A Day in the Life of a Teaching Assistant

A Day in the Life of a Teaching Assistant

A career as a teaching assistant, supporting the educational and emotional needs of children and young people can be an extremely rewarding career. But what does a Teaching Assistants average day include? We asked Sarah to give us a real life honest account of her average day.

I arrive at work normally around 8.20. This gives me 25 minutes in the classroom with my class teacher getting a heads up on what the plan is for the day.

She shares her planning with me and we catch up on anything we need to be aware of regarding pupils wellbeing or health issues or any updates for example.

I will do some preparation for the day; some photocopying, cutting up worksheets and other resources and then sort books or whatever needs organising.

This time is precious as it is virtually the only time when the classroom is without the main occupants; the children!

At 8.45 I get my coat back on and open the doors to our classroom. I keep a notebook with me and take any important messages from parents that need to be fed back to other staff members. I normally enter school with an armful of forms that have been handed in too! It’s lovely to greet the children at the door, it starts the day in a positive way.

I then return to class where by then, my class are doing some handwriting or reading practice. I have a rota of children who I hear read each morning so I will do that initially whilst everyone gets organised and sits on the carpet.

Each morning, for twenty minutes I take a small group of children for phonics. Phonics is the teaching of identifying the sounds and patterns of spelling in the English language. This then helps the children to decode and sound out words. I do lots of different activities with my phonics group inside and outside, weather permitting of course!

I will then sit down on the carpet with the children whilst the teacher teaches the first lesson which is normally English. I will sit close to the children who need the most support to ensure they can fully understand and access the lesson. It also allows me to support any other class members should they need anything. When the children go back to their table to do their work I sit mainly on one table with the children I sat with on the carpet. I will help them stay on task, support their learning through positive encouragement and helping them understand what they need to do. I will also make myself available to other class members who have questions or need help.

At morning break if it is not my duty outside, I will ensure our children have their milk and snack and then head back inside to prepare the class for maths. Sometimes we will have time for a quick drink and snack ourselves!

I will then after break take a small group of children out of class for an intervention. This can be focusing on anything from phonics to handwriting or maths work. This normally last 10-15 minutes and then we will rejoin the class who are now doing maths. While the teacher recaps to the intervention children I will go around the class offering support and encouragement to the rest of the class.

Afternoons are spent doing the humanities or PE. Again I will support the children with their learning whilst also listening to some extra readers and often taking out additional intervention groups. I will also prepare resources for the next day.

At the end of the day I help the children gather all of their belongings and prepare to leave.

I am a qualified paediatric first aider and so I frequently have to dash out to deal with grazed knees, bumped heads and other minor injuries or illnesses. It’s important in an emergency I can look after the children so a recognised, up to date first aid qualification is really important.

On top of all of this I support the children with any emotional and behavioural issues that come along. This can be wide ranging so it’s important to be patient and a good listener.

Being a TA is an amazing career, no two days are ever the same and it is certainly never boring! The children I work with make my day, every day!