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First job as TA, reception class, advice please??

Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by katyhegney, Sep 14, 2018.

  1. katyhegney

    katyhegney New commenter

    Hi everyone, I am very excited to be starting a TA position in the school I've been volunteering in for 2 years. Just sorting through references, paperwork etc, but expecting to be starting within next couple of weeks in reception, mornings only.
    I would be so grateful if any of you have any advice for me on how to be my most effective in supporting the teacher and the children?
    Its been a long time since I've been with a reception class, and obviously my first experience being a TA.
    Any advice however small will be greatly appreciated :)

    P.S I wouldn't have got the position without the help of this forum, so thank you so much!
     
  2. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Lead commenter

    Hi katyhegney, congratulations on your new job!
    You're in a stronger position than most on their first day as you have been around the school for 2 years and will be familiar with lots of day-to-day working. However, being an employee will be very different. First of all - don't worry! Everyone was new at one time. At first, you will be working under the direction of the class teacher at all times - take your cues from them. If possible, try to arrive at school at least ten minutes before your start time so that you have a chance to check out the day - but don't be offended if the teacher doesn't have a moment to talk to you!
    Make sure you are familiar with the school behaviour policy and how it operates in reception class - they are very young and the teacher may have her own way of interpreting the policy. It's important that the children see you as a team and you are both working in the same way.
    Get to know the class routines and you will quickly find ways you can support every day without being asked - checking reading records, getting snacks ready, etc.
    Phonics is very important in reception - find out about the programme your school uses and learn as much as you can about it.
    If there are other TAs in the class, be friendly - they will be great allies. Most TAs are only too willing to help newbies, so ask any questions you need.
    I'm sure you will feel slightly swamped the first few days, but don't panic - any new job is like that. If you are unsure, just ask. And don't worry if you think you asked the same question the day before; there's a lot to remember!
    Finally - smile! Talk to the children at eye level whenever possible, be friendly and confident. Post here if you have any questions when you start and folk will do their best to advise. Enjoy your new adventure!
     
    katyhegney, Trekkie and Rott Weiler like this.
  3. katyhegney

    katyhegney New commenter

    Hi Sunshieneeded!
    Thank you so much for your reply.
    I’m going to ask the teacher on Monday about the phonics programme they use.
    I thinking about asking the head if I’m ok to volunteer a few hours next week in there, while they are still processing my references etc. Just to get my head round things!?
    I’ve bought the book, Planning in the moment in the early years, any good?
    I’m just so enthusiastic, and feel so privelidged (it’s my daughters’ school!) to get the job, I just want to give it my absolute best.
    Thanks so much again :)
     
  4. katyhegney

    katyhegney New commenter

    Hi Sunshieneeded!
    Thank you so much for your reply.
    I’m going to ask the teacher on Monday about the phonics programme they use.
    I thinking about asking the head if I’m ok to volunteer a few hours next week in there, while they are still processing my references etc. Just to get my head round things!?
    I’ve bought the book, Planning in the moment in the early years, any good?
    I’m just so enthusiastic, and feel so privelidged (it’s my daughters’ school!) to get the job, I just want to give it my absolute best.
    Thanks so much again :)
     
  5. katyhegney

    katyhegney New commenter

    Hi Sunshieneeded!
    Thank you so much for your reply.
    I’m going to ask the teacher on Monday about the phonics programme they use.
    I thinking about asking the head if I’m ok to volunteer a few hours next week in there, while they are still processing my references etc. Just to get my head round things!?
    I’ve bought the book, Planning in the moment in the early years, any good?
    I’m just so enthusiastic, and feel so privelidged (it’s my daughters’ school!) to get the job, I just want to give it my absolute best.
    Thanks so much again :)
     
  6. snugglepot

    snugglepot Occasional commenter

    Congratulations.
    Observe, observe, observe.
    You will learn how the teacher likes things done by observing and asking questions
     
    sunshineneeded likes this.
  7. snugglepot

    snugglepot Occasional commenter

    Lots of good advice as always by sunshine
    If there is another TA in class then ask questions. Write them in a small jotter if not so you can ask the teacher when she isn't busy. I like to have a book to share in class so the teacher can jot down jobs when she thinks of them so I can be cutting out letters etc while the children are on the carpet. This makes for a good relationship I have found as it helps to take the pressure off the teacher.

