A Day in the Life of a Childcare Assessor
Are you looking to change your career and become an assessor within your industry? Then you are in for a treat! We are lucky enough to have 2 assessors giving us an insight into their daily lives as assessors – both within Childcare and Construction. We hope you enjoy this first blog in the series.
Even that 7.00am alarm is quite bearable, and I can start the day relatively slowly. A nice cup of coffee in bed whilst I check my phone for messages and emails is the perfect wake-up. This gives me the chance to see if there are any last-minute changes to my schedule. I then go through my daily checklist – ensuring I have printed off assessment plans, and checking that both my voice recorder and tablet are fully charged. There is nothing worse than getting to an assessment and realising the batteries are dead. Trust me, you only do it once!
7.30am rolls around quite quickly and it is time to get Jenson and Mollie out of bed and ready for school. Dragging them out from under their sheets is probably the biggest challenge of my morning so far! By 8am we are all sitting down having breakfast together as a family (how amazing that assessing gives me the freedom to do this), ready to be out of the door at half-past.
My day properly starts once the children are safely dropped off at school. Sat Nav on, postcode in, and off I set to the first location of the day. That is one thing to note if you are wanting to become an assessor – you will be out on the road quite a bit, so enjoying driving is an advantage!
Journey done, and I have arrived at my first learner’s workplace, with a few minutes to spare (thank goodness rush hour wasn’t bad this morning!). The first thing I do is have a quick catch up with both my learner and her line manager so they know the itinerary for the next few hours. I find that by doing this it adds some calm to the situation, as everyone knows what to expect. After a quick run-through of the assessment plan, I check they are happy to proceed with the observation.
Once the assessment plan is signed on my tablet (saving me carrying endless piles of paperwork around), we are set to go. The voice recorder comes out and the observation begins. Rather than focus on what is being said, I closely follow the interaction of my learner with the children. I can refer to the recording later if I need to.
I ask any questions throughout the observation where necessary, and I record what I see on my tablet too. It is always good to have this on hand when it comes to writing up the observation later on in the evening.
The observation is completed within the hour, and before I leave I take the time to give my learner feedback. This is an important part of the process, allowing the learner to focus on any particular areas for improvement. I also run through any coursework that she wants clarification on.
My next assessment is at 1pm, and only a short drive away, so time for me to grab a quick bite to eat. Coffee is also purchased, because caffeine is essential! Whilst munching my way through lunch in my car I quickly check my phone for messages or emails, before getting the Sat Nav ready again.
I slightly overestimated the length of the journey so once again I am early. This time I am assessing two learners together, so I run through the schedule with them both. One learner is feeling a bit under the weather with a headache so expresses his concerns about the assessment. He still wants to continue though, so I make a note of this for when I write up the report.
The first observation is underway, and just like this morning I record the session on both my tablet and voice recorder, and make notes as I go along. The assessment goes really well and after about 45 minutes I debrief the learner. Giving her feedback on how she has performed, and some guidance on her coursework.
Time to observe the second learner who is starting to feel much better. Maybe it was just a case of the nerves getting to him a bit, as he managed to do a great job during the observation. It only took around 45 minutes, and I sat down and gave him feedback afterwards.
One thing I haven’t yet mentioned is that after the observations I always agree on a future date and time with my learners to come back. Whether this is for further observations or lengthier discussions, it is always best to get them to commit to a time there and then.
I hop back into my car and start on my drive home, excited about the prospect of picking the children up from their after-school clubs. Once we are home the kettle goes on, but it isn’t time to relax yet! I like to write up the reports on the same day as the observations whilst everything is still fresh in my mind.
A few hours later and the reports are done. Time to cook tea, and a quick check of my emails and messages whilst it is simmering away on the hob.
On days like today where I have been out on the road I tend to relax after writing up the assessment reports. If I have had a day in, I often do some marking in the evenings to keep me occupied.
After tea I also do a quick preparation for the next day, particularly if I am visiting learners again tomorrow. My tablet and voice recorder go onto charge and my assessment plans are printed in advance.
Now I can finally put my feet up! Usually to unwind after a busy day I chill out and watch my favourite soaps on TV with a glass of wine in hand. I am always a bit more tired after travelling around visiting learners, so I make sure I have some downtime to myself. I wouldn’t have it any other way though, I love my job and the freedom that it gives me. My work-life balance is truly restored!
Are you looking to take the next step in your career and become an assessor? Then have a look at our CAVA course to find out more information.
Steve is a Chartered Manager and a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute.
He provides Educational Consultancy to the 19+ sector as well as being an Assessor, IQA, EPA and Digital Marketing Professional. When not doing any of these he finds time, every now and then, to write blogs and articles.