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Teaching Assistant Role First?

Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by TAWren, Aug 3, 2011.

  1. I agree.... Even as a qualified TA, it is hard to get a job- with between 100-300 people applying for each position.
    Also all TA posts that I've seen advertised required GCSE maths grade C or above.
  2. Thanks for the answers guys.
    I'm thinking of volunteering and have already sent off a voluntary form, hoping for something in that field before I start my GTP in 2012.
  3. Hi Jen.

    Just read your OP and found it interesting. I too have a sociology degree but I am having trouble trying to get on a teacher training course due to my subject being too generic. What subject are you hoping to teach?
    Also the GTP is pretty much going down the pan right now due to funding cuts from the current government, you may need to consider other routes into teaching. I am currently dong a diploma in Computer engineering and I am hoping to train as an ICT teacher.
    I graduated in 2007 and have had 2 years experience as a teaching assistant and 2 years as a cover supervisor, working as a TA is great experience.
    Good luck with the volunteering, you should sign up with education agencies to find you paid work. Which region are you from? Capita and Hays education are pretty good.
  4. I'm trying to get a job as a teaching assistant too and finding it really difficult. I graduated this summer and I have never had any paid work ever so it feels doubly hard trying to get a foot on the ladder.
    I have been volunteering at my Rainbow unit (baby Brownies) since I was 18 and when I started I heard it counted as official experiences for a PGCE but now it is not. My cousin was told that even two years as a TA wasn't enough to get her on her first choice course.
  5. I haven't encountered any problems with my degree just yet but I haven't actually applied anywhere as yet.
    I don't see why Sociology would be a problem in Primary teaching as its quite a broad subject but you never know I suppose.
    I have decided to apply for GTP, PGCE AND SCITT to cover all bases as it were as I understand about funding cuts.
    Its so hard trying to find a paid teaching assistant job and so as I have my voluntary work sorted out and the voluntary organisation pays for my CRB (bonus!) I am thinking about putting it off until Sept 2013 and applying in Sept 2012. Its not an ideal situation but at least I'll have more experience behind me. By that time I'll be 24 and 25 when I graduate as a teacher which is abit of a shame but what can you do?
  6. Slippersandagoodbook

    Slippersandagoodbook New commenter

    Don't worry about your degree being in Sociology. I have worked with a couple of fantastic teachers who did their undergraduate degree in sociology before taking ITT. What will be far more important is any relevant experience you have in a primary teaching environment. An area that you seem very keen to address [​IMG]
    In my area of the country and from discussions with teacher friends dotted around the UK it seems it is becoming more and more important to have volunteer or paid experience as a TA if you want a place on a PGCE course. In addition, the majority of GTP places are offered to TAs that are already working in the same school. Pooled GTP places are therefore incredibly competitive. However, it is entirely possible to get on a PGCE course without any school experience so don't feel too downhearted!
    You seem to be well on your way to sorting out some volunteer work. When you are in school, try and get experience in lots of 'jobs'
    throughout the school. Try not to get stuck in one particular age group
    or doing the same job time after time (e.g. listening to readers). Depending on your work status see if you can attend school events and trips as well. This will give you a much greater knowledge and experience which will be invaluable when it comes to your interviews. During my own interview for teacher training I will never forget some of the truely shocking answers I heard to questions like "tell us an example of good behaviour management from your recent school experiences?". With lots of experience you can avoid sounding like someone who does not have a clue!
    One area that you will need to address sharpish is getting your Maths GCSE. Simply put, neither schools or ITT centres will give you a second thought without it. It is something you need to sort out as quickly as possible. More knowledgable posters than me can give you pointers in this direction.
    On the plus side, I have known lots of situations where volunteer 'helpers' have been offered positions as TAs in the same school. In one particular situation, a head recommended one of their volunteers for a TA role in a nearby school and breezed through the interview process! The fact that you have taken the time to post on these forums shows that you are committed and if you show the same attitude with the children then you will be fine getting paid work. Good luck with your applications!
  7. Thank you for that extremely positive post slippersandagoodbook. I seem to get nothing but negative on these forums but thats fine because it gives me the boot in the right direction so to speak!
    Yes, volunteering in schools is already well on the way for me. And even better that they have sorted my CRB for me which will look good to teacher training academys, unis and so on.
    I am in the process of getting my maths sorted out. Starting a course next month, either through oxford open learning or at a local school which offers extended programmes.
    Already been offered school trips so very pleased about that :)
  8. Hi Jen
    have you thought of volunteering in s. e .n
    they always need good teachers.....
    as for the maths......
    look at learn direct, if you gain a level 2 in adult learning maths it is the equivilant to a gce c grade....... ( and its free) good luck [​IMG]
  9. http://www.timeplan.com/