    Screen froze above!
     
    sunshineneeded likes this.
  8. katyhegney

    katyhegney New commenter

    Brilliant advice, thank you. I love the idea of having a jotter for them to write down things that need doing before they forget! Brilliant! Thank you smugglepot! :)
     
  9. karlkarlkarl

    karlkarlkarl New commenter

    Congratulations.
    I've just started my 2nd year in reception. It's was a huge shock to me last September how completely different it was to other years. I think you have already been given some great advice but I'll throw my two penneth in anyway. Definitely agree about always talk to the children at their level (I seem to spend most of my day on the floor). Observations wise, do you [​IMG]know if you are doing these on paper or electronically (we use Tapestry). Make sure you get the relevant information such as where the observation took place (outside, sand tray, water, etc, what the child/children were doing, whether the activity was 'adult led' or 'child initiated'. Always try and get the 'childs voice' basically, what they were saying or how they responded to any questions.
    Never be worried about asking the class teacher questions if your not sure. Can't say I can answer all questions but please feel free to ask if you have any specific questions.
    Enjoy yourself, it's amazing to see how much the kids change over the year in reception.
     
    katyhegney and sunshineneeded like this.
  10. katyhegney

    katyhegney New commenter

    Hi there, brilliant advice, thank you karlkarlkarl!

    I actually have no clue about how they do their observations! I really hope I can pick everything up quickly and be as effective as possible in supporting them. I have been told there are lots of children this year that are giving the teachers a run for their money. At least 4 or 5 with SEN. One child needs to be isolated because of constant biting, another autistic. If you have any specific tips on dealing with children with special needs such as these?
    The position is part time, would love to be put forward for full time. I think the funding is there too, they are just seeing how I get on part time first I presume?
     
  11. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Lead commenter

    katyhegney,I'm not familiar with the book you mention so can't comment on it. The EYFS Statutory Framework is available online - it's a very weighty document, please don't feel you need to plough through it!!!! But you might want to skim it to get an idea of the areas reception class learning focusses on.
    Once you are there and established, let your line manager know that you are interested in any training available and would be willing to complete it in your own time if necessary.
    There are several people at our school who started part-time (myself included) and moved to full-time when funding and their circumstances allowed, so you should have every chance.
     
    katyhegney likes this.
  12. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    As you're a local mum, think about confidentiality issues. Friends and acquaintances might expect to get "the inside track" from you, so decide how you are going to deal with that. You don't want to look stand offish but you are in a privileged position and will find out all sorts of personal details about your neighbours families, decide where your priorities lie. if you want to keep the job and be moved onto a full time contract, you know that being professional must come first. I never worked close to where I lived and was glad of it.
     
    katyhegney likes this.
  13. katyhegney

    katyhegney New commenter

    Thank you so much for advice again. I am fully aware of confidentiality issues that may arise. I have been a brownie leader in our village for 3 years, on trips, overnight stays etc. So I feel like I have dealt with this in the past. This question cropped up in my interview actually, and I used girlguiding as an example I am able to maintain my professionalism. My position at the school is my upmost priority.
    Thanks again
     
  14. karlkarlkarl

    karlkarlkarl New commenter

    Hi, last year we had 3 SEND children in our reception class which proved very challenging. It's a really tricky one as the schools behavioural policy does not always cover the day to day realities of dealing with some children. If in any doubt always defer to what the SENCO tells you. Also, worth asking if you can go on a safe handling course if you are dealing with children that can be violent. I would say always consider the safety of the rest of the class. If a child is kicking off in an area, rather than escalate the situation think about removing the rest of the class to isolate the situation. Also, always ask yourself can you justify what you are doing if you are questioned about it as sometimes parents are quick to point fingers at staff.
     
    katyhegney likes this.
  15. katyhegney

    katyhegney New commenter

    Great advice, thank you karlkarlkarl.
     

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