Rise and shine! Whilst every day as a Childcare Assessor can be different, my mornings always start off the same – a cup of coffee in bed. I check my phone for messages and emails, looking out for any last minute change of plans for the day ahead. Once I’ve drunk my coffee, I double check what I already checked last night – that I’ve printed off assessment plans, my voice recorder is charged and my tablet is fully charged.
Time to get Jenson and Mollie up for school. It’s funny, 6 o’clock on a Saturday when I want a lie in, the kids are running around like wild animals. 7.30 on a school day and they’re suddenly attached to their bed sheets. Anyway, I make sure we’re sat down having breakfast at 8am, ready to go at half past.
The kids have been dropped off. Now I set Google maps up on my phone ready to take me to my first location of the day. On this occasion, my first learner is an hour and a half away, so off I go hoping that there won’t be some kind of dramatic traffic jam. I’ve got contact details for the learner just in case there is, anyway.
I arrive at my first learner’s workplace. I have a quick catch up with my learner and her line manager and have a rundown of what’s happening today. We go through the assessment plan, make sure everything is OK and I ask if they are ready to go forward with the observation. It’s important to me that I know my learners are at ease.
My learner signs the assessment plan, which is on my tablet. Everything is done electronically for the company I’m working for. It’s really nice not having hundreds of papers flying around everywhere. At this point, I get my voice recorder out and the observation begins. I watch my learner interacting with the children the way she would on day to day basis, and ask any questions where and if appropriate. Whatever I see I record on my tablet, as well as talking into my voice recorder and making sure any professional discussions had are overheard by the voice recorder. It’s nice to be able to refer back to the voice recorder later on when I’m typing up the assessment reports.
An hour later and the observation is over. I give some feedback to my learner; tell her what went well, any areas for improvement and reassure her that any criteria that hasn’t been covered can be looked at at a future date. I take a look at any coursework that she wants to discuss with me and arrange a date and time for our next meeting.
My next meeting isn’t until 1pm and I have two learners to assess in this location. It’s a 30-minute drive, so now’s the perfect time to grab some lunch and another coffee from the local coffee shop. Nothing like a bit of caffeine to keep you going! I eat my lunch in the car, checking my phone again for any messages or emails, then re-programme Google maps to my next location and head off.
I arrive at the next location all in good time, and greet my two learners. Their line manager is on holiday, so I sit down with them and discuss what will happen in the next couple of hours. One of the learners is absolutely fine, happy to continue with the assessment and signs the plan on my tablet. The second learner, however, seems a bit apprehensive. He informs me that he has had a headache all morning so isn’t feeling to great, but will still continue with the assessment. I make a note of this, and bear it in mind when it comes to writing up assessment reports.
Time to observe my first learner, who is having a one-to-one session with a deaf child. I do the same as I always do – make notes on my tablet, and record any professional discussions taking place. The assessment goes really well, and after about 45 minutes I give my learner some feedback. We discuss what I would like to see in the next assessment. She asks me some questions about her coursework, which I assist her with.
The second learner’s headache has started clearing up and he is feeling much better about the assessment, so we go ahead with it. I observe my learner handing out afternoon snacks to the children and doing his daily job in general. Despite the fact he said he wasn’t feeling too great, the observation went well and he ticked off a lot of his criteria – something he did not anticipate. Again, after about 45 minutes I sat down with him and gave him feedback. He had no other questions, and nothing to discuss in regards to his coursework.
I organise a future date and time with my learners when to come back for further observations, discussions, and anything else that is necessary.
Off I go, back in the car and on my hours drive home. I pick my kids up from an after-school club on the way, and stick the kettle on as soon as I get in. It’s not quite time to relax yet though, as I’ve got reports to write up! I always find it best to do the reports as soon as possible. Preferably, the same day whilst the observations are still fresh in my mind.
The reports are written up. They don’t take me as long to do anymore – I’m used to the style they require to be written in. Anyway, now it’s time to cook tea. In the process of cooking, I check my emails and messages again and make any necessary calls to learners. Sometimes after I’ve cooked tea I’ll do some marking, but I often just mark on days where I haven’t got any learners to visit. If I know I’m out and about the next day visiting learners, I always make sure to put my tablet and voice recorder on charge and print off any assessment plans that I’ll need.
Now it’s time to put my feet up! To be perfectly honest, I just like to switch off from my work and watch Eastenders, wishing I was in the Lake District. My days of visiting learners always feel like tiring ones – it must be all the travelling. But, as tiring as they are, they’re still so rewarding. Besides, the days of marking in my pyjamas make up for it! Becoming a Childcare Assessor was the second best thing I ever did; having my own children was the first.
If this sounds like a Day in The Life that you would like to live, your first step to get there is our CAVA course.