    I can recommend Timeplan as an agency, they only work in education and have plenty of offices in the SE.
  10. Oh right.
    That's certainly put me on abit of a downer. Am I wasting my time then 2004ajd?
    I know that I don't stand much of a chance without my GCSE Maths but I am paying to re-do it starting next month, so i'll have it by sept 2012.
    If I have to apply in 2012 for a 2013 start then thats fine as I'll only be 25 when I graduate as a teacher.
    I have a friend from my sociology course at university and she has just graduated as a primary school teacher doing a PGCE.
  11. Gaining Level 2 adult numeracy claims to be equivalent to GCSE Grade C maths and will be accepted when applying for TA roles. I did mine to get on my Foundation Degree course.
    However, it will not be accepted to get on any Teacher Training Course. I did full English and Maths GSCEs to get on my BA course in Primary Education and QTS. I also had the option of completing Edge Hill's Equivalency course - you could get an equivalent GCSE in Maths and English in just twelve weeks (one evening a week and an exam). Not sure they're available now and were only accepted by Edge Hill anyway.
    Having just completed my NQT year, I'm glad I took full GCSEs. The competition starts when you start job hunting and with so many looking for jobs, I doubt not having the basic GCSEs will not look good on application forms. have you tried your local colleges? I found evening courses quite easily. First year I did Maths (cost me £250) second year I found the college down the road did them for free so did English there.
    Volunteering/paid work in schools will be valuable experience. Not only will it be beneficial when applying for these sought after teacher training places but will certainly enhance your teaching. I was a TA for years and all that experience made my NQT year much easier!!
    Good Luck!!
  12. P.S. If you complete your GCSE Maths this year, you can still apply for teaching course to start in Sept 2012 I think unless all providers are different.
    I was awaiting results in August when I was offered my place for September start. They just put conditions on it. Bit nerve wracking but better than waiting another whole year. Might be worth ringing around the providers of any course you're interested in to get that clarified.
  13. 2004ajd

    2004ajd New commenter

    Sorry Teacher Jen; it certainly wasn't my intention to put you on a downer; although I could have been more subtle.

    I suppose it's where you intend to train; most ITT providers that I know of would prefer a primary curriculum subject. From experience I know that 3 of my friends who initially wanted to teach primary opted for a secondary PGCE as they were unable to secure a Primary PGCE because of their degree subject (Sociologyx2, businessx1). That said, I'm not saying that you wouldn't succeed, but you deserve honest advice. IMHO the experience you gain from being a TA will most certainly help you with recent developments in education and you will be able to discuss this when you are called for interview.

    My sincere apologies if I offended you and I wish you good luck with your teaching career:)[
  14. 2004ajd

    2004ajd New commenter

    I did paragraph honest!
  15. tictactoe1

    tictactoe1 New commenter

    I wouldn't worry about Sociology not being a curriculum subject. I have a friend who qualified as a teacher on the back of an AROMATHERAPY degree. If she can be a teacher, then why can't you!

    Obviously you will need your maths degree and as much experience as you can possibly can between now and when you apply.

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