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Covering class

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by dobble, Apr 17, 2016.

  1. dobble

    dobble New commenter

    Hi. New here and first post so please bear with me.

    I am a TA Level 2 in an Academy primary school. I am in Year 2 and am often used to cover the class for absence, meetings (class teacher is Senior Management) and PPA time amongst other things. I qualified as an HLTA just before they closed the door on that particular qualification! Recently I was asked to cover because of teacher attending a course - I was given another TA from KS1. As is usually the case I am only ever left with a general "teachers overview" of the weeks lessons and notes on post its! The literacy lesson turned into a debacle - the work produced was "shocking" (teachers words) and she stormed out of the classroom. I apologised to her and she seemed fine. I was due to cover same class the next day. Turned into work to be informed that I was in the other KS2 class and another level 2 TA (with the same KS1 Ta who had worked with me the previous day) was covering my class for the day. I am neither stupid nor blind and realised that this was because of what had happened the previous day. The class teacher (MY class teacher) ignored me all day and never spoke to me once even though everyone knew I was upset - another TA told my CT that I was upset and she replied with "she would refer it to the Head". I have since emailed my line manager (deputy head) and said that because of what happened and the way I had been made to feel incapable and stupid that I would not cover anymore. I have yet to hear a reply and am back at work tomorrow and wondering what to do. :(
  2. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    I'm sorry - you're a TA (even an HLTA) so not a qualified teacher, you covered a class (something unthinkable when I started teaching - only qualified teachers etc etc), you carried out a lesson according to the instructions given and it was a disaster and the teacher 'stormed out' of the classroom...and YOU apologised?? Surely some mistake - the teacher should apologise!

    Hope you are in a Union - I think you need support...Why not make an official complaint about this teacher?
  3. dobble

    dobble New commenter

    Thank you for your reply. I have been at TA at this same school for 19 years now. I am, thankfully, in a Union and will be getting onto them tomorrow. I apologised as I felt I had let my children down. Unfortunately, the ethos in my particular school is "complain and don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out"! This class teacher of mine is also very great friends with the deputy and the head. The cards feel somewhat stacked against me!
  4. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi dobble

    Your post, post number three, has put your situation into some context. Although you are not a qualified teacher, you do have 19 years' experience which is quite impressive and significant. You have been in hundreds of classes and have many hours of observation and teaching experience. It would be interesting to sit down and do the maths to see how many hours in the classroom you have. Well done.

    What the class teacher should have realised is we all have lessons where the work produced may be not as good as we would have liked, or the lesson did not go exactly as planned. A gracious, mature teacher would have not said what she said, but rather would have gone away and perhaps had a quiet word with you about what to do next time or ensured that next time the lesson plans were more clear and detailed. She could have sat down with you and shown you at what point it went wrong and what to do about it next time. Now the result of her behaviour is that you are upset and you are at the point of calling your union which with some foresight and wisdom from the teacher could have been avoided.

    See what your union has to say, but this matter might be able to be resolved if all the parties sit down and mediate. I can see why you might be aggrieved: you have worked at the school for a significant amount of time, the class teacher was not professional in her comments to you, and the fact is we all have classes go wrong from time to time.

    Try to resolve this if you can on an amicable basis and move on. All the parties need to learn something from this. One thing is that when lesson plans are left they perhaps need to have more detailed and step by step instructions for those covering.
  5. dobble

    dobble New commenter

    I would be more than happy to sit down and sort this out - unfortunately I fear that will not be the case. My CT is one of those people who will never admit she'd made a mistake and, from what I have seen happen to other colleagues in the past, both the DH and Hd will support her.
  6. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    I am very sorry to hear what has happened. I can understand that you must feel very distressed about the way that the class teacher reacted.

    OK, it went wrong, If a pupil had done some task and it went wrong, would you expect the teacher to react in that way?

    You should not be treated in that way; the possible mitigating factor is that the teacher, like so many others, is under stress herself due to pressures from above, even from outside school.

    I hope that some sort of reconciliation is possible to enable you to be happy at work. You have an enormous amount of experience, an inordinately long record of service to the school and its pupils, something that should make you very proud indeed.

    People like you deserve thanks, not storming out of classrooms and the cold shoulder.

    Best wishes

  7. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    Hi dobble

    So sorry this has happened. Very wise words from pepper and TheoGriff - there's not much I can add to them. I really do hope this situation can be resolved amicably and professionally (especially as you have such a long history at the school). School politics can be very tricky and every school is different; is there a member of the teaching staff you have a good relationship with that you could talk to? Someone who knows your class teacher and might be able to suggest the best way forward?

    Best wishes - and hope tomorrow is a better day for you
    pepper5 likes this.
  8. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    I think you need to be careful not to escalate this further. You've been put in a bad position and shouldn't have been "punished" as a result but you need to take the emotion out of the equation. You obviously feel personally slighted that your teacher ignored you but focusing on that feeling has meant you've made the perhaps rash decision never to cover again.

    I think you need to sit down calmly with the DH or even the HT, explain that emotions in general were running high and that you'd like to find a way to move forward. By all means speak to your union but be careful because making it official can force people to defend their positions more strongly than otherwise. You don't want to get past the point where a cup of tea and common sense can resolve the problem.
    pepper5 likes this.
  9. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    You say you are 'often' used to cover the class. How often?

    The CT behaved atrociously by telling you the work was shocking and storming out. I have left work with TAs but would never expect it to be done exactly the way I wanted it and would never berate them for it. If, after 19 years, you're not capable of covering effectively then you should not be covering at all and/or being given a lot of help. To 'go off on one' because one set of work wasn't top-quality is ridiculous. Silly, silly woman.

