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I have volunteered to help out in school - hints or tips please?

(24 Posts)
Eggrules Mon 22-Oct-12 19:50:57

Sorry if this is in the wrong place.

I will be helping out in a YR class a few mornings a week. I will not be helping out in my DS's class. I am happy to support the teaching staff as they see fit.

I am giving serious thought to retraining as a classroom assistant and am hoping that volunteering on a regular basis will give me a good idea about what to expect.

Any hints or tips?

bumpybecky Mon 22-Oct-12 19:51:44

wear something that washes well....

Shybairns Mon 22-Oct-12 19:58:19

Just be guided by your teacher and read up on the schools policies and procedures. Especially ones for safeguarding.

I've been volunteering at my sons school since January and started a Supporting Teaching and Learning course in September. Its ace.

Eggrules Mon 22-Oct-12 20:06:35

Bumpybecky - noted wink. The teaching staff seem very smart.

Shybairns - what does your Supporting Teaching and Learning course involve? how long will it take, what dies it cost and what is involved? thanks

Eggrules Mon 22-Oct-12 20:12:21

does not dies (tut)

simpson Mon 22-Oct-12 20:33:33

Watching with interest....

I start a placement for a college course (in reception) after half term...

I am already listening to yr1,2 and 4 read every week but think reception will be a whole different ball game grin

Shybairns Mon 22-Oct-12 20:44:14

My course is the new course that replaced the NVQ Level 2 and 3 Teaching Assistant courses.
I'm doing the level 2. Its one morning of college a week and a minimum of 6 hours in the class room. The tutorials run from late september to December. With assigments set virtually every week. You're given an assessor who marks your assignments and visits you in the school 4 times within the accademic year to assess you.
The course cost £450. But if you have tax credits or income support its free.

treadonthecracks Mon 22-Oct-12 20:49:26

I recently started as a TA after volunteering in my dcs school for a couple pf years. It is a great way to check if you will like it, to get experience and to store up some anecdotes for the interviews you will have in future.

The tips above are great. I would add:

Try to never interrupt the teacher during carpet time, you don't want to interrupt the "flow" of the lesson.

Lots of smiles and thumbs up to the children as they are doing their work.

Get down on the carpet and join in a bit as they do "independent learning" yes it is playing but don't call it that.

Hope you have a great time.

Eggrules Mon 22-Oct-12 21:00:07

I have been looking into completing a Certificate in Supporting Teaching & Learning, Level 3. Do you need to have level 2 first? It seems like a lot of stuff is repeated. This takes 34 weeks, over Summer the course takes 11 weeks. I wonder how seriously a distance learning qualification is taken?

Great tips Treadonthecracks.

Shybairns Mon 22-Oct-12 21:04:51

I think if you've been volunteering for a long time, like 12 months then you could maybe go straight to Level 3.
The course leader would advise you.

admission Mon 22-Oct-12 21:13:07

Just remember that you will need to understand child safeguarding issues around school and that you should be getting some basic training on this - the school should arrange. Also if you have access to reception age children, I would expect you to need to get a CRB check if you are regularly volunteering, again the school should arrange.
The other key point to remember is that anything that happens in school, stays in school. No talking outside school about anything that happens or is said, especially anything sensitive about a child

Eggrules Mon 22-Oct-12 21:13:49

If this is something I really want to follow I can volunteer almost full time. The course requirement is six hours.

treadonthecracks Mon 22-Oct-12 21:46:15

I have almost finished my L2 NVQ. When I looked into it you had to be employed in a school to do it, you certainly need lots of "evidence" to meet the criteria and be observed in the classroom, which would be very tricky unless you were volunteering a lot of hours.

I found this book very useful:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Brilliant-Teaching-Assistant-Outstanding-Teacher/dp/0273734423/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1350938566&sr=8-1

Great on how to behave int he classroom and gave me lots of information for answering interview questions. (it's not an interview book it's designed for brand new TA's I'd say).

