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Teaching/Classroom Assistant
About the placement/internship

Why did you decide to do a placement/internship?

A placement, for me, was the perfect opportunity to test out if I liked the teaching environment and get some firsthand experience and advice for my future career.

How did you find your placement/internship?

I found the placement by getting in touch with my old school to see if there was any channel for me to some work experience in June.

Application process

For the Work Experience Bursary placement, I had to contact the school I wanted to do the work experience at to make sure there was room for me. Then, I applied for the bursary by filling in an application. As I was successful, I then needed to fill out the relevant documentation for the school and get proof that the school had accepted me for work experience.

What made you choose this organisation for your placement/internship?

I loved my experience at school and had a good relationship with my old History teachers, so wanted to go back and go somewhere that I was comfortable - but also knew that the teachers would trust me to take on responsibility.

Main responsibilities

My main responsibilities were assisting in History and Politics lessons, conducting admin and creating worksheets for the teachers and I also helped them with organising the office and classrooms for the upcoming academic year.

Typical day

A typical day at the school was always different - something I really loved about the job. When assisting in lessons, I had the opportunity to speak about my own experiences and use my own knowledge to help students. During my time at the school, the sixth formers were starting their coursework, so I was also able to use my experience of completing coursework at sixth form and university to offer them a helping hand in the practice of writing that form of history and where to find good sources. I also had some free periods (as Year 11 and 13 had left after finishing their exams) and in these I was able to create worksheets for teachers and help them complete their display boards. Every teacher really appreciated the extra pair of hands.

What did I enjoy about my placement/internship?

I really enjoyed everything - a bit of a cliche but very true! I found that I really enjoyed helping students to understand a subject that I am so passionate about and using my passion to help them question and expand their thinking. I also enjoyed, and really appreciated, how the staff were grateful for the little jobs I was doing for them, whether it be some shredding they had not got around to or designing and making a new display board. Every day was different too, which is a great element of working in a school.

Challenging aspects

Dealing with the behaviour of a student or class is definitely something that I saw could be challenging for a teacher. As well, I was surprised at how much confidence it took to speak to a class. For one Year 7 class, a teacher allowed me to conduct the lesson starter. I would like to think I am a confident person, but I could definitely feel myself getting a bit embarrassed and shy when I was talking.

Did you use any skills learned from your course?

An obvious skill that I used from my course was my knowledge of history and how to navigate sources. However, I also found that my research skills came into use when helping sixth formers with their coursework or students find things in textbooks. Furthermore, my communication skills that have been built upon in seminars and presentations came into use when talking to students about what they were learning and helping them to add to the conversation, as well as when I would have to stand in front of a class and speak.

Has your time on placement influenced your future career choice?

My time at the school has definitely shown me that I want a career in education and teaching. I have felt really conflicted about the profession of teaching as it has a reputation - especially for humanities students - of being an easy option. My work experience has helped me see first hand that it is definitely not easy and requires a lot of skill - as well as being extremely rewarding.

As a result of your placement/internship, what are your next steps in planning what you want to do after graduation?

The school encouraged me to apply for their teacher training scheme and said that they would really love to employ me in the future. That felt really reassuring and I am definitely considering taking up their offer. I am considering taking some time out after university to build up my confidence, but hopefully within the next five years I will be a trained teacher.

Advice to students

My piece of advice to students

The Work Experience Bursary is such an amazing way to discover what is out there and test the water for any job you might want to do. It gives you stability and confidence for taking that next step after university and is definitely worth applying for.

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Form completed: 29 Aug 2019

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