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English TA position seems confusingly vague after my interview

Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by midnightsun1, Aug 25, 2020.

  1. midnightsun1

    midnightsun1 New commenter

    I applied for an English TA position within a Secondary School. I have a First Class English Literature degree and my passion is within the subject. This role seemed perfect before deciding whether to do my PGCE. I would be able to gain some experience and teach 1:1 or in small groups a subject I know a lot of about.

    The interview, however, was confusing. When asked if the TA position was solely within the English department, I was notified that I would be mostly in English, but not completely. I would be expected to cover some lessons - OK, fine. But this was not just within English Language and English Literature, which is what I applied for. I could be asked to cover in many lessons across the curriculum if staff are absent (including Geography and History). This was not the role I applied for. This seems like it is a Supply Teacher/Cover Supervisor role across the whole school. I have never known a subject specific TA to cover other subjects. They have always assisted that particular department.

    Is this typical for a TA subject specific role?
  2. Corvuscorax20

    Corvuscorax20 Lead commenter

    I was a subject specific TA and just covered what ever I was told to cover, as I have when working in any school position
    midnightsun1 likes this.
  3. midnightsun1

    midnightsun1 New commenter

    Thank you - I had no idea being a subject specific TA entailed cover across the whole curriculum.
  4. sooooexcited

    sooooexcited Established commenter

    It is typical. I once was appointed as an early years teacher and was given Y6 due to staff leaving. You're employed to be a TA so they can use you in any department for any group/student/classes.

    If you cover, you'll be given work to do and you'll just have to get through it as best as you can.

    Congratulations and good luck with the new job.
  5. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    It sounds pretty typical to me. Hopefully it will be 'mostly in English' but it will be good experience and should help you decide whether to go for a PGCE.

    It's even more difficult than usual for SLTs to give definite timetables in the present uncertain situation. We employed a PE specialist TA with coaching qualifications to cover PPA in several classes. We're primary and not having anyone working across bubbles, so this TA is going to be working as a general class TA in one class - nothing like the original job description. Crazy times and we all have to adapt as best we can.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  6. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I also would expect an English position to cover most subjects across the curriculum. After all English falls not only into Humanities subjects such as History, Geog; and Art, but also Science and to some extent Maths. In fcat I can't think of a specific subject which does not include it. Even PE/ games involves understanding of English/.
    Perhaps you need to think in terms of it being a position where a TA is helping children who have difficulties processing, understanding or writing within the English language.
    Catgirl1964 and sunshineneeded like this.
  7. celago22

    celago22 Established commenter

    How is your school covering teachers ' PPA?
    sunshineneeded likes this.
  8. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    Three classes have an HLTA; they cover PPA in their classes. Job shares can work out cover between them, and the remaining few classes will have PPA covered by non class based SLT. Somehow it's been worked out on paper ... who knows how it will work in practice!
  9. celago22

    celago22 Established commenter

    That sounds logical but let's see if it works!
    sunshineneeded likes this.

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