Angela Kieley graduated from CBBC in 2019 from our Teacher Assistant program and has been taking the world by storm ever since! Starting in the education industry right as COVID-19 hit hasn’t been easy, but she is thriving. Not only is she loving her new career, but she’s finding it perfect to allow her to balance her responsibilities as a mother while she works.
To learn all about Angela’s journey and why she calls CBBC “the best option!” keep reading!
CBBC Career College: Thank you so much for chatting with us today! To get things started off, what is your name, which program did you graduate from, and when did you graduate?
Angelina Kieley: Sure! My name is Angelina and I was enrolled at CBBC in the teacher assistant program. I’ve been an active teacher assistant for two years now, so I would have graduated in 2019. My home base school is Whitney Pier Memorial Middle School.
Before becoming a teacher assistant what was life like? What did you do prior to going back to school?
Before becoming a teacher assistant I worked retail in the Mayflower Mall. I moved from one location to another but before I made my final decision to become a teacher assistant I was based out of Things Engraved.
Do you find that any of those real-world experiences in retail transfer into your new career?
Absolutely! Working in retail I found that I loved being with people! Every time somebody would bring their child into the store I found I was always drawn to them. I wanted to get to know them, I wanted to introduce myself, I wanted to know their name.
I have 2 small children of my own and I became part of their PTA group. Being inside the school I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to be based within the school district as an actual job.
Excellent! That sort of leads to the next question. What was it then about becoming a teacher assistant that drew you in? Why not become a teacher?
There’s more one-on-one time with the kids as a TA. Being a teacher you’re pulled in so many different directions. You’re responsible for thirty kids within the class. Being a teacher assistant I can zero in on those children that need just that little bit more help. I love being up close and personal. Give me one on one so I can attend to these needs.
How did your time at CBBC prepare you for working with the students?
When I was at CBBC they were a lot like a family! They get to know you just like I get to know my students. They ask if there’s anything that they can help us with. Being enrolled in the school at CBBC was just fantastic. Being able to have that classroom time, being able to do online time, and then getting out hearing the stories from the people that are part of your community. It was just an amazing experience and I’m so grateful that I did it.
Do you feel like you’ve been prepared to work in a variety of school settings? Or did you feel like the program was just tailored to one sort of setting of learning?
The program set me up for success for all grade levels. Whether I’m working in a primary setting, a middle school, a high school, a learning center, or even an adult learning school I feel a hundred percent capable of jumping into any of those positions.
Walk us through a typical day that you go through. What does your day look like?
I walk into the school and I do my “good mornings”. I’ll make sure the kids have their breakfast. We would get ready for our first period um, doesn’t matter what the subject would be. We make sure everybody has their Chromebooks out and ready. Are they logged in? Are they having any problems? Do they have any questions about the class coming up?
I also have a diabetic student who I take care of so once I make sure my class is ready to go I’d excuse myself and go check on my diabetic student to make sure that everything is set up for her for the day. Does she need anything? As long as everything is okay there I’m able to go back to my class and continue on with that period and just about every period looks the same ah right now because we’re in COVID we’re not moving our classes. We’re just located in our one homeroom and our teachers transfer to us which makes things a little bit easier to make sure that all my little ducks are in a row.
Excellent. So then each day are you working with the same students?
Day-to-day I have my own students that I work with. I’m in one grade level so there are numerous children within my class that I would work with hands-on. Obviously, everybody’s going to have a question at some point in time within that class. So I’m always there to help them too.
But if we’re short-staffed then I might get pulled from my classroom to go in with another one but it’s fun moving from class to class and grade level to grade level. It’s a new day and you never know what you’re going to get.
What was the draw to being a teacher assistant versus going through an Early Childhood Education program?
I decided to stay with the teacher assistant because I have a larger age group that I can work with. I just personally found that being a child educator you’re with the little kids. Which is still fun, still lots of hugs and love, but I liked the option of being able to see the kids grow through the stages. Plus, if I’m based out of an elementary school right now, later on, I could choose to transfer schools. I might want to go to a middle school, or I might want to go to a high school. Maybe I want to go to the school that my kids are at! That option is always there for me.
Why did you choose CBBC for your education?
CBBC was the ultimate option for me. It gave me that sense that I could do this. I went in for my interview and I thought I was too old, being in my thirties. I thought, “There’s no way I can go back to school and raise a family!”. But the instructors at CBBC absolutely made sure that it was going to be an option for me. They wanted me to succeed and they wanted to see me follow through with my dreams.
Where do you see this career taking you over the next five years, ten years, and beyond?
As of right now in the next five years, I see myself being at the same school. You build relationships and strong bonds with those around you. You want to succeed and you want to see your friends succeed. I couldn’t ask for anything more than that.
How has this career worked in your family life? Has it been a good fit for you being an older student going back to school?
It’s amazing. This career path works in my family in ways that I could never imagine. I’m able to work with my children! Not in their specific classroom, but I have worked at their school. Being able to work just during the daytime, starting at 8:00 or 8:30 and being home in time for when your children get off of school is great! I go to work at 8:45 every morning and I’m off at 3:00 every afternoon, the same schedule that my kids have! We have the evenings to spend time together. We have the weekends off to go do our hiking or to go swimming or anything like that that they may want to do as a family.
What kind of person do you think will succeed as a teacher assistant?
I tell everyone who wants to be in this job the same thing, every time: have fun with your kids! Be outgoing, If they need a hug, hug them. If they want to be silent and they need a break, take a step back. Give them 5 minutes! It’s a lot like working with your own kids at home. It’s a lot like working with your friend or your spouse. Once you get in with those kids you need to read them.
My advice for anybody who’s thinking about becoming a teacher assistant is to do it! It’s so rewarding. Don’t second guess yourself, you are capable. You are strong enough. You’re not too old. You will have fun!
Awesome! And for somebody who is thinking about attending CBBC Career College, what would you tell them?
If you’re thinking about CBBC, I think it’s the best option! It’s warm and it’s welcoming. They treat you like they want to know you because they do! I have instructors on my Facebook, I have instructors that I can send a message to even now three years after I graduated. If I have a question I know they’re there. You will know that they will be there for you. CBBC is definitely the best option to go with. If you want to succeed in your career path.
Thank you so much for saying that. Just one final question for you; how has life changed since going back to school?
I feel more confident now about my abilities and being in the school system. The kids need you. The kids need that extra support, especially now coming off of COVID-19. How many of the kids have fallen behind and it’s not their fault? It’s not your fault as a parent. It’s not our fault as a teacher or a teacher assistant. Life just threw a curveball. And it’s something that we’re going to be working through for a long time. Knowing that I’m going to be part of that support system that’s able to help them makes my heart happy.
It’s time to change your life. It’s time for an education from CBBC Career College.
Get a leg up in the job market NOW (don’t wait!). We would love to chat with you more about becoming a teacher assistant. To learn more and to connect with us, visit the Teacher Assistant Program page here. We look forward to chatting with you more about this exciting program (and your new career opportunities!).