on pupil performance and she gives me constructive feedback on my performance. As suggested in Study Topic 1, page 23, teachers appreciate that they can develop their own role by sharing good practice.
In school there are many training opportunities including inset days. My most recent appraisal helped me to identify my learning needs. I would benefit from ICT training, especially with the recent introduction of netbooks and ipads. I sometimes feel frustrated that I cannot access information or deal with a technical problem and therefore training in this area would give me more confidence. (KS 4.3). Pupils now have access to a portal which enables them to complete homework online. I would welcome training in this area as I have recently been asked questions by parents which I have had to refer to the Teacher. I currently support a pupil who is dyspraxic. Although I have received ???informal??™ training from the Teacher on strategies to support dyspraxic pupils, I feel that ???formal ??? training in this area would be beneficial. I have attended courses on supporting pupils with behavioural, social and emotional difficulties but would like more training on supporting those with sensory and/or physical needs such as hearing or visual impairments. CD1seq 2. I believe that effective professional development and training opportunities can have a positive impact on a Teaching Assistant??™s performance, which in turn can greatly enhance the pupils??™ learning experiences.
I hope that this assignment portrays ???the richness of a teaching assistant??™s role and highlights the demanding, and often complex nature of their work alongside a Teacher in a classroom. ??? (Study Topic 1, page 29)
Word count: 1758
The Open University (2005) E111 Supporting Learning in Primary Schools, Study Topic 1, Teaching Assistants Today, Milton Keynes, The Open University.
My School (2012) Job Description (Appendix A)
Hancock,R and Colloby, J (2005) ??? Eight Titles and Roles??™ in Hancock, R and Collins, J (Eds) Primary Teaching Assistants: Learners and learning, London, David Fulton Publishers Ltd.
My School (2012) Staff Handbook (Appendix B)
Mason, L (2005) ???My history of helpers??™ in Hancock, R and Collins, J (eds) Primary Teaching Assistants: Learners and learning, London, David Fulton Publishers Ltd.
My School(2012) Prospectus (Appendix C)
Shaw, L (2005) ???Supporting Human Rights??™ in Hancock, R and Collins, J (Eds) Primary Teaching Assistants; Learners and learning, London, David Fulton Publishers Ltd.
The Open University (2005) E111 Supporting learning in Primary Schools, Study Topic 2, Autobiography and Learning, Milton Keynes, The Open university.