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Ways To Self-Develop...SUGGESTIONS PLEASE :)

Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by mrsclw1, Sep 11, 2018.

  1. mrsclw1

    mrsclw1 New commenter

    Hello All,
    Following on from my previous post (Level 4, Am I Wanting Too Much Too Soon?) I'm wondering if anyone can expand upon Sunshineneeded's wonderful advice and point me in the direction of, or suggest any ways in which I can develop myself?

    I am a qualified Level 3 Teaching Assistant currently working as an SEN Teaching Assistant (an extremely hard and demanding role). I also volunteer an additional afternoon a week to gain some experience as a classroom assistant in the same school I work at.
    I have a year ahead of me in which to really propel myself and my learnings and gain as much experience as possible before my personal circumstances change and I will need to apply for a job role which will tick more boxes (currently I'm only 2 days a week and on a temporary contract)

    What else is available out there for me? I'm so willing and eager to learn and really want to use my time wisely in order to ready myself for the 'bigger picture'.
    I have already enrolled in 3 courses available free on the Open University's Open Learn website and I have completed one of these.

    Any ideas would be extremely appreciated!
  2. annie2020

    annie2020 New commenter

    Having a Level 3 qualification is about as high as you can go as a TA and will count in your favour the most on any future applications. I admire that you still want to continue to learn. Ask your school if they have a list of CPD courses to choose from. Mine has a lot free ones that are offered through our LEA. Are you First Aid trained? If not, I'd highly recommend that. Also, check out person specs for TA jobs to give you an idea what else schools in your area might be looking for.

    Don't forget the skills side as well, i.e. maybe increase your volunteering hours in order to gain as varied experience as possible.
    mrsclw1 likes this.
  3. mrsclw1

    mrsclw1 New commenter

    Thank you!
    Yes, I am first aid trained, luckily. And have just completed the LA’s most up to date safeguarding training. I’ve enrolled on a free online course for Special Educational Needs, which will be extremely useful both professional and personally, as my son is diagnosed with ASD.
    I have been thinking of increasing my voluntary hours. The dilemma I had previously was I actually wanted to offer my voluntary hours at another school, in order to gauge how a different school operates and, frankly, to get my face in elsewhere! But hubby discouraged that idea, voicing concern at how my current HT would react to that. I’m still not sure what the correct answer would be.
    I’ll speak with my SLT today in regards to CPD, As far as I’m aware, there isn’t anything but there might be something I’m totally unaware of.
    Thank you so much for your reassurance and advice :)
  4. annie2020

    annie2020 New commenter

    I volunteered at 2 schools at the same time. It's good to see how the cookie crumbles elsewhere and you'll be a familiar face when a job comes up. I also worked as a midday supervisor partly for that reason in the early days. Sounds like you have thought everything through and are roaring to go. That enthusiasm will take you a long way.
    Gsr25 and mrsclw1 like this.
  5. Trekkie

    Trekkie Occasional commenter

    You mentioned in your previous post that you are still quite new to education. With this in mind (and the fact that you are in KS1) perhaps you could look at phonics and ensure that you are well versed in all aspects including the Y1 screening. Take a look at the National Curriculum documents that show the progression. Also, ensure you are aware of the maths vocabulary through the year groups - this will probably be listed in your school's Calculation Policy. Brush up on your IT skills so that you are confident with different educational software and hardware such as IWBs, visualisers iPads or whatever is used in your school.
    sunshineneeded and mrsclw1 like this.
  6. mrsclw1

    mrsclw1 New commenter

    Thank you both so much!!

    I am passionate about this new venture. I didn’t think I’d ever get the opportunity to ‘chase my dreams’ so now I’m here I’m overly eager!!

    That’s amazing advice to look a the curriculum, phonic etc. Phonics I’m almost familiar with, yet curriculum and certainly maths vocabulary is lost on me so will absolutely take that advice on board.

