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    Hey guys!

    Apologies if this is the wrong place, couldn't think of anywhere else to ask. Basically, I've been accepted on to a TA course and as part of that, I have to secure a 2 day/week placement at a school and I'm currently in talks with a few schools.

    I was hoping to secure and start a place as soon as possible so I could get used to it because this is all new to me (spent the last 4-5 years recovering from illness away from society pretty much) but it seems I'll be starting in September when my course also starts.

    I was just wondering, what's your typical day like as a teaching assistant, typically what are your responsibilities etc? Any answers are appreciated, especially those who are working with Primary age children (5-7~) as that's where my placement will be. Just trying to gather as much information about it all as possible, I'm excited but incredibly nervous too!

    Thanks guys.
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    Was my last day as a TA yesterday after doing a year in school getting experience ahead of my Primary PGCE next year.


    You will be asked to help with displays, naturally. Also support children's learning. So a teacher might ask you to take a group (often the lowest one) and go through the work with them while the teacher helps the others. Other times you might not have a group and you should just go around the class asking questions about what they're doing, maybe why they're doing this or what if you did it this way etc.
    Often teachers will have them on the carpet at the start of the lesson to introduce what they're doing. What I was encouraged to do and what you could do if the teacher thinks it's a good idea is take out a child to sit next to you on chairs and go over what the teacher is saying, making sure they understand. If they're doing examples then the teacher will ask the children what the answer is, you can ask them what they think the answer is. Ask them if they understood it and if not explain it. Then sometimes you can think up your own examples if the subject allows for it, to ask the child.
    You might have intervention groups, where you find your own area in the school and are given a small group of struggling children and you teach them for a half hour on whatever session it's for. ie. maths, spelling and grammar etc.
    Behaviour management too. Making sure they're not too loud, talking, generally misbehaving.
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    I worked full time as an LSA in a year 3 class (aged 7-8) last year before starting a course at university doing Primary Education with QTS.

    I was assigned to one child who needed a lot of support, however, I was mostly involved with helping out the classroom generally.

    In the morning, I would arrive before the children and come to the classroom. The teacher would brief myself and the other TAs on what would be happening (every day is different; there is always something happening!) and we would set the class up. Sometimes this would be photocopying the sheets or resources needed for the lessons or putting pots/glues/pencils etc on the tables ready for the start of the day. On certain days of the week I would be on gate duty, letting the children in and speaking to parents at the start of the day. When the children are in the class, they were allowed to read or colour before we took the register, waiting for everyone to arrive and settle down. During this time, I would take children out to read, depending on who needed to read.
    The children would then be on the carpet for lessons before sitting at their tables for the main activity. During carpet time I would have two jobs; crowd control/behaviour management and aiding children with their learning. My teacher once told me that whilst I was on the carpet, one of my jobs was to be her second pair of eyes. You should keep an eye on the children at the back as it is difficult for the teachers to see everything that is going on! You should also watch for and be aware of any children who aren't participating or are struggling and help them whilst they're on the carpet without giving them the answers so that they are able to complete the work independently for the main activity.
    When the children sit at the tables, you would probably be assigned to sit with a certain ability group and you must make sure that they are pushed and challenged, even if they are the higher ability table.

    During breaks, it is a good idea to volunteer to help out with break duty, if you haven't been assigned. This looks good and the school obviously would appreciate any extra adults to help supervise on the playground, particularly if the school is one with various sections.

    In the afternoon, I did a lot of intervention groups. This varies from school to school, but I had to plan what I was doing in each session, but it is a lovely experience to really get to know the children and target any problems they are experiencing. I really enjoyed the intervention groups

    At the end of the day, you help tidy up and send the children out to their parents. When that is finished, it is good to stick around to ensure that any extra jobs that you can help with are done before the next day. Of course, as you are not paid to or expected to, you can just leave at the end of the day, but it doesn't look good. The teacher will be eternally grateful for any help you can give, even if it's just running to the photocopier and photocopying 10 sheets before you go home.

    The main thing is, even though it is education, the main job is looking after these children and giving them life skills. A lot of these children will not have much at home and it is your job to help them in school and give them guidance and support with their learning. You should be promoting them to be autonomous learners with the eventuality that they will be learning themselves and will not need someone pushing them all of the time (i.e. getting them ready for life/secondary school).

    Hope this helped and hope you have a great time It's such a rewarding job!
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    Wonderful answers, thank you very much. Just about to head to my preferred school for talks about a placement, need to secure one, they all break up soon. Thank you again
 
 
 
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