- 9th Sep 2021 13:02
A Day in the Life of a Teaching Assistant
A day in the life of a Teaching Assistant is never going to be dull, or quiet, or a repeat of the day before! That is one of the gifts of working in a school. No two days are ever the same… A good teaching assistant is like Robin to Batman, they work as a team to complement their teacher.
Generally when I arrive at school I will help with the standard set up of the classroom, taking down chairs, opening windows, preparing books and worksheets for the day ahead. In KS1 we all have our own RWInc groups so we prepare our own work for this session too, in accordance with the scheme.
When the morning bell goes the TA is usually one of the first faces that the children see so we always aim to greet them with a smile and a cheery hello. Any messages that parents may have are collated and distributed where required. Once the door closes it is straight into class . Any issues that have arisen during registration are passed to relevant people, attendance stars are added to the wall. (My class loves earning their stars!)
We have our class daily sing then break into our RWI groups. When that has finished we all return to our classrooms then usually move to Talk for Writing, supporting the teacher in class. Usually this means anything goes. It could be helping set up a writing hook for the childrens’ new text, you may be a ‘character’ to stimulate their ideas for their text, you could have a tale to tell... Then there is the more conventional support where you are the owl of the classroom, eyes on everyone for behaviour management and supporting the class as the teacher delivers the lesson. You will usually help a group of children that may need a little more support to achieve their expected output for the lesson.
At break time we may assist in the playground. I am a first aider so generally spend a little time most days dealing with the bumps and grazes that may accidently occur. If not on the playground we would be helping to make sure any resources that may be required are ready for the next lesson, usually Maths. Again we would support both the teacher and a specific group of children.
After lunch, (again we may be assisting in the playground during this), my work is more specific. I do interventions with smaller groups of children, sometimes individuals, usually key marginal children. These could be reading, writing or maths interventions. I discuss with the teacher what we want to achieve, sometimes using programmes like PIXL to deliver the intervention. Whilst doing these I would record their progress and at an appropriate time pass the information on to the class teacher to enable them to accurately monitor progress.
At the end of the day I return to class to help ensure that the children have everything they need when they leave school, ensuring that they are collected, and waiting with any children whose parents may have been delayed.
After all that we may run after school activities for the children. This could be anything that the children have an interest in. Over the years I have run successful art clubs, dance clubs and currently a gardening club. I have to acknowledge that I am not an artist, a dancer or a gardener but working in schools teaches you to be adaptable and to take on a challenge. How can I expect a child to ‘try’ if I don’t try myself. The pleasure the children take from doing these activities is reward in itself!
To summarise a day in the life of a Teaching Assistant - you need to be prepared to work hard, be flexible, expect the unexpected and expect that plans can change at the drop of a hat! But most importantly enjoy it. Seeing a child progress or learn a new skill is a real gift.