    I think I may seek out possibly volunteering a morning elsewhere. I may hold that off til after Xmas and see how I feel beyond that point.
    All this advice is amazing though, thank you so much!
  7. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    I think your OH is right to be cautious of volunteering at another school … it's one thing to volunteer at two schools, but as you are actually employed at the school, I would be very wary of volunteering at another. SLTs can be a very suspicious bunch and the might take a dim view of it.
    Good advice from Trekkie. The more you familiarise yourself with the primary curriculum, the stronger your position will be if you are asked to move year groups, or if you decide to pursue a cover supervisor role. Have you tried having a go at current KS2 SATs papers? Last year's are all available on-line; you will find Maths (arithmetic and two reasoning papers), reading comprehension and SPAG (spelling, punctuation and grammar). They will give you an idea of any areas you might need to brush up on.
    mrsclw1 likes this.
  8. mrsclw1

    mrsclw1 New commenter

    That point is very true Sunshine, and puts a whole new prospective on the situation. Being employed, yes, it would be questioned as to why I volunteer elsewhere. Thank you.
    Funnily enough, my daughter's just started year 7, so completed her KS2 SATs this year and myself and hubby worked through the practice papers together with her. However, I only worked through the SPAG papers, so the others would be extremely beneficial to work through for myself, thank you.
    All your advice is extremely informative and will aid in maximising my learnings and development, so thank you all so much! Keep the ideas flowing!
  9. snugglepot

    snugglepot Occasional commenter

    I used to work in mine and volunteer elsewhere. It was a school attached to my church and the teacher was a friend as I had been her student at another school when completing my NNEB. If you are volunteering some hours at your own I can't see a problem. You could be open and discuss it with the Headteacher for the reason of looking at how others operate. I also worked at two schools for a couple of years. It is tricky re training days though.
    Do you have any ICT certificates as evening classes offer them sometimes?That would be useful. Any other skill like craft or cooking could be used for After School Club. I have some C&G ones.
    mrsclw1 likes this.
  10. Gsr25

    Gsr25 Occasional commenter

    I volunteered in a different school while working in another and it wasn’t problem at all. I am currently working in two schools leading outdoor learning, I spoke to my main school about accepting the role in the other and they said what I did on my days off was my business (within reason of course that it wasn’t illegal!) and it’s never been a problem.
    mrsclw1 likes this.
  11. mrsclw1

    mrsclw1 New commenter

    Thank You’s!

    I think I’ll see how I get on during the autumn term with the one afternoon session and see what opportunities are available after Christmas.
    To be 100% honest, I don’t know how comfortable I’d feel sitting the HT down and saying I had additional time that I wanted to offer elsewhere. She’s a very closed book and I don’t know how she would take it. But it would absolutely be a conversation I’d need to have, should I decide to experience elsewhere. Thank you’s.

    I’ve started my special ed. needs online course & have two more I’ve enrolled on, waiting for my attention. These ones are a little harder though so building myself up for them!

    I’ll have a look into IT courses, thank you for the suggestions.

    I’ve also come to realise that my location seems to be hindering me slightly. Jobs aren’t widely or often available where I live, so I searched slightly further afield and found a wealth of jobs! Something to consider when the time comes.

    All your advice and experiences are really appreciated, thank you! :)
  12. mrsclw1

    mrsclw1 New commenter


    Hey everyone!
    Following on from this post, there has been a recent development/ change in my workplace, which has made me question my time there and feel very low.
    One of the current class TAs has recently cut her hours, so two days a week, she will be covered by another person. Now, I fully expected this to go internal, but at least thought/ hoped the hours would be advertised to all. Unfortunately not. The hours are being covered by a fellow temp SEN TA, Just like me. No fair offer to anyone else. Is this usual in a school?
    I was really quite upset when I found out, but I don’t know if I should switch this negative on it’s head and turn it to my advantage. Do I now offer my voluntary half day on one of these days that need covering? As ‘put out’ as I am, is this the opportunity I’ve been waiting for in order to develope myself? I’m stuck between this option and the thought that I’d be doing something I’d expect to get paid for for free? But know, if accepted, I’d get the best training/ experience in offer.
    Advice please?? Thank you!

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