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Please can you give me feedback on my TA application supporting statement?

Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by umbrellasky, Jun 11, 2013.

  1. Hello Everyone,

    I am currently applying for Teaching Assistant jobs, but so far haven't heard back from any of them. Please can someone give me feedback on my supporting statement?


    I am applying to become a Teaching Assistant because I believe that all children deserve equal opportunities in education and this role will enable me to provide this whilst supporting children with a diverse range of learning needs. For me there is no greater joy than helping children to learn new skills and overcome challenges, which is something I discovered when volunteering at my local First School.

    I am a creative person who loves story writing, reading, art and music and I believe that my creative skills will help me support other areas of the primary curriculum such as, Science and Numeracy.

    For my degree I completed a teaching module that required me to create a lesson plan for a target audience. My target audience was a hypothetical group of six Key Stage 2 Primary school children with emotional and behavioural difficulties. My previous interest in how creative writing can be used as a therapeutic tool led me to designing a lesson plan to help children express their feelings and emotions in a positive way.

    For my research I took the initiative to contact a local Primary School and an Educational Psychologist, both of which gave me great insight into how to design my lesson plan. I was also able to test my lesson plan on my nine year old cousin. My research has taught me the importance of allowing for differentiation, making sure to support slow learners, whilst also challenging gifted and talented children. I learnt about different learning styles such as visual, audio and kinaesthetic and therefore tailored my lesson plan so that I included visual props, music, drawing, writing and role play. From this module I have gained invaluable problem solving skills and creative skills that will enable me to come up with strategies that can help children overcome challenges.

    Working as a Teaching Assistant will be a wonderful opportunity for me to put my theoretical studies of children’s behaviour into practice. As well as supporting teachers and children in the classroom, I would also be interested in supporting Ladygrove’s Forest Schools and environmental education. I believe in the positive affects that the natural environment has on children’s mental health and wellbeing.

    Good Numeracy and Literacy Skills

    I have a GCSE grade C in Mathematics which came to good use when I worked as a shop assistant for Thornton’s. The role often required being able to work out sums and percentages and mental arithmetic. In my role at Dorset Police I supported my team leader by working out annual leave for employees, which required working out sums based on their working hours, pay scales and length of service.

    I have GCSEs in English and English Literature both at grade B and Science at grade C. I have recently completed a degree in creative writing which required the ability to be able to write creatively as well as write essays. My assignments were marked for spelling, grammar and punctuation, both of which I was able to strengthen over the course of my degree.

    Use basic technology – computer, video, photocopier

    At Dorset Police I regularly used the computer to input data, write letters and send and receive emails and use the internet. I can use applications such as Microsoft Word, Excel and Outlook. I also frequently used the photocopier, scanner and laminator.

    For my degree we had assignments that required giving a presentation to the class, for this I used Microsoft PowerPoint.

    I can also use Photoshop and whilst studying in sixth form I was asked to teach a Year 12 art group how to use this software to create a digital painting. This was a very enjoyable experience and my first experience of creating my own lesson plan and tutorial for the one hour session.

    My ICT skills will come in very useful when teaching children how to use a computer and will also enable me to support the teacher by creating presentations that contribute to their lessons.

    Ability to relate well to children and adults

    Volunteering at my local First School revealed to me that I can relate very well to children. For example, I encouraged one child who was struggling to come up with an idea for a story by helping him relate the task to his own interests. For the rest of the morning he sat by himself engrossed in his writing. From my experience I also discovered how easily children who are struggling can be left behind, and how gifted children can become bored, if not fully supported in the classroom.

    As you can see from my previous experience I have worked in many roles that required being able to communicate effectively with adults. Working for Dorset Police has helped me to develop my ability to communicate effectively on the telephone and in person with members of the public and the police. Whilst working autonomously I also had to answer detailed queries that came in via the telephone and email. I remained calm and polite when dealing with staff who were angry and confused, qualities which I have found to be useful when dealing with difficult behaviour in the classroom.

    Work constructively as part of a team, understanding classroom roles and responsibilities and my own position within these.

    I understand that as a Teaching Assistant my role is to not only support pupils, but to also support the teacher, the curriculum, and the school.

    Team work, planning and good communication skills were very important for my role with Dorset Police, which often involved teaching tasks to new employees. Working in a school will require that I can work with other teaching assistants, teachers and parents, for which my experience of team work will allow me to do. For example, I can support teachers by preparing the classroom for lessons, managing children’s behaviour, updating and creating new classroom displays, helping with marking and lesson planning and providing admin support.

    I am curious and open-minded and have a passion to pass on my enthusiasm for learning to children. I am sure that the experience I have gained with children and through my degree will make me a valued member of your team.
  2. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    Lower attainers rather than slow learners ? The bit about your creative writing degree and then essay writing - a bit clumsy / obvious ? Always stress supporting learners and learning .i hate the word passion / passionate but that 's just me so I would avoid ( watched too many dodgy cooking programmes - major overkill - ha ! ) . You obviously have much to offer. Very very good luck .
    pickles124 likes this.
  3. Thank you minie me :)
  4. glenn_xp

    glenn_xp New commenter

    Ok. To be honest its all a bit long winded. After the introduction I would jump straight to the stuff about what you did while volunteering and make a much bigger deal about that. Include any responsibilities you had and how you assisted teaching and learning. Did you make any resources at all either at school or though your degree that might be worth mentioning? Definitely bin all the stuff like being able to work a photo copier and being able to spell, and to be frank the bit about doing sums in a chocolate shop sounds a bit desperate.

