Today was my first day of work experience with Sioux Petto, I wasn’t particularly nervous or anxious like I expected I would be, but I think this is because I’ve worked with Sioux before, and I knew that I’d be looked after, and we get on well.
I was picked up on route to the first school at 9:00 am this morning, I had a nice long catch up with Sioux on the journey, talking all things art, free-lance and university. She also took this time to fill me in on the day, and have a re-cap on things I would need to do.
Sioux checked with the schools to make sure I was able to photograph the children, as we didn’t want to cause any problems, but both schools were happy for me to photograph the classes.
I would describe my profession today as a class room assistant, and then I took a few photos at the end, because this being my first day, helping 30 children create pieces of art is daunting enough without worrying about my aperture and ISO. It was thoroughly enjoyable though and I am looking forward to next week.
So today we were teaching the children how to respect and use new tools, whilst considering the effects of recycling to create flowers out of plastic bottles. We were working in year 5 classes (8/9-10 year olds) and there were roughly 30 children in each. We went to two different schools, All Saints in the morning and then St. Clements in the afternoon.
My duties during the morning session were as follows:
- setting up the classroom, (arranging chairs and desks for the suitable amount of children at each, handing out equipment, making sure I kept a count of what went out so we could collect it all in the end).
- Whilst the children were making their flowers I would go around the room checking that everyone was getting on okay with it and then assisting on parts that they struggled with.
- I would also do the parts that the children weren’t allowed to do like using the scalpel to cut into the bottles and using the awl to punch holes.
- I would run errands back and forth, collecting more items, photocopying for the teacher.
- At the end I helped clear up and wash up.
The photos that I have taken will be used on Sioux Petto’s website and to help her document her work.
During the afternoon session, it would be a repeat of the same class, but my duties changed because where it was the first day of not just me doing this, but Sioux too, we didn’t know what to expect of the children’s abilities. This time the children needed more supervision.
The layout of the room was different this time too, which allowed for Sioux, myself and the teaching assistant to focus on one table each, each table roughly 10 children on. This time it was much more hands on and the children needed a lot more attention.
So my duties involved everything I listed before, but this time I was doing it all a lot more, I think I enjoyed this session more because it was busier, and I was more involved.
I felt more of a connection this time round, because I was at one table for the entire session, so you could see all of the children’s characteristics and how different the outcomes of their art was. I think it helped with the children too, because they got to know me easier, rather than before it was just a really quick pop round to all of the tables this time they all felt like they could talk to me and ask me things. I felt a lot more useful in the afternoon session.
Sioux explained that because it was the first day everything would all be a bit up in the air and un-organised but I think everything ran smoothly, and we just managed to squeeze lunch in-between the two schools.
When it came to taking the photos I didn’t feel very comfortable at first because I didn’t want to ram a camera in these children’s faces when they didn’t know me, or wasn’t used to me yet. I didn’t think scaring them off in the first session was good idea but in the weeks to come I’m sure I will become more confident behind the camera and with the children.