Stephanie shares with us her expectations of becoming a Teaching Assistant and how this role has changed her perspective on learning.
Being fairly new the to the teaching assistant game, I really had no idea what to expect out of working in schools. All I knew was that I felt drawn to it and wanted to be of service to the community.
My first assignment for a reception class left me feeling a mixture of excitement and apprehension. What was I getting myself into? What if all the children were just too much and I wouldn’t be able to handle it?
Just give it a go, I told myself, just see what happens, keep an open mind.
So I went into my first class with a sense of anticipation, a glimmer of fear, and a determination to take things in my stride. For context, my previous experience had been with much older children so being around so many little ones was entirely new territory. My only frame of reference was that my niece is also reception age.
Mentally I had set the bar low, expect the worst and everything else will be a bonus, I told myself. I think this strategy was actually quite helpful as my first day was one of the most rewarding experiences I had had in a long time.
My expectations of working in schools had been a little vague. I hoped that it would be the rewarding experience that others talked of and that I would be able to handle anything that came up. I was concerned about my own ability to manage behaviour and communicate with children so young.
However I was completely delighted to discover I enjoyed it as much as I did. The children, despite being prewarned that they were a challenging class, were wonderful to be around. I found that I laughed more than in any other job I’ve had previously, and that their progress made me feel proud of them and that was a lovely feeling.
I have been working with a same school for a few weeks now and with each passing week I become more and more familiar with them all as I assist in helping them develop to the next stage, supporting the class in whatever needs to be done.
But the major game changer for me and the thing that has shifted my perspective on what’s really important in learning and life has come from interacting with these amazingly funny and talented young children. Through witnessing their achievements and their victories, I have realised that there is always potential to learn, no matter the circumstances or what stage we are at in our lives.
We can always strive to do and be more. Learning is a lifelong passion and working with others is a life skill that is forever tested and honed, in school and in the adult world.
Mostly I am grateful that I have been given the opportunity to assist and offer service to perhaps the most noble cause of all, shaping the next generation. Simply by being part of the system that moulds the minds of tomorrow, I have been given the opportunity to expand my own experiences and develop myself as a person by helping other people develop also.