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Advice please for a very nervous nearly graduate!

Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by CMShipley, Mar 14, 2012.

  1. CMShipley

    CMShipley New commenter

    Hi all,

    I don't know if this is the appropriate place to start a thread but fingers crossed I've got it right!

    I'm currently in my final year at university and will be graduating with a 2:1 (hopefully!) After university I want to try and get a job as a teaching assistant in a primary school but I have absolutely no idea where to start and there is so much conflicting advice from careers advisors at university and on the internet!

    I have experience volunteering with primary age children and I've worked as an au pair but I'm struggling to find concrete advice on whether I'd even stand a chance of getting an interview for TA positions. Is the NVQ needed for this job? I've been told I don't need it because I will have a degree but someone else advised me I would still need to take the NVQ and I'd like to be certain.

    If anyone has the patience it would be great if someone could briefly sum up your usual day as a TA? I have a rough idea and I have a month placement for after university at a specialist education school but I'd like some idea of what will be expected before I'm thrown in at the deep end!

    Thanks for taking the time to read this, I realise it's all a bit garbled!
     
  2. CMShipley

    CMShipley New commenter

    Hi all,

    I don't know if this is the appropriate place to start a thread but fingers crossed I've got it right!

    I'm currently in my final year at university and will be graduating with a 2:1 (hopefully!) After university I want to try and get a job as a teaching assistant in a primary school but I have absolutely no idea where to start and there is so much conflicting advice from careers advisors at university and on the internet!

    I have experience volunteering with primary age children and I've worked as an au pair but I'm struggling to find concrete advice on whether I'd even stand a chance of getting an interview for TA positions. Is the NVQ needed for this job? I've been told I don't need it because I will have a degree but someone else advised me I would still need to take the NVQ and I'd like to be certain.

    If anyone has the patience it would be great if someone could briefly sum up your usual day as a TA? I have a rough idea and I have a month placement for after university at a specialist education school but I'd like some idea of what will be expected before I'm thrown in at the deep end!

    Thanks for taking the time to read this, I realise it's all a bit garbled!
     
  3. snugglepot

    snugglepot Occasional commenter

    Hi
    A day in the life of a TA (well HLTA.)
    Today
    Arrived 7.50am to set up breakfast club.Breakfast served to 18 pupils, cleaned up.
    8.45am spoke to teacher about planning to be carried out.
    9.00am Register, collect letters, outstanding homework etc
    9.10am Taught Maths lesson differentiated work for three groups,26 children including 4 SEN, 1 EAL
    10.15am Took class to assembly
    10.20am Marked Maths work and prepared next lesson as one piece missing re-wrote and photocopied.
    10.35am Playground duty, dealt with First Aid and minor fight.
    10.55am Collect class for next lesson.Taught English lesson to same class as above.
    12.00pm Children go to lunch
    12-12.45pm Marked books Spoke to supply teacher taking over for afternoon.
    12.50pm Stuffed sandwich and cup of tea down throat in staffroom.Went to loo.
    1.00pm Set up for small group for social skills activities.
    1.10pm Collect children from class.3 activities completed.
    2.15pm Afternoon break for children. Go to loo then outside with them.
    2.30pm Collect new group.S&L, social game for turn taking, social skills.
    3.10pm Return them to class
    3.15am Tidy room, file work, make notes.
    3 .30pm Speak to a teacher about small group work for next week.Prepare and photocopy some work ready
    for next week.Speak to another HLTA about lesson later this week.
    4.00pm Leave for appointment. Take work home to plan, prepare for Friday

    A new TA wouldn't be expected to do all this but it might give you an idea.NVQs are supposed to be getting phased out so I wouldn't advise you to do them.There are other qualifications available. You could consider OU courses which should be a breeze if you have completed a degree.I would think you would have a chance but may get beaten by someone with more experience.There are lots of people chasing these jobs now. I would consider doing a First Aid course if I were you.Could you do some work in the summer holidays- play schemes, holiday clubs, nannying?Good Luck.Look at the pay and remember most jobs are part-time.I hope this is some help.
     
  4. snugglepot

    snugglepot Occasional commenter

    Sorry it was all organised in time slots under each other but Google Chrome and TES don't seem to mix.Hope you can decipher it.
     
