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Info to share with TA

Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by celago22, Aug 25, 2018.

  1. celago22

    celago22 Established commenter

    Hello all,
    I have a good idea as to the information I need to share with my TA at the beginning of the year. I also wanted to get some thoughts from TAs. What information about the class, lessons etc do you expect from the class teacher at the beginning of the year?
  2. hubcap

    hubcap New commenter

    I would like them to tell me who (as in which group) I will be working with the most, any difficulties they have and I really do appreciate a lesson plan or a rough copy of the skills, learning objective, ect. I would like to know how the teacher is expecting to use the behaviour system so that we are singing from the same hymn sheet and I would like to know which tasks she wishes me to do on a daily basis, e.g., displays, marking, labelling. Also the time given to do any tasks would be nice.
    Some TAs are not bothered about much more than that but I would like to know where the children are level wise too.
    Hope that helps!
  3. celago22

    celago22 Established commenter

    Thank you hubcap! I think I'm along the right lines (I hope).
  4. peter12171

    peter12171 Star commenter

    I think it depends whether you’re in primary or secondary. I guess in primary you would be used a lot more for marking, preparing displays and you’d probably have more chance to discuss lesson plans with the teacher.

    In secondary you oftn have very little chance to see lesson plans beforehand and you’re more likely to be assigned to a specific child in the group. In that case you might find out more from other TAs who have worked with them before and from the notes about them that the SENCO will have.
    celago22 likes this.
  5. celago22

    celago22 Established commenter

    I'm a primary NQT so was just wondering what TAs expect. I'm conscious of using my TA for displays etc, I personally think things like that should be shared out and I don't want her to think she is getting the menial jobs.
    In terms of behaviour I'm happy for my TA to be an equal and reprimand and praise just as I do, is that fair?
    pepper5 likes this.
  6. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    Celago, you are definitely on the right lines here. Yes, your TA does need to be able to use whatever rewards and sanctions your school uses, in the same was as you do - otherwise you will find every little problem comes to you! I would agree with everything hubcap has said. You need to build a 'team' ethos (your TA(s) will really appreciate this) while always remembering that you are the teacher and TAs work under your direction. It works really well if you can find time for a short weekly team meeting - even if it's only 20 minutes in an assembly. You can then let her know about the next week's plans, target children she will be working with, forthcoming trips, important jobs that need doing - any information you want to share. You can also talk about medium term plans and ask if she has any ideas. You mention displays; I think it's really important to use individual strengths. You might have a TA who is brilliant at displays and loves doing them - great! But it may be something they really struggle with; then you're probably wasting your time - but they might be football enthusiasts and really good at organising skills practice and matches - in which case, let them lead PE occasionally. Building a strong professional relationship with your TA team will pay massive dividends. Good luck with your NQT year and keep posting - there are lots of people here very willing to help!
    celago22 likes this.
  7. celago22

    celago22 Established commenter

    Thank you for your guidance. I think I am just a little anxious because the TA is a lot older than me and I don't want to go in teaching her how to suck eggs or indeed undermine her experience. I want her to know that I value her feedback given how experienced she is but equally I don't want my authority to be undermined by a TA, which I fear could happen. So I want to make sure that I start the professional relationship on the right foot.
  8. LeftTheBuilding

    LeftTheBuilding Occasional commenter

    It's not just what you do; it's also how you do it. Authenticity, humility, humour, respect and communication are essential to building a positive working relationship with a colleague. Just be yourself and be willing to ask your TA for help.

    Unfortunately, the culture in some schools may make this difficult, especially if TAs and teachers are not accorded equal respect by SLT. Divide and rule is the name of the game.
    celago22, Trekkie and sunshineneeded like this.
  9. celago22

    celago22 Established commenter

    Very true, Bumptious! I think it will be fine but possibly a bit weird with the age and challenging with the age gap.
  10. LeftTheBuilding

    LeftTheBuilding Occasional commenter

    Age is just a number. Your TA will be used to working with a variety of teachers. I've always been impressed by the NQTs I've worked with, many of whom were only a few years older than my own children! Remember, we're there to support you and we have the children's best interests at heart.
    celago22 and sunshineneeded like this.
  11. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    celago, please don't worry too much about the age gap. I'm close to retirement now and, for the last three years, have worked alongside teachers half my age! Yes, it can feel a little strange at first - but I totally respect their qualifications, fresh ideas, QTS and know that they are 'in charge', whereas I know they value and appreciate my skills and many years of experience. You are giving it a lot of thought and understand the possible pitfalls - I'm sure you will be fine and quickly build a great rapport with your TA.

