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Starting my first volunteer placement on Friday - any advice?

Discussion in 'Thinking of teaching' started by lauriel22, Sep 5, 2011.

  1. When I completed voluntary work I found it best to try and talk to the teachers before the lesson starts, ask them what activities will take place and how you would be most helpful - they are always grateful for an extra set of hands! If you have any relevant skills or experience then make it known, but mainly just be prepared to get stuck in and be yourself! Lunchtimes are a great opportunity to talk to teachers, support staff and other trainee teachers - pick their brains, they will be able to give you honest advice and information! If you get the chance, make some notes on teaching styles, classroom management techniques etc as it will all come in useful for your personal statement/interview.

    Hope that helps! :)
  2. I started volunteering in June and it took me a few days to get in the swing of it. Just be as helpful as you can, and soon the staff will know they can rely on you and ask more and this leads to more responsibilities. Don't forget that you are there to learn as well as to support the class, so if theres anything you want to know or be involved in, don't be afraid to offer or ask.
    The first few times you go in you will be learning everyones names and my mentor who is a TA said its important to get to know the children. Then you just pick things up as you go along.

    It helped me to see planning and curriculum information, so I could piece together what I was seeing.
    The fact that you have plenty of time in the school will be great and you can get to know everyone and digest everything. If you can, get as many days as possible.
    I'm really excited to start back this week, I hope you get as much as you can out of the experience too.

  3. Thank-you both, thats really helpful. I a bit concerned that leaving my classroom experience so late is going to count against me. I will be applying by the December deadline and can't afford to pay for childcare for my daughter while i am volunteering so i will be limited in the amount of experience i will be able to get. I will hwever have in excess of the minimum 10 days before i apply and should have significantly more than this by the time i (hopefully) get to interview. I also have experience of working alongside schools and engaging school age children in community activity through my previous employment. I really want to make the most of the limited classroom time i will have to maximise my chances of getting on the course.
  4. Joanne2009

    Joanne2009 New commenter

    I am in the same boat as you. I plan on applying for the GTP route and PGCE but I start my placement next week. I have 2 children (7 and 3) and work 3 days for the NHS so its hard fitting everything in.
    I am spending one day a week at a local primary and I also have another school willing to let me go in for a few days. Hopefully, between the two schools I hope to have enough experience. I have been a STEM ambassador for schools for 8 years (through my NHS job) so hoping this will help too.
    I wouldn't worry about it being late in the day as I have seen posts on here where people have applied for the PGCE before they had spent any time in a school (they still got on the course). You will have plenty of experience before the interview stag
  5. Joanne2009

    Joanne2009 New commenter

    Hope all goes well on Friday. Let us know how you get on.[​IMG]
  6. Thanks everyone. I had a great day on Friday, loved every second of it. It was a very hectic day with a class of exhausted 4 year olds at the end of their first week at school but i feel i learnt a huge amount from that! I have started a diary and have recorded what happened during the day, my responsibilities, particular observations and even set myself a little bit of homework to come up with a different way to teach one of the lessons/actvities' i observed, which i have just done. I'm sure i will change my mind about most of what i have written if i get on the course and have a teachers perspective but i am hoping that my notes will help me when it comes to interview stage to demonstrate how i have made the most of the experience i have gained :)
  7. Joanne2009

    Joanne2009 New commenter

    So glad you had a great day and the diary is a fantastic idea. You sound like you are very organised with things and should sail through any interview.
    Did you chat with any of the teachers at break times?
  8. Only the teacher and TA's in the class i was in. I will try to chat with a few others this week. I'm going to a different school one afternoon a week starting tomorrow and will be spending an afternoon in each class to start with so that will be really good to compare the different age groups and decide which i want to apply to do. Tomorrow i start in Y3 :)
  9. Joanne2009

    Joanne2009 New commenter

    I am going into year 5 next week and then year 6 a few weeks later. Hope all goes well in year 3 (my son is in year 3 at school).
    Joanne :)

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