Category Archives: Charity and voluntary work

You think teaching is easy? Think again!

People who say teaching is the easy option need to come and do their placement in a school and have their eyes opened. As a placement student in school I’ve assumed the role of a teaching assistant, helping out in lessons with either less able or disruptive students. Unlike most teaching assistants I have specialist subject knowledge and can really challenge some of the students to learn more than ‘just enough to get them a pass’ which is what many students seem to aim for.
I’ve been on placement 3 months now, and have already learnt a great deal about teaching in general, and these are the things I would share with anyone looking at doing teaching after they graduate like I am.
1. Never show weakness – I’m pretty sure the students can smell fear on you. In my first week I was told that I have full teaching rights and to give out detentions if I feel they are needed. But I was not confident enough to do this and discipline properly, and they could tell I was new. As the weeks went on and I grew in confidence and learnt how to speak to the kids they learnt that I meant business! Now, they do listen to me, and if I set a detention, I’m not bluffing but mean it.
2. Children are nosey – No matter how many times I’ve told them I’m a university student, they always ask if I’m a real teacher. They ask how old I am, if I have children and if I’m married. Most of the time, they’re asking these questions because they’re bored or they just don’t want to learn. Don’t fall into the trap of answering these questions, as they’ll always find more to ask. I did like making them guess my age until one year 11 student said I looked 30… being 21, this was NOT what I wanted to hear.
3. They will not do as much work with a cover teacher – FACT, and I remember this from when I was at school. To even the best behaved students, cover teacher = easy lesson. Sometimes, just getting certain students through a lesson with a cover teacher without any other teachers having to remove them is an achievement, even if all they write is the date and the title.
4. Small arguments will be the end of the world for year 7s – In year 7, there is a huge difference in maturity, and it’s very obvious. Some students still think that, like in primary school, arguments will be sorted by the teacher, but most teachers don’t have time to monitor every small friendship issue. They will sort it in the end. They will learn.
5. You will not just be a teacher – As a teacher and especially as a form tutor (Which I am to a year 7 group) you assume the role of many other people. You’re a parent figure to some children with difficult home lives. You give advice and guide them in things that happen outside school. You council students who are struggling with friendships or find school life difficult. You’re a doctor, trying to decipher when a student is ill or ‘ill’ because they don’t want to do a test. And alongside teaching your main job is that you are a role model, teaching students not only the curriculum, but how to be a good person and how to grow into a good adult.

Applying for My Placement

For a long time I had considered continuing my education and qualifying as a Speech and Language therapist, but as it is specialised I was not sure whether it would be the right path for me. So, I decided to try my best efforts to secure a placement within the NHS under a Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) department.

Finding a placement in SLT and not being on the course was difficult, I must have contacted every SLT department, in every city, from Leicester to York and none would take me on. I attended one of the placement fairs at Aston’s Student Union and there is where I made my first contact with a Speech and Language assistant from Birmingham Community Healthcare (BCHC). She gave me a brief overview of the role and this coincided with the research I had done pushed me into applying for a student placement with BCHC.

The time between contact and receiving an interview was just under a few months and I considered this opportunity as my last shot so, it was pretty nerve wrecking. The nerves did not by any means end there, as there was little information about competencies and previous student interviews with SLT, there was only so much I could prepare for the interview.

I was interviewed by a therapist and an assistant who were really friendly and the first few questions were generic interview ones focusing on skills such as communication and team working. There were a few scenario based questions that did catch me off guard but it was just a case of applying the skills I had to the role I was applying for.  When I left the interview I felt that I had babbled on too much and did not do well, so it was to my surprise when I got a phone call later from my interviewer saying I had secured a placement!

3 things I have learnt from placement

  1. The importance of asking– If you don’t ask you don’t get, if you speak to the right people and ask questions and take an interest you never know what things you may get the chance to do. I got the experience to go out with a occupational therapist, but that is only because I asked, people are not going to do work for you, if you want to learn and gain experience… seek it out!
  2. Collecting resources-it is important to remember the things you have done on placement, and yes you have a brain but you may not remember that 7th housing checklist you did and what you learnt from that day- so keep a record, your reflective log is tedious and annoying to do sometimes but really keep a record of what you have learnt, it will help one day. Also all the training and stuff you get to go to, keep something interesting from the day, make a folder of all the things you have done. IT WILL HELP. 
  3. Take time for you- Remember if you are working unpaid like me you will more than likely have a part time job. Luckily for me my new job is relevant to my career goals now (I am now a neurorehab assistant for a inpatient unit specializing in brain injury- part time- more on that later) but it means I now work a 57.5 hour week, which is ALOT!!! I am tired and I am stressed I wont lie to you, but you and myself need to learn to take time out a bit. Thats what annual leave is for… if that means booking one half day off do it because that recharge of your batteries is the boost which will keep you going and being positive, and getting the most experience out of placement as you can… and that is the most important thing.

I hope this helps someone somewhere 🙂

I’ve fallen in love…

 

Actually…I’ve fallen deeply in love.

Before the rumours start it’s with a charity, so there’s no need for me to change my Facebook relationship status!

Going on placement can offer all sorts of opportunities and really show you how businesses work, however my placement has shown me so much more. Since joining Disney I have to come learn about many different charities but one in particular has taken my heart. The charity KIDS (http://www.kids.org.uk/) is a fantastic organisation. This charity works with children and young people who are disabled offering them  help to provide opportunities and support. However, this charity not only looks after those who need it but it remembers that having a disabled member in the family has a knock on effect. KIDS also provides support and advice for the family members, those who really need it.

It’s hard to imagine if  you’ve never encountered having a disabled family member, just how much of an impact it can create. It can be really easy to shut yourself away and struggle, but charities like KIDS encourages families to talk about their problems and see how they can be resolved so the family can be a loving unit.

I was extremely lucky to attend an event at the Houses of Parliament where KIDS held a reception. The President of the charity summarised my point of view perfectly…

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A Magical Day On Placement

Hi I’m Becca. I currently study Politics and English Language. I am currently on placement with the Walt Disney Company working in the Corporate Citizenship department. This covers volunteering, charity partnerships and much much more. Read on to find out how I spent one of my days…

My day started at 7am so that I could travel to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH). The Walt Disney Company Limited EMEA (Disney)has had a long standing relationship with Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity (GOSH) and in 2008 pledged to donate £10 million towards the hospital’s redevelopment. Today was going to be very special. Part of my placement heavily focuses on compassion and children, and today was going to be about taking the Disney magic to GOSH, a leading Children’s hospital that helps children with complicated medical needs.  Such sick children deserve a treat, so we took along Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Rapunzel, Spiderman and Goofy! The aim was to ensure that every child who wanted have a visit, got one. And not just a visit, there were lots of hugs, kisses and high fives for everyone! (There were also some tears from nurses as they saw their patient’s faces light up as Minnie Mouse appeared!) The whole day was incredible. To see some of the sickest children in the country have their day transformed by a visit from a Disney character was… well magical. One parent commented how Spiderman helped their little boy to gain confidence to try to walk after having double surgery that week which is just incredible.

Here’s an amazing picture that summarised the day for me. It’s only once I was back in the car at 6pm after a very long day, did I appreciate just how sick some of those children were and what a difference Disney can really make.

disney