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Advice - Volunteering in Primary Schools

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Paula2907, Nov 26, 2011.

  1. Sorry if any of this is wrong, I am new to using the forums and to posting. I am looking at a change of career into primary teaching...currently I am on maternity leave.
    I have had a look at a number of different options and spoke to the TDA who have advised I get some experience in primary and secondary schools. I am intending on telephoning/emailing the schools but am unsure as what I need to say or write?
    I am assuming I tell them of my intentions etc but am not sure how much detail I need to go into?
    Any advice would be much appreciated....
  2. Emailing is a good idea though if you don't hear back, you might want to follow up with a phone call. Just say that you are thinking of doing a PGCE or GTP and would like to get some experience to see if it's the right choice.
    We've just had someone spend a week with us (primary) for that very purpose. Before that, she had spent a week in a secondary school.
    Alternatively, primary schools are often interested in volunteers to help listen to reading etc, so you could offer to do that if you had some free time where you could go in on a regular basis. Perhaps it would be a good idea to start with a week's "work experience" and go from there.
  3. NQT2004

    NQT2004 New commenter

    Primary Schools are very busy places - where you would think any volunteering support would be willingly accepted! However this isn't always the case, there are a few reasons behind this..
    The teacher doesn't want to have to support and direct a volunteer. The volunteer doesn't show initative and the teacher has to then 'create' work for them. The teacher doesn't want children being taken out to read, they want them involved in the lesson. The volunteer turns up late or really early and takes time from the teacher. The school has had volunteers in the past who haven't fitted in and taken time that should be spent with the children has been taken away from them.
    I know that sounds negative but I am hoping to help you find a position- the above are reasons why schools might say no.
    So my advice would be to say what you want in a clear way so the school thinks this person knows what they are talking about and will be useful rather than a burden! Explain the course you are planning on completing, give details of skills you have and what you want out of the experience and the timeline in which you would like to work - suggest a few models. Phone the school to find out how that needs to be attentioned to, ensure your letter is grammatically correct. Then phone if you haven't heard anything within a week - 10 days.
    We have a volunteer who works in school every Thursday afternoon - he spent an afternoon in different classes where he proved to be brilliant! He did this for half a term and is now spending the rest of the year in one class. We have had others who have done one or two weeks or completed a full day a week for a term.
    Make it really clear to the school what you would like to do and a little about you!
    Good luck.
  4. An excellent post above.
    I enjoy having volunteers and students in my classroom, but it is such a blessing when they have some initiative. Just things like spotting the pencils need sharpening, having a general tidy up, washing the paint pots, discretely reminding children who are talking to listen, try and spot the children that need help, etc etc. At first you feel like you are intruding and stepping on toes by doing things like this without asking, but little jobs like that always need doing and any teacher will be grateful for you spotting them and doing them without being asked.
    Ask lots of questions, I am always more than happy to share my planning/assessment and answer any questions. Its sometimes hard to guess how much info to give students/volunteers and what they need/want to know, so do ask!

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