For the last three months, Sarah McDonald has worked in ALS as a Learning Support Assistant (LSA); a change from her previous status as an Educational Access Assistant. Here, she outlines her experiences ‘and a sense of ‘belonging.’’
Having more contact with other LSAs is great and I have found it very supportive through this ‘transitional’ time. Being able to talk through concerns with people who are going through the same experiences makes everything seem achievable and less daunting. I feel that we are valued as part of the ALS team and have enjoyed job shadowing other members of the department.
Having more contact with students over the exam period has been very rewarding and pre-exam meetings with LSAs to put reading/scribing strategies into place and consistency with invigilating worked very well. It was nice to be thanked by students for the help they had had.
The training sessions have been invaluable in extending knowledge about the various Specific Learning Differences that ALS supports and the interactive exercises have enabled me to understand what it is like to live and study with learning differences. Most recently, I have been helping at the Open Days, working with other members of staff and gaining an insight into their knowledge base; listening to them talking to students and their parents very reassuringly and giving them all confidence in the future. Also, I heard from families who had visited other universities and how highly they rated Bournemouth. All in all, a good three months and I’m looking forward to returning in August.