“It’s nice to get to watch TV without putting an academic spin on it!”
A usual day for me starts at around 6.50 when I get up, get ready and have breakfast, usually just a quick bowl of porridge to fill me up till break. I leave the house at about 7.30, around the time I used to leave when I was still at university. I usually get two busses to work but it doesn’t really bother me because I only spend £11 a week on transport which means I can save my money up for other things like a trip to Newcastle for my birthday in November with some friends.
On Mondays and Wednesdays at the school we have briefings where announcements are made to the staff then it’s straight into the classroom. As a learning support assistant I’m assigned to individual students who all need different methods to help them. Some students just need encouragement or simple things like my checking over their work but each child is different and a big part of my job is knowing how to effectively respond to their needs. It was a bit weird at first seeing how the teachers act when they aren’t teaching and seeing just how much background work goes into running a classroom but I find my work really rewarding, knowing I’m making a difference.
At 11 O’clock it’s break time which is only 15 minutes long so I usually just have a quick snack and occasionally have a chat with a student who needs to stay behind before lessons start again. After break I do a programme with students who are below target called “Literacy Challenge” which uses a computer programme that has been tailored to their needs to help highlight which areas of reading and writing need extra attention.
During lunch I’m in the staff room with the other teachers, usually discussing how the morning went and sometimes talking about individual students. It’s really important for me to report back to the teachers and communication plays a big part of my day. I think it’s important to have a balanced dinner at work so I’ll have a sandwich and some fruit to help keep my energy levels and focus up.
There’s only one lesson in the afternoon and after that I’m usually doing admin tasks or looking over the day’s work. The relationship I have with my students is really important because before I started they had a lot of different staff but now I’m there and they have me to rely on constantly. I think that this consistency is especially important at school because sometimes it isn’t there at home. Home life can have a big impact on the way a child is at school but I try to judge the children based on their academic ability.
I leave work around 3.30 most days but twice a month we have departmental meetings that usually last till 5. After getting the bus home I tend to do a bit more work before I get a chance to relax. Most learning support assistants write up what happens throughout the day just as a matter of reference for themselves but I’m used to carrying on working even at home because I commuted to university so it feels natural to me.
My evening meal really depends on what I have in the house but I love chicken so I’ll make whatever I can with that. After I’ve eaten I’ll get into bed and unwind with a bit of TV, usually it’s a sitcom like The Big Bang Theory but I have a bit of a guilty pleasure for crime documentaries. My legal background is probably why I enjoy them so much, it’s nice to get to watch them just to enjoy them rather than having to put a legal spin on everything. I eventually want to get in to teaching Law at A-Level so it can be a bit difficult to get out of that analytical frame of mind from time to time but I think that’s just part of having a law degree, it’s something that is bound to stick with you.
After I’ve watched a couple of hours of TV I’ll have a quick shower before brushing my teeth and getting ready for bed usually around 10 o’clock, making sure that my alarm is set ready for another early start in the morning.
Interview by: Josh Bamford
If like Lauren you’d like study at university I personally recommend applying via UCAS or more specifically if you’re considering a law degree I’d suggest reading this article on The Guardian to make sure it’s right for you. If, on the other hand, this has sparked your interest in teaching check out this link for tips and information on how to become a learning support assistant or watch this video to hear more real life experiences from the classroom.