Jean Thomas | Assistant Teacher
Reflection on my experiences of the CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Supporting Teaching and Learning
I started working with Dulwich College Singapore in August 2014. I am a Year 4 Assistant Teacher. Prior to this, I have had a number of years’ experience in other international schools in Singapore, and I am delighted that I was able to bring my skills and experience to Dulwich.
Dulwich College believes in providing exemplary professional career pathways for the Assistant Teachers, to enable them to develop, flourish and grow in their careers, whilst also arming them with the skills needed to best support the students. Assistant Teachers are given the opportunity to attend Professional Learning Development sessions on a weekly basis. More recently, The Junior School provided funding for three Assistant Teachers to participate in the fully accredited CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Supporting Teaching and Learning in conjunction with the Teaching Assistant College in the UK.
I had been wanting to further my skills for a while now, so I jumped at this excellent opportunity. Also, I felt that this Level 3 Diploma will equip me with a wider variety of skills, and upgrade my standard of work.
The course started in January 2019 and ends on 14th July 2020. The College wanted us to aim to complete it by December 2019. As of 18th April 2019, I have completed 82% of the course.
I allocated the right amount of time and space to enable myself to meet my family and professional commitments as well as focusing on my study. Knowing the fact that my hard work and perseverance will help me achieve greater professional success, is what kept me going. I was very enthusiastic and really wanted to do the course, so I set a timetable for myself and stayed focused. Study sessions are not too short so that I can’t get stuck in, or too long so that I lose concentration, making sure that I was free from distractions. I took time out on Saturdays so that I had the opportunity to unwind and relax.
The course has enabled me to evaluate my own professional role as an Assistant Teacher in the Junior School at Dulwich College (Singapore). My mentor works at Dulwich. Stephen Honey is a qualified teacher and the Head of Academic Development (Academic Support Staff). I found this very useful. He carried out regular lesson observations for me, provided feedback on my performance and helped me to find opportunities to gather evidence for practical criteria. He checked in on me on a weekly basis, has supported me through any difficulties or struggles that I may face, and he was always there to ask questions or refer to for advice. He has been very encouraging and an excellent role model.
Much of the course is online which has enabled me to balance my commitments and make everything more manageable. I was assigned a tutor from the TA College to guide me through the course. Anne has been constantly encouraging me through regular email contact, tutorials and progress reviews.
I have stayed committed to the course and kept Stephen involved. The research and reading has allowed me to be more clued up on the policies and procedures of Dulwich as well as being much more aware of what procedures are in the UK. I view my role with the students in a different way. I now feel much more comfortable and clued up in my role as an Assistant Teacher supporting learning in my students. Working towards earning this qualification has been very beneficial to me and I would strongly recommend this to the other Assistant Teachers as well. Balancing full time work with part time study may take a while to adjust to, but it is certainly possible!
Comments from the Tutor
"Jean started her course in January 2019 and has been a pleasure to support from the start. Jean's levels of commitment, her work ethic and the quality of her work really blew me away.
She has had a great level of support from her colleagues and mentor and has worked incredibly hard to finish the course to the best of her ability.
She has demonstrated how she has applied the course in her practice, and has enjoyed her studies - she even said to me she wouldn't know what to do with her time now she's finished!
You should be incredibly proud of yourself Jean!"