In January of this year, I made the decision that I wanted to volunteer in a primary school.
I had done 2 days volunteering in the school prior to the beginning of this year, when I volunteered for 2 days in October to see what it was like.
I felt that after thinking about it, that it was the sort of career path that I would like to pursue and volunteering in the school as a teaching assistant/ classroom assistant has been a very positive experience for me.
It may at first come across as a shock that someone like myself, who found a few things quite challenging at school wants to work in an environment that I found it a challenge to be in as a child.
But time has moved on and I am an adult now. I can learn from the teachers and teaching assistants what sort of things they do and feel like I can add something positive to each class that I help out in. Of course, this comes with also having to build up a good rapport with the children.
I can definitely say that my relationship with the children in each class have been great and I have enjoyed working with some children on a 1 to 1 basis as well so that I can try and find my own ways of helping particular children with their work.
Of course, being in a school is a serious environment where children are there to learn. But for me, as well as helping the children find a variety of ways to learn and different methods of completing tasks… School should also be fun for children. They should be able to think after each and every day that as well as achieving their goals and working hard, that they’d had fun.
In my personal experience at the school, I have been able to make sure that in a working environment where children are getting on with the more academic side of the work that I am available to help the children and empower them to be independent. While doing that, at the right times in the day such as lunchtime and play time and during breaks, I could have a laugh with the children and “release my inner child” while taking part in the less academic side of things such as building things out of different materials or playing football in the playground for a few minutes.
If there’s one thing I know I really want to achieve while volunteering in the school, it’s to “build doors”. What I mean by this, is to create opportunities for myself where in the future, hopefully I could go into the career of being a teaching assistant.
I also want to make clear that I want to make each child be a believer. I want the children to feel confident in themselves and to think that even if they get something wrong, it can only result in something positive in the future.
Whether a child is struggling with converting fractions and decimals in maths or struggling with spelling, I want to be able to tell them that you can’t learn if you only succeed first time. You have to learn by failure too. This kind of idea has definitely helped the children I’d say and in some situations already, I have been able to turn a child’s confidence from 0 to 100.
Positivity in school is such a must and I really do feel like I am being a positive role model for the children to follow and a person who the children would be able to trust to help them achieve everything they set out to do in school and give them the confidence to go above and beyond their potential.
If there is one thing I take from this experience, it’s that I have grown in confidence to be able to work in fairly busy environments where my concentration has to be at the top of its game.
I would also suggest working in a school as a potential career path for those with dyspraxia as we can also tell our stories of how we have “defied the odds” in some cases to achieve great things in education thanks to the role models there are in school. I hope to be able to carry on along my journey and to continue to help children find every last bit of enjoyment in school as well as a high level of self esteem in the learning environment.