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Has anyone worked as a TA or cover supervisor before a PGCE?

Discussion in 'Thinking of teaching' started by KylerS, Aug 18, 2011.

  1. Hi All,

    I'm just wondering, as the title suggests, if anyone could share their experiences about working as a TA or CS before a PGCE?
    I've had a couple of TA interviews, but not been successful and I've just seen an ad for an agency for a CS position.
    I understand that these could be great experiences towards an ITT, however I am concerned as I have read some fairly negative posts on here about CSs and agencies.
    At the moment, with only 6 weeks voluntary experience, I don't think I would feel comfortable or confident enough to cover a class, but if anyone has been in a similar situation or has done this, I'd like to hear about it please.
    From volunteering, my confidence has definitely built up and I'm going back to the same school in Sept. But I'm not sure if I would be better off trying agency work or continuing to volunteer and work part time around that?
    Some ITT providers have advised me that paid school experience is preferable (with a 2:2), and that would be easier than juggling part time work, however my instinct is to stay at the school where I'm appreciated, happy and able to learn in an environment where I now feel comfortable.

    Any advice always welcome, thanks
  2. trinity0097

    trinity0097 New commenter

    My previous school had a number of cover supervisors who went on to do a PGCE. They were not thrown in at the deep end when they started either, they started off being put with an exisiting cover supervisor to learn the ropes, plus had extensive behaviour management training from the deputy head. The start of the Autumn term is rarely busy cover wise so it gives time for training to take place.
    Not all schools may be the same though, worth enquiring on their induction process for cover supervisors.
  3. Thanks for the advice. I think I would definitely prefer to work directly for a school than through an agency, but I'll bear in mind what you said.
  4. I've been a cover supervisor for the past 6 years whilst I was gaining my OU degree.
    I would say it has definately helped me gain confidence in my ability in the classroom, although I am going from CSing in a Secondary to a Primary PGCE I have so many transferable skills it's crazy!
    I would work for a school rather than an agency, you build better relationships with the staff and students, and you might even be offered the opportunity to do a GTP within the school. Two of my CS colleagues have this, one has been qualified for a year now and the other starts in September. If I had wanted to teach Secondary I know they would have supported me in my application too, but my heart is with the wide range of subjects that you get to teach in Primary rather than one curriculum area. I know I would get bored of teaching the same subject all day every day and CS helped confirm this, I love the fact that I would be all over the school covering all different subjects with all age ranges, no 2 days were ever the same and I loved my time there.
    Good luck!
  5. At my PGCE interviews, I would say at least half the applicants had paid experience as TAs (I don't remember any CSs, but I'm doing primary, so perhaps not surprising). More on top of that hadcomparable volunteer experience.
    Very few had no experience at all, or even just the bare minimum ten days in the application requirements, and most of those that did were the older applicants coming from more industry-based backgrounds.
    I have extensive experience from paid positions, and I worked for a school, never an agency; I got offers from both my interviews. Personally, I prefer to think it was my winning personality and extraordinary talent that earned me those offers ([​IMG]), but I don't doubt my history played a significant part.

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