Anna Sharpley, a teaching assistant in Cardiff, talks with us about her passion for teaching and why this is her perfect career...
What inspired you to become a teacher?
My love of working with children! I suppose that’s what everyone says? The years you spend in school play a massive part in your life once older. Its where your learn what you know today – not only academic wise. I can still remember conversations I had with my teachers from reception class. I think it is so rewarding to have such a powerful impact on not only an individuals education, but also their life!
Whilst pursuing this career, what long or short term goals to you intend to achieve?
My long-term goal is to complete a PGCE in order to become a qualified teacher. In the meantime my more short-term goals consist of keeping up to date with current teaching standards, remain present with news in the education sector and overall to ensure that I go to work each day enthusiastic and maintain that enthusiasm throughout the day despite working with some challenging behaviour.
Favourite lessons to teach?
My favourite lesson to teach is definitely maths, which is strange, as I hated it as a child. I think it's because there is either a right or a wrong answer. You get to see the excitement in the child’s face when the penny finally drops and when all the teaching you have presented prior to that moment falls into place. It’s an amazing feeling – for the child as well to finally be able to work out the correct answer unaided.
What’s your favourite memory whilst teaching?
My favourite memory so far is of something that has happened quite recently. Over the past 12 months I have spent half my working week, assisting a year 1 pupil with SEN and a statement. The school were unsure of the pupils suitability to a mainstream primary. He had no prior knowledge of number, phonics and was unable to hold a pencil. Recently the child was assessed in my presence and his knowledge of numbers and letters was astounding. To see the look on his face when he completed his task was amazing. He turned to me smiling and said “I did it!!” – PROUD TEACHER MOMENT.
What are the most rewarding moments of being a teacher?
Predominately results! To see a child succeed in something because of the knowledge you successfully shared with them is the most rewarding aspect of teaching. Second to that, it’s the time you spend with the children around teaching them. Whether it is carpet time, play time, lunchtime or an after-school club. It is so fantastic to get to know the individual personalities of each child that makes up the school.
Any creative ways of teaching – share your tips & tricks?
Always think outside the box. If its how you were taught as a child, then it’s old and needs updating. Children are constantly surrounded by multi-media, sound, and visually stimulating aspects of the 21st century. Appropriately adapt it into your teaching. Create songs, use tactile resources, and give the child the chance to experience what you are teaching them first hand. If its interactive and exciting and getting every child involved then I feel you're on to a winner!
Sum up your job in 3 words!
Best Job Ever!
"I went back to my old school just over two years ago to gain some experience and the same teacher that taught me in reception was now the deputy head! It was so fantastic that 20 years later she still demonstrated the same level and enthusiasm within her teaching."