    Sounds like you did quite a lot of things with Dorset police. I would try to pull a bit more out of that to highlight your communication skills and try to relate them to a school environment, also the fact you trained other staff is a good aspect to build a little more out of and relate back to teaching children.

    But I think your biggest problem is going to be lack of experience. See if you can volunteer at a local library or youth group or another school to get a bit more experience working directly with children. For such a low paid job TA roles are desperately competitive so any advantage you can give yourself will help.
  5. Ah okay thanks glenn_xp, much appreciated!
  6. snugglepot

    snugglepot Occasional commenter

    I advise you ti keep it to an A4 page. When I was a Governor we sometimes spent all day going through applications. Short to the point applications that gave an overall view of the candidates ability and some personal interests stood out and went in the 'maybe' pile. I think glenn_xp gave some good advice. I would scrap the photocopying bit too and the bit after supporting the teacher as those are the type of things you will be expected to do as a TA. Could you ask for a reference and include it with you application?
  7. Thanks snugglepot. I will speak to the school and see if they can provide a reference for me.

    I think as others have said I'm probably going to need more experience unless I'm lucky enough to find a TA job open to training me! At the moment the school I'm volunteering with is lovely, but I feel like I just turn up and I'm left to do my own thing. I try to use my initiative and go around the class helping the children with their work and I've been asking to work with different age groups. I know they don't have time to be giving me attention, but it would be good if they took advantage of me by giving me tasks to do. I'm always offering to help with things, but they seem to have everything well organised and under control. Recently I heard they were going to have a pirate day so I found some great resources online which I printed out and laminated for them, which they seemed to appreciate, but also said, "Oh you didn't have to do that. Don't spend your own money creating resources." I feel like I'm not really needed there!

    I'm going to be moving house in a couple of weeks from the south to the midlands, so the jobs I'm applying for are up in the midlands, most of them starting in September. So I'm in a position of limbo right now.

    Anyways...Thanks everyone for the advice and support!
  8. snugglepot

    snugglepot Occasional commenter

    If you are moving then it is the perfect opportunity to ask for references. I would ask the teacher you are working with and the Headteacher if they could provide a written reference.Given them a week or so as they will be busy but do ask.You can send these with your application as I did this and I was given interviews every time.

    As regards to the Pirate Day, I think they just didn't want you spending money but I'm sure they were grateful.

    Good Luck with your job hunt.
  9. Thanks everyone for your support! I changed my statement and it worked! I have an interview on Tuesday, yay! :)
    Lara mfl 05 and pickles124 like this.
  10. snugglepot

    snugglepot Occasional commenter

    That's great.Good Luck
  11. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Apologies it's late and have just skim-read. (By the way it's not a good idea to put such large details on a public forum) Initial response is, by all means make brief mention of what you have achieved/ studied /done etc, but what a school wants to hear is what you can contribute to their school. Why they should shortlist you from all the other applicants. It's about what YOU CAN OFFER THEM.
    pickles124 likes this.
  12. Did you put subheadings on yor personal statement?
  13. My first reaction would be that there is a difference between behavioual and emotional difficulities and learning difficulties. This would seem to suggest a fundamental lack of knowledge of the subject you are applying for.

    I am also not convinced about your academic background ( that is, if I was a prospective employer).
  14. pickles124

    pickles124 Established commenter

    Your supporting statement is fantastic but i echo what others say. It is very lengthy. The section on good literacy and numeracy can probably be left out. If you state your qualifications where you enter them into a box, they will see the grades you have obtained- GCSE's, A Levels, BA Degree etc. You can discuss all of this in your interview, alongside your ICT skills, how you interact with children. Maybe take out one or two paragraphs to condense it down.

    On a final note, you must remember that you have to be patient. These are highly competitive posts and it can take time to secure a job.
  15. pickles124

    pickles124 Established commenter

    Also the paragraph which summarises the teaching component of your degree- i am not sure whether that necessarily needs to be put in. Maybe try to condense that part down a little, but then go on to elaborate on how you feel your knowledge from that can be applied if you are short-listed for interview.

    I can understand that you wish to showcase your skills, your creativity and your vision and educational philosophy, but these are things that you can discuss with the interviewing panel.

    They will be very interested to hear about what you have to say about yourself. And with regards to your Literacy, they will see the evidence in your supporting statement; most notably your spelling, grammar, punctuation and overall presentation.

    Have a go at editing your statement and i am sure that very soon it will be word perfect!!
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  16. pickles124

    pickles124 Established commenter

    You will get there because i can see your passion and determination. Your statement is not that bad but needs to be edited in places. Have courage and believe! Good things come to those that wait!
  17. pickles124

    pickles124 Established commenter

    Well done!!!! And Good Luck!! x
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.

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