  5. CMShipley

    CMShipley New commenter

    Hi

    Thanks for the quick reply! It's really helpful to have some idea of what might be expected, I'm very much looking forward to my placement now to see how it all goes. The first aid course is a great idea I'm definitely going to look into that. I hadn't thought about doing summer work so that is really helpful that you've pointed it out! Thanks again!
     
  6. Our school employs TAs with a degree instead of an NVQ. However it is generally additional experience that would prompt the school to offer an interview. It would be hard to get a TA job without having some relevant classroom experience of some sort (whether voluntary or paid).
    I am a HLTA and my day would be much as above. However TAs at our school work from 8.45 to 3.15 and spend their day in the classroom supporting Literacy, Numeracy, Phonics and Guided Reading. During other times they will generally be working with small intervention groups and depending upon the year group some classroom preparation or admin duties. All have an unpaid half hour lunch break.
    TAs do playground duty, are First Aid trained and are required to attend training days.
     
  7. sez142

    sez142 New commenter

    I came out of uni with a 2.1 psychology degree, started applying for TA jobs with NO experience. Third interview I had I got the job. Think I was lucky. Was for a year then they reemployed me for a second year.

    I have a gifted and talented year four maths group, only 6 children. Do all planning and marking etc. help out in year 5 literacy lesson every day. I help out in a year 3 literacy reading type lesson with small group once a week. Afternoons I do various one to one interventions with different children, I plan and do these myself.

    I'm only an ordinary TA no level or htla or anything! The job made me decide to become a teacher, off to Cambridge uni to become one in sept!
     
  8. sez142

    sez142 New commenter

    I got first aid trains through my school. Schools often want first aid trained people but would be expensive to do it yourself.
     
  9. chocolateworshipper

    chocolateworshipper Occasional commenter

    It may vary by LA, but I got a TA job with no TA-related qualifications, just a degree. Spent many, many years in industry and the only experience I had of working with children was as a parent helper for a few months. I agree that you could just wait for the school to put you through first aid training. Typical day (I only work mornings): run intervention during early work, run another intervention during input for first lesson, come into lesson and run a focus group, run another intervention during wrap-up of lesson, break. Guided reading after break, then another intervention during input for second lesson, come into lesson and run a focus group, run another intervention during wrap-up of second lesson. Take work home, as not given any time to plan for intervention groups.
     
  10. mrmatt73

    mrmatt73 Occasional commenter

    Just to add to the other replies, I got a job as a TA after being made redundant and wanted a career change (may go into teaching). If you have trouble getting a TA job, do a day or two voluntarily as this will look good on a CV.
    Ta.
     
  11. I got a TA job with no NVQ (I have a 2:1 degree though) not long after I graduated in 2010. The experience I had at the time was volunteering in various schools and also working as a nursery assistant for a year. However my BF got a TA job with just a few months voluntary experience. There are definitely less TA jobs now than there were when I was looking a few years ago but it is definitely still possible if you can sell yourself at the interview with some good experience, enthusiasm and like others have said, a first aid qualification is always a bonus.
    As for a general day, it is definitely not as hectic as the HLTA role described above but it still very tiring. I work from about 8.30am until about 3.30pm-4.30pm. I have a morning break of about 15 mins and 20-30 mins lunch. I do a lunch duty every day as well as a break duty and spend my time during classroom time supporting lower ability pupils, doing admin and displays, taking groups out, booster sessions, preparing/finding resources etc. It is hard work but I maintain a very good work/life balance-I do lots of little bits at home (like preparing homework/resources) but I normally leave on time every day and am free from 4pm onwards! Despite this though the pay isn't the best-for a 35 hour week I get about £900 a month, not enough for me to afford rent in London so I live at home.
    Good luck :)
     
  12. I'm in the exact same position you are, so I found this thread really useful, thanks for starting it! I've got experience at pretty much every educational level, and I have put myself through full first aid training, but I'm not even getting any interviews from anywhere... I'm not even being told I've been rejected and it's really getting me down. Just to add to this, any advice on structuring application forms/cover letters to make your application shine?
     

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