Teaching Assistant – Challenge Accepted!

So I received a phonecall saying I had been accepted onto the teaching assistant course, I just had to wait for the letter.

Well, here it is. It came this week. SEE YOU THERE!

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Yellow paper, eugh.

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Teaching Assistant Course

I was promised a callback about the courses at the AES. And yes, I did get one in the middle of Asda about the ‘Lifelong Learning Sector’ course. Today (being Friday, even though i’m writing this early Saturday morning), however, I received a phonecall about the OTHER course, the teaching assistant training one! I didn’t expect to get another call!

I’d had quite a restless night. The second night in a row, in fact. I was half asleep when the course leader called me at about 2pm. She said it had been requested of her to call me, and I explained the previous phonecall, and said the woman wasn’t convinced of my commitment to the course. I also explained that I wasn’t sure what I wanted to teach. She informed me that she didn’t know anything of the previous phonecall, and I didnt need to pick a specific subject. So the call carried on.

I said I wasn’t sure if the Jobcentre would let me do the course, as it included a day out each week on placement. She said there were other people on JSA and that it would not be a problem! So, after taking down some info, my age and qualifications, she said that I could do it, and that to start in May or September, I would have to find myself a placement. She asked what experience I had, so I told her of my school work experience (over ten years ago), in a mainstream and a SEN school, and of my time at a SEN school during my time at University. She asked if this was something I wished to specialise in. I can have a speciality? Cool!

When I got off the phone, I called a few local SEN schools, and all but one asked me to send in a CV and cover letter. The remaining one said the person in charge of assistants and student teachers would call me. She is in on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. So I will hopefully get a call back Monday! Hooray!

Adult Education Services – Wolverhampton

As I may have mentioned (I don’t remember…) I now find myself unemployed. And to go with this most recent stint of unemployment, I am again looking through the Adult Education Services course guide, for something to fill my time. What shall I study this time?

Last week, during half term, I called up about two courses, one for teaching assistant training, and one labelled ‘Preparing To Teach In The Lifelong Learning Sector’. The woman said she would get somebody to call me back on the Monday, but nobody did. So on Tuesday, I phoned them back, and after being sent back and forth, I eventually got to speak to somebody who could help me. However, she was busy, so she said she would phone back.

By the time she did, I was halfway round Asda. I cocked it up completely, both the phonecall and the shopping. I had picked up two of everything, and the woman was not convinced I was sure I wanted to do the course. Despite telling her I was already doing a degree through the OU, she told me I should probably do a degree. Thanks.

I want to do a TESOL (teaching English to people as a second language) course. There is one at the AES, but the intensive course would probably not be allowed by the Jobcentre, as it is more than twelve hours of study a week. Though the course only lasts two months, this would ‘interfere with my ability to find a job’. So that is probably a no – go. They have a less intensive course, but I have no idea what night that is on. Hmph.

How I Got To Where I Am

Ok, so now you know the back story, here’s the story of NOW.  With a bit more backstory.

In June of 2007, I was on one of those courses the JobCentre put you on, sitting in a room for seven hours a day, 26 weeks long, searching for jobs using their newspapers and internet access.  We were also meant to do interview technique and CV writing classes, but I already had a CV and some GCSEs, so they deemed me intelligent enough to just ‘get on with it’.  I was desperate to get out, so I started looking at University courses.  I enquired about a Stage Management degree at Wimbledon, as I had done Technical Theatre at college, and even had an interview set up.  I ended up cancelling though, as it was too far to travel too, and we decided that London was just a bit far to move to.

In January 2008, I saw an advert in the local paper that said there were courses starting in the January.  It was a very small article, at the very bottom of the page, maybe five or so lines.  I had to sign on at the JobCentre, so I used their phones to enquire.  They said I could apply through the website, instead of going through UCAS and their clearing or January signup procedure.  So I went to the library and used their computers to fill in and print off the applications, and I then hand delivered them to the admin building, as this would speed up the process.  I did the interview with the tutor about a week later, and was fully sorted in a fortnight, other than my student loan.

It was fun at the start, but the tutors were terrible.  There was no instruction, limited facilities for which priority was ALWAYS given to third year students, and the teachers always marked based on their opinion.  Hence the leaving.  And you know how it went down from there.

Last week, I was considering going back into the Adult Education Service in Wolverhampton to study another language at beginner level, as I had done last year.  Then, at the start of this week, on Bank Holiday Monday, I remembered hearing about the part time tuition fee loans.  After a quick Google, and seeing many links to and from.news articles and the Open University, I tried calling the OU. But of course, they were shut.  So I went on the SayNoTo0870 website to find a regional number for the Student Loans Company, herein called Student Finance England.  It appears they changed their name.  After a very short wait, about five minites, I got to talk to a woman who was actually NICE and HELPFUL.  A rarity.  She checked my account, asked a few questions, and confirmed I was INDEED eligible.

So I went on the Open University website and started my registration that night.  It is now Sunday morning, and I am registered, enrolled on the first module and my course material has supposedly already been dispatched!  All I have to do is apply for the tuition fee loans.  I gave Student Finance England (SFE) my Customer Reference Number (CRN), as I imagine it will not have changed, and so I am due to start in October!

George.