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Voluntary Placement - Leaving Cards/Gifts

Discussion in 'Primary' started by CMorton1998, Jul 4, 2019.

  1. CMorton1998

    CMorton1998 New commenter

    I am thinking about completing a PGCE Primary Education course at University and it was highly recommended for me to gain some experience before applying. Therefore, this summer I am at a primary school where I will be for 4 weeks until the end of the term. I am already half way through.

    I am with a Year 6 class and a lot of them are off to my old high school, so I have been giving them tips and information on what it's like, just so it isn't a massive surprise to them.

    I am not doing any teaching as such. One, because I have very little knowledge (this is what I would gain during my course) and two, there are very few actual lessons occurring at the minute due to other activities and the time of year it is. However, I have been helping out in the classroom and the children have shown nothing but respect towards me and are always pleasant and well mannered.

    I was thinking whilst in bed last night whether I should give them a little card and/or small gift to give to each of the children before the school finishes for summer. The way I look at it is that if I was a teacher and had my own class, I would give them a little card with a message inside for them. But I am a bit unsure with firstly just being a voluntary teaching assistant and secondly, for only being there for a few weeks.

    I would appreciate what you guys think!

    Thank you!
  2. celago22

    celago22 Established commenter

    It's up to you, I don't think there are any hard and fast rules. A little bag of sweets each would be sufficient, you can do something more personalised when you have your own class. Check with the teacher you are with.
  3. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    Definitely check with the class teacher. I probably wouldn't write individual cards as you have only been there a month. Are the class having a day out at the park? If so, you could buy them all an ice cream. Or, if the teacher was willing, have an ice cream afternoon in class - take in a few large tubs which you will need to persuade the cook to allow you to put in the freezer for the morning. You will also need disposable paper dishes, plastic spoons and a variety of toppings - chocolate drops, sprinkles, mini marshmallows, which they can choose and add themselves. Kids will love it!
  4. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Naaaa, if you were a teacher with your own class, you'd be soooo knackered by this point in the year, you'd actually give them a mini mars bar each and kick them out the door. Cards each with personal messages are very, very time consuming...If you feel you must, then a generic message, printed 30 times and a handwritten name and signature are fine.

    For a volunteer being there for a month, a box of maltesers to share, or something similar will be more than enough. The teacher will be doing the end of year teacher gifts and so you don't want to look like you are competitive or trying to undermine her.

    I'd also recommend you aren't there on the last day of term. Say your goodbyes a day or two earlier and then leave the teacher to finish the year with their class as they wish.
  5. Over_the_hill

    Over_the_hill Star commenter

    I wouldn’t spend a lot. A couple of packets of custard creams and bourbon biscuits to go round. If there was a graph of my generosity compared to my years of teaching it would be a massive downward straight line.
  6. CMorton1998

    CMorton1998 New commenter

    Why not write individual cards? Does that not show that I care and put effort in. Just because I have only been there a month shouldn't be a reason. A week or two, fair enough. And I disagree with the fact that it may look like I'm trying to 'out do' or 'undermine' the other teacher because that is completely false. This is my first teaching experience, I'm just curious...
  7. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    My thinking was on the same lines as @caterpillartobutterfly - the teacher may well have had it in mind to write individual cards with a message to every child, but then found they are just too exhausted and have far too much to do to even think about it. They may just go for a kit-kat each! If you then arrive with individual cards, it could definitely make the teacher feel undermined.
    It's great that you have enjoyed the experience - good luck with whatever you decide on for the future.
  8. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    You asked what we think... It would show you care, but you will soon find out that as soon as any of us leave, or the children leave for a new class, they forget we even exist. We finished today and the year 6s left us. Out of the 20 or so, about 5 came to say goodbye personally...despite the fact I taught them in year 3, 4 and 5. Their year 6 teacher was their new 'favourite' and that's exactly how it should be. Children don't remember us, or care about us, half as much as we'd love to think.
    I am absolutely certain it would be false...however it still could look that way and certainly feel that way to an overworked and exhausted teacher.
    Having fun and helping out in class is very valuable experience and whoever recommended you do it before applying for a PGCE was very sensible. However, end of summer term in year 6 is not 'teaching experience'. It's fab that you have had a great time, and great that you still want to teach (why would you not, it is the very best job in the world!), however a month in the Autumn term would give you a very different experience. If you are just a bit west of London and want a month in September at the opposite end of the primary age, then give me a shout...I'd love to have someone like you in my class.

    And get on with applying for that PGCE...the profession always needs more enthusiastic and conscientious people coming in. This site will give you heaps of advice right from the moment you apply up until when you retire. :)
    sunshineneeded likes this.
  9. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    I hope you're doing a note and a gift for the teacher. Far more important. I love the idea of an ice cream afternoon but a big box of sweets would really do the trick. It's not all about you.
  10. CMorton1998

    CMorton1998 New commenter

    I do apologise for coming across strongly, that wasn't my intention and I wished that it didn't come across that way. I do appreciate everything that you have said. That is how children are and I don't think we would have it any other way, but as teachers, they do have a massive influence on our lives. Today for example, the Year 6s found out their SATs results. I may have only known them for 2.5 weeks, but I was so happy for them, walking out of the head's room with a huge smile on each of their faces knowing they had done well. But I do know that teaching is what I want to do. I understand the end of the year isn't ideal whatsoever, but the main thing was to gain valuable experience in the classroom, working with children, creating relationships with staff etc. and witnessing the day-to-day life of a teacher. I have been fortunate to teach the kids on a couple of occasions so at this stage, to me, every little helps.

    I understand your point about the class teacher and I am more than prepared to talk to him about it before I dish any gifts or whatever out, making sure I get his permission beforehand. I just thought it would be a nice touch to give the children, especially with me relating to them more (less than 9 years ago I was in their shoes heading off to high school so I know how they're feeling more than the class teacher might (not to cause any offence)). But yeah, I appreciate all the help and was certain to get him a card and gift regardless to share my thanks and to show how much I appreciate this opportunity, because they could have easily turned me down also.

    Thank you for your kind words.
  11. sparklepig2002

    sparklepig2002 Star commenter

    I disagree. If you want to write a little card to each child, why not? Nothing wrong with that at all. It's your choice and a nice thought.
    It wouldn't bother me in the slightest if it was my class. I would be glad that you had enjoyed the time with us and would think that it was very thoughtful of you.
    Good point from Lindenlea though, don't forget to thank the teacher.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
  12. Gellerbing

    Gellerbing New commenter

    I think it's a lovely idea. I've been volunteering for 4 years and always give gifts at the end of summer term and xmas. For year 6s this year I'm giving them a year 7 survival kit, it has a personalised bookmark, a pencil, sweets, eraser, party popper, stickers and a lucky penny.
    sparklepig2002 likes this.
  13. sparklepig2002

    sparklepig2002 Star commenter

    A lovely idea. What lucky children.

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