    Bumptious, my current class teacher is 8 years younger than my youngest child …….!!!
    celago22 and Bumptious like this.
  12. hs9981

    hs9981 Established commenter

    TA's should expect what you expect. If you go in with this equality nonsense, it will end in tears (and them talking about how much less they earn than you).

    Get a job application form ready from ASDA or another supermarket. Keep it in your drawer. The day they moan about their low pay or how they're being asked to do too much, wap it out and give it to them!

    Job done! ;)
    celago22 likes this.
  13. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    Love this ;) saw my senior TA do exactly that to a new TA last term!
    celago22 likes this.
  14. celago22

    celago22 Established commenter

    Thank you for the replies. I think it's natural to believe that someone older, experienced and knowledgeable about the class may try to undermine me and I really just want a positive working relationship.

    When I spoke to class for transition day I was very much inclusive of the TA as a second teacher so lots of my language was "We expect..." "We will..." is this correct or should I change my language to "I expect..." or maybe I'm over thinking a trivial point.

    I see the point about pay but I don't think that matters. I really value what TAs do and I don't think they're paid enough. On the other hand, I need to get the balance right of what I do and what my TA does. Hoping to get time before term starts to talk through expectations etc. For example I would like her to keep a record of children's progress and annotate my plans with feedback etc.

    I've made a list of things to discuss with my TA. I think I am just worried about going in and trying to change things, so as much as possible I think it would make sense for her to do what she did last year. She can tell me her expectations of me and then I can add in my expectations and talk through behaviour management strategies etc
  15. StarbucksCovfefe

    StarbucksCovfefe Occasional commenter

    1. If its any reassurance, I've never experienced a TA trying to undermine a teacher. I'm not saying it cannot happen, but I think the job roles and expecatations are pretty clear, and an experienced TA is probably a great TA, and understands their role in the room, and yours.

    2. I've never said we. Unless in early years. I'm the teacher, and the class is my responsibility. It's definitely an 'I' in my room. I have rarely found children who 'listen' in quite the same way to a TA, like they do with their teacher. Again, it may happen, but I've not seen it. The teachers job is to ensure that they support their TA, and ensure anything is followed up. The buck stops with me.

    3. Do not try and 'do what she did last year'. Remember most TAs are used to each year changing a lot. That's the job. I love asking a good TA how things were done, and asking what worked well, and what they enjoyed. Use their knowledge definitely! But its your classroom, and maybe last year things weren't as good as they could have been? We can't know that. You're the teacher, and the TA will be waiting to recieve instruction from you.
  16. celago22

    celago22 Established commenter

    Thank you for your reply. I think that's a good approach, to ask what worked well last year and how we can work in partnership. I think I just need to be strong and remember that I have the control in the classroom. I just feel like like I don't have much control, maybe it will come quickly.
  17. StarbucksCovfefe

    StarbucksCovfefe Occasional commenter

    I'm sure it will come quickly. You are in control. You have basically all the control, once the door is closed! Your room, your rules!
  18. celago22

    celago22 Established commenter

    That's the scary bit! Haha. But I'm sure it will be fine. I guess children will feel safe if they see that I am in control.
  19. StarbucksCovfefe

    StarbucksCovfefe Occasional commenter

    You're their teacher. They look to you for everything. You're in control from the first minute of the first day!

    It will be fine. Do you have experiences from your training were you remember feeling in complete control, and fabulous? Channel that!
  20. celago22

    celago22 Established commenter

    Only a few! On my final placement I was undermined by the class teacher a lot, even when it wasn't necessary for her to intervene. However on transition day my class responded well to me and I felt in control, which was nice. Hopefully that will last. Then again on first day of term I'll be a nervous wreck and probably won't feel too much in control :confused:

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