As a trainee teacher, it can be rather intimidating to enter a school and work with the class Teaching Assistant (TA) who has quite often had many more years experience in a school setting.
When I first started my Phase 1b placement, I felt that it was very important to build an effective relationship with the class TA. This allowed us to create a mutual respect and increase my confidence.
In each of my lesson plans I included a section that was specifically for the role of the TA. In this, I included great detail so that the TA understood their specific jobs for the session. I always aimed to give the plan to the TA the day before the session allowing them the opportunity to reflect on their own knowledge and think of any questions that they may need to know before the session. Each morning I would meet with the TA to ensure they understood what they were doing, as well as gain their opinion of the session.
As easy as it is to assign the TA to the lower ability children, I did try to use them in the most effective way. I found that the TA was great to extend the higher ability children’s knowledge. A TA can also be very helpful when it comes to assessment if you make sure that you outline what, who and how they should assess within the lesson.
TARGET: To continue to look at the most effective ways using a TA within the lesson.
Hectic, chaotic, glitter everywhere but most importantly smiles all around! On my first year placement at Tebay Primary School I experienced the excitement and festivities that come with being in a primary school at Christmas time – what fun it was!
My first task during the Christmas period was to assist with the class’ attempt at creating the decorations for a Christmas Tree that was to be entered in to the local Chapel’s community Christmas Tree Festival. The tree was based on the book “The Ice Bear” by Jackie Morris and therefore children created icicles, felt polar bears and Eskimos to decorate the tree. I was in charge of creating the felt polar bears and taught the children the basic steps of sewing which created the decoration. This activity was enjoyed by all the children and they were extremely proud to see their sewing (for some this was their first attempt) displayed on the Christmas tree. On the Friday evening after school, prior to the Christmas Tree Festival, I took the tree to the Chapel and displayed the children’s decorations.
It was brilliant to experience the preparations involved in the school’s Christmas Play and Carol Concert. Having helped with the rehearsals, singing the songs on repeat to learn the words and hence being stuck in my head 24/7, it was brilliant to see the children exhibit their talents in two amazing performances. It certainly made the 7:30am-9pm day worth every minute! Being present at both of the performances and helping with the refreshments gave me the opportunity to communicate with parents and carers with regard to their children’s achievements and presence in school.
There were also several other opportunities that allowed me to develop professional relationships with staff, parents and governors of the school . These included an advent service at the village church; Christmas dinner at which the governors and local community attended; the school Christmas Fair; a whole school trip to watch a Pantomime at The Sands Centre, Carlisle and carol singing for the elderly in the village.
All of these experiences allowed me to develop my confidence greatly and encouraged me to take on similar opportunities in the future. I thoroughly enjoyed my time on placement during the Christmas period and can not wait for the Christmas fun to begin again!