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Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by London470, Oct 24, 2019.

  1. London470

    London470 New commenter

    I started my volunteer student placement in a school. On the first day I was not introduced to anyone and was not shown around the school and do not know where the fire exits and first aid boxes are and was not told when breaks are etc.

    All staff were in a meeting in the morning so I had to do group and 1-1 tasks and was not explained them properly by the teaching assistants.

    The teaching assistants did not look happy. I mentioned this on another forum which some people have said I am not entitled to say that as I do not know what has happened to them. I know people have personal lives but I have worked in toxic work environments before which can have negative consequences and do not want to be dragged into working with negative people again.

    One of the teaching assistants told a child they had 'smashed it', is this how children are praised nowadays as again some people on another forum did not see what the issue was. I am a bit more traditional and want to use praise without enforcing slang.

    I didn’t go out with the teacher at the end of the day with the children to be collected as I did not know if that was part of my role. Does this happen in schools where processes are not explained properly? They knew I was coming in on that day so I don’t know why they did not postpone. How can I get these issues resolved as I don’t want to learn bad practice and want to remain positive.
  2. mandala1

    mandala1 Occasional commenter

    Your expectations as a volunteer may be a little high. It would be lovely to be shown round and introduced, but schools are very busy places and inducting a volunteer may not be top priority. You will meet people in time and you will get to know your way round the school. I would be proactive and ask the teacher you are working with what you can do to help and support the children.

    The TAs dispositions are not really any concern of yours. Rise above it - as others have said, you have no idea why they might be looking unhappy. TAs are paid appallingly and are being made redundant in many schools - this may be why they appear unhappy. And yes, "smashed is" is, I believe, a word used as praise. If this is not appropriate in a school setting then the teacher will let the TA know.

    Going out with the children at the end of the day can be a useful experience. Ask the teacher you are woking with if it is OK to do so.

    Be wary of making judgements. You are (presumably) about to embark on a teaching career. Schools are very complex and busy places and you are not in a position to judge what is good or poor practice.
    43Meadows likes this.
  3. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    Perhaps the TAs see volunteers as people who may put them out of work. Why pay TAs when volunteers work for free.
  4. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    no one is going to have the time to show a student around the school. Don't forget, the school are doing you huge favour by accommodating you. "smashed it" is fine. What is your issue with that?
  5. bg31rr

    bg31rr New commenter

    To be honest, you’re coming across as a little ungrateful when you’ve been given a great opportunity. Shadowing a teacher/volunteering in a school is great preparation for a future career in teaching. Yet you seem to feel entitled to more attention but I wonder what you’re basing this on. Were you promised a tour of the school etc?

    Fire exits etc would be signposted. As a volunteer, you would be expected to leave by the nearest exit as common sense dictates. You would not be expected to assist with the children as you are presumably signing in each day and need to be accounted for separately.

    You also don’t really need to know where the first aid box is. If you’re hurt, you’re an adult and can ask. If a child is injured, you are (I assume, apologies if I’m wrong) not qualified to administer first aid and, again, this is not your responsibility.

    Sure, a walking tour of the school with these things briefly confirmed would be nice but teachers have to mark, plan, set up for the day. You even said they were in a meeting.

    Commenting on how happy the TA’s look is subjective so I’ll leave that.

    “Smashed it,” is a perfectly acceptable form of praise. Most children will react better to, “Wow, you’ve smashed that. Great work on adjectives,” than “What a wonderful effort. I am very pleased.” Moreover, slang is a normal part of spoken language. Most of it is part of dialect. The issue comes when it affects written English but otherwise you can’t stop children using slang.

    Essentially, you got to work with some students, guided by a TA. Your post suggests you spent at least part of the day in the classroom observing or assisting. You got what I think most people would expect from a volunteer position.

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