I think Level 2 would be really worth doing as it shows you are serious and some jobs are only open to L2 qualified people.

treadonthecracks Mon 22-Oct-12 21:46:50

Sorry that should say I have almost finished my Level 3 NVQ!

wineoclocktimeyet Mon 22-Oct-12 21:51:19

I'm doing a L3 supporting teaching and learning course and I love it. I'm volunteering in my son's school.
Only advice, is dont say anything about what happens in the classroom. It can be tricky as once word gets around, you will find some mums asking - I just refer them to the Teacher or TA and eventually they get the message!

simpson Mon 22-Oct-12 22:06:24

I have done the first part of the level 2 supporting teaching and learning which was 12 weeks and involved a lot of assignments etc and we learnt all about safe guarding and who is who within the school.

In order to do the next course I need to be volunteering for 8 hours a week (need to have been in placement for 6 months before I can start the next course - so am looking at Easter time).

I have a CRB check in place and it might also be worth seeing if you can get a first aid course done too...

Eggrules Tue 23-Oct-12 10:13:14

I'm feeling very positive, thanks everyone.

I am currently self employed after redundancy. I am looking to go back to work however, finding a job that fits around my LO is proving to be very difficult. I'm not sure that this is for me and I am hoping that volunteering will help to see if this is something I could do.

School are arranging a CRB check. School website is unavailable so I will get a prospectus from the officer later.

I would never ask about my child but know some would. Last year a TA made a comment about my DS's reading in front of other parents - I was not very happy.

anice Tue 23-Oct-12 10:46:29

don't discuss anything you see in the classroom, out of the classroom.

If a child tells you something/ asks you for help on something e,g, Daddy hits Mummy, then tell the teacher (a child did tell me this).

Be flexible about what you will do, which age range you will work with

Accept that you will get all the jobs that the TA doesn't want to do.

Enjoy it... little children are lovely to work with!

mameulah Wed 24-Oct-12 23:22:52

Everything that happens in the classroom, and school, is totally confidential.

Don't help any child who has an accident with their clothes with getting permission from the teacher first. This may sound harsh but even changing socks on the wrong child can summon up a heap of unwanted paperwork and issues.

Don't discipline the children.

Don't share your observations of the other children with the teacher.

You are really looking to be across between an invisible pair of hands and a lovely friendly person who doesn't make the teacher feel threatened or over protective over the children.

Don't look at the teachers notes or records.

Do what the teacher has asked, even if you think you have a better idea.

Don't expect to be left in the classroom alone and unsupervised.

I know that a lot of this may sound obvious but believe me you would be amazed at what different people think 'helping' is!

wakeupandsmellthecoffee Thu 25-Oct-12 20:32:43

Put your fag out before you enter the school premisis and dont stink of stale alcohol the following morning.

Eggrules Mon 29-Oct-12 19:53:36

Can I wear PJs? wink

I have found out that the teacher is new. The TA is lovely. I'll do as I'm told.

thanks for the advice, sspecially regarding helping kids get changed.

daisymaybe Mon 29-Oct-12 20:23:05

Why shouldn't the OP share their observations with the teacher? I always find it really interesting to have another person's perspective on the children in my class. Obviously I wouldn't want to hear it during busy times but there are sometimes a few quiet minutes when that kind of chat can be very interesting.

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Mon 29-Oct-12 20:37:59

Am fascinated and have some questions - as someone who is a parent helper twice a week at a primary school

Everything that happens in the classroom, and school, is totally confidential.
totally agree

Don't help any child who has an accident with their clothes with getting permission from the teacher first. This may sound harsh but even changing socks on the wrong child can summon up a heap of unwanted paperwork and issues. I would never do anything with regard to changing but we are regularly asked to help with coats - would you feel this was ok?

Don't discipline the children. in what way? I tend to ask them if they feel that was behaviour that Mrs*&^ likes in her classroom? would that count?

Don't share your observations of the other children with the teacher. I don't really do this unless someone looks significantly less happy than other days I think it is important that it had been noted

You are really looking to be across between an invisible pair of hands and a lovely friendly person who doesn't make the teacher feel threatened or over protective over the children.

Don't look at the teachers notes or records. totally agree

Do what the teacher has asked, even if you think you have a better idea.

Don't expect to be left in the classroom alone and unsupervised. I am regularly the only person in the classroom only for a few minutes at a time but the indoor outdoor time can mean that I am often the only adult in one of those area's

i would add to the OP, enjoy, and remember what an amazing opportunity it is to watch them learn so much in such a short period of time grin

Sagas Mon 29-Oct-12 21:25:38

Don't wear anything too warm - I regularly needed to mop and dry a large floor following a painting massacre.

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