    But you're established. You had a not great lesson. The CT imploded. I'd say she's more 'in the wrong' but blame game is such an unattractive pursuit.

    Really - try to let it wash over you. As TA to a mate of the HT you are not in the greatest position and what can realistically be done? You want her to apologise? Would that really make a big difference? Or do you genuinely feel that your confidence has suffered and you can't take the class for fear you'll mess it up and get into more trouble? Or is it more that your nose is out of joint? I wouldn't blame you but maybe just let it go? This time.
    wanet likes this.
  10. lunarita

    lunarita Lead commenter

    What an absurd situation! In your position, OP, I'd have been tempted to say 'On I am sorry I didn't do it as well as you would have, but I don't have the training or qualifications (or salary) that you have, I'm just a TA'

    But then I'm my own worst enemy sometimes and as has been said above, you don't really want to escalate things.

    Sending sympathy
  11. Landofla

    Landofla Established commenter

    Omg one lesson didn't go the way the class tchr wanted... SO WHAT? That is what I'd have to say to her and any SMT who were bothered. This whole situation has come about because that tchr is so petty. I really feel for you. Be glad that you don't have to cover anymore. I bet the other TA is so worried now.
    dobble and pepper5 like this.
  12. ellephantf

    ellephantf New commenter

    I would definitely be taking this further - you should never have been put in that position! If I were leaving something for a TA to do, it would be spelling test/Guided Reading/Reading comp work/art - something hands off that needed minimal input as I would be so grateful! To have only been left an outline is disgraceful... hope this gets sorted xxx
    dljames2013 and dobble like this.
  13. palmtree100

    palmtree100 Lead commenter

    Also you are doing far more than should be expected of a Level 2 TA. As a qualified HLTA with 19 years experience who is often left to cover classes, why are they paying you at Level 2?
    wanet likes this.
  14. Caligraphy

    Caligraphy Occasional commenter

    Bless you, I am sure you are doing what you feel to be right, but you are being asked to do a teachers job, and being humiliated because (and I'm sorry) you are not qualified or paid to do so, even after 19 years. They are able to cover classes and treat you so badly because they can - you are allowing it. You are saving them a small fortune on cover fees, and they don't even have the grace to say thank you. My own opinion, and it is just that, my opinion, I don't think that anyone other than a teacher with QTS should teach a class. I suggest you involve a union, say,'No' next time they tell you to teach, or find a new job. Or all three. Good luck.
  15. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    Tell the CT to have fewer meetings when they should be teaching, and to focus on what is important - teaching good lessons on a regular and consistent basis. You work for clowns.
    cazzmusic1 likes this.
  16. dobble

    dobble New commenter

    Thank you all for you brilliant replies! I feel that after such a long time in the job that my confidence has taken a huge, huge blow. I've only ever been employed at the school as a level 2 - I have applied for level 3 jobs that have come up internally only to be shot down and the job given to members of the HT's "inner circle". I agree I work for clowns but as I stated in another post I am in no position to just walk. I had cancer 3 three years ago, had chemotherapy and was very, very ill, my husband of 30 years walked out on me because "he couldn't cope", I am 57 and fear I am "past my prime". The chemo left me with slight impairment (some confusion, difficulty thinking sometimes) so I worry I could not get employment elsewhere. I agree I should put the Union contact on the back burner for now and see what happens but I am really not prepared to cover anymore and as a level 2 I shouldn't have to, should I? I am currently covering at least 6+ hours a week depending on the meetings.
  17. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    You're doing far too much cover.

    And now your confidence has taken a hit.

    You probably don't want (for many reasons) to go full on nuclear option so I'd tell the HT the teacher was right and that you weren't happy with the lesson and feel it's time you graciously AND FOR THE SAKE OF THE DARLING CHILDREN ;) didn't cover any more. It's obviously a Level 3 job ;) and you're not at that level and they're right to confine you to L2 duties!

    Let them stick that up their pipe and smoke it. You don't need the stress and you're not paid for it.

    Just portray it as YOU doing them a favour by not damaging the life-chances of the darling kiddykins and KNOWING YOUR PLACE. They can't argue with that. They'd have to back-pedal furiously and the CT might even have to apologise! So you should be home-free. If they want you to cover they have to grovel and reassure you that you're fab. Or you don't cover any more and have a more stress-free time at work.

    USE THIS to your advantage.

    ROSIEGIRL Lead commenter

    Sounds like a plan, grumpydogwoman!
  19. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    My way is a little (but only a little ) manipulative but still honest.

    I'm usually an all-guns-blazing kinda gal but there's more than one way to skin a cat. And I was the union rep and didn't give a sugar-plum fairy about anything except my class and my own life so I could afford to get bolshie. I know that not everyone can or that everyone wants to.
  20. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    If you weren't 57 (although technically this shouldn't stop you) I would say 'If you can't beat em, join em,' do a PGCE and get in the classroom yourself - and get paid properly for what you are effectively doing now!

    If you were a qualified teacher and the work was 'shocking,' maybe they would have a point but they cannot expect a TA to produce great work out of kids with post it note lesson plans! If the teacher wasn't so chummy with the Head, normally a Head would tear pieces out of any teacher leaving cover on a post-it!

    If it were me (not saying this is the best strategy,) I would be passive aggressive about it and blank the teacher and not return any form of 'Hello' until they sincerely apologise and frankly I don't know whether the relationship with that person would ever be fully repaired. You may have to forgive but jolly well not forget!

    I would perhaps request that you don't wish to TA for that teacher again until and if they apologise - and if they don't do that - if you can stomach it at your stage in your career (not to be ageist in any way but something like this would perhaps make me count the days until retirement!) look elsewhere rather than work for such muppets.

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