Teaching Assistant Program in Südengland

Hello everybody,

my name is Christina and I’m in the third year of my Music and English studies back home in Germany. As I want to become a teacher later on I am very happy that my work placement in Torquay is at the Torquay Boys‘ Grammar School, where I am currently working as a German Assistant for 3 months. At my TTPL (The Training Partnership Ltd.) Welcome Meeting (on the 8th of September) I was presented with the opportunity of taking part in a training programme in addition to my work placement. In this blog I am going to tell you more about this intriguingly interesting and very informative experience.

The training started on the 18th of September. From now on we would meet every Thursday morning from 9.30-12.30am. The six Spanish teachers in the group, who had mostly come to England to look for an actual teaching assistant job, and me got to know Bill, our fabulously good-humoured and always helpful and well-informed coach. We also got to know each other as we talked about our ambitions and our reasons for taking part in the programme.

Over the course of the six weeks we were given a broad overview over the general educational system in the UK. In addition we learnt more about the treatment of students with S.E.N. (special educational needs), security at schools and how to relax and motivate students after breaks with brain gym exercises. Furthermore we got to know educational methods like the white board as a means to get some direct feedback from the students. We were given an in depth insight into the application process in Britain including information on the National Insurance Number, a mock job interview and a visit to the local job centre, where we were able to register ourselves in the system. Our fourth session was a bit different. Sabina Rademacher, a former German business woman, who had first moved to Spain and then to England, trained our cross-cultural awareness. We learnt and discussed that different cultures have different values and ways of doing things, that certain signs can mean completely different things in another culture and that we as teachers in another country need to be aware of these differences and make our students aware of them. During the last session we all got our own white board, a check list to help us survive the first day at a new school and, of course, our certificates.

All in all, this teacher training programme was a very helpful experience! I have learnt a lot and would now feel ready to look for a teaching job in Britain. I can recommend the programme to anyone who is interested in getting a closer insight into the British Educational System (like me) but especially to those that actually plan to look for a job as a teacher in England.