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Making the switch from teaching to teaching assistant

Discussion in 'Primary' started by beesknees71, Feb 11, 2010.

  1. beesknees71

    beesknees71 New commenter

    In an attempt to get a healthier work-life balance, I'm considering leaving my primary teaching job and applying for teaching assistant posts. I'm only in my second year of teaching but feel that perhaps it's time to call it a day. I work every weekend and most evenings and find it so difficult to switch off and enjoy life with my family (2 young children and a neglected hubby who holds the fort!)
    The sad thing is, I do feel that I am a good teacher most of the time and I get a real kick out of working with the children, but I feel teaching is just too demanding. The time has come for me to reclaim my evenings and weekends, for the sake of my family.
    Has anyone made the switch successfully?
    Any advice would be appreciated.
  2. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    And here's me at fifty-five and feeling guilty for similar thoughts.
  3. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Sorry, but I think you lack backbone.
  4. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    That must have sounded harsh. It was the phrase 'time to call it a day' that grated.
  5. Why don't you try to get a part-time teaching job instead? That way you could keep the job that you enjoy doing, but still have more time for your family. I think full time teaching is incredibly demanding with young children, and you need to spend more time with them. You can't get it back. You might however regret becoming a TA a few years down the line when your children are older and you have made it harder for yourself to get back into teaching.
  6. beesknees71

    beesknees71 New commenter

    It's about priorities. Proving that I have a backbone and can cope with the stress of teaching seems far less important than being there for my family.
  7. tangerinecat

    tangerinecat New commenter

    After my second child I took an HLTA job because the hours were more family friendly and there was a heck of a lot less responsibility. The money wasn't great, and we had to tighten our belts a bit, but we were fine. If you think its for you - do it. Teaching is stressful, and family should come first.
    Inky - are you OK today? You seem a tad grumpy...[​IMG]

  8. beesknees71

    beesknees71 New commenter

    Hi Tangerinecat
    Thanks for the suggestion. HLTA may be a good move for me.....I'll investigate further.

  9. Katie777

    Katie777 New commenter

    I also think you should consider part time. The part time teachers in my school are quite relaxed and energetic even at the end of term, unlike me! Teachers pay is good, HLTA pay is ****. I was looking at a 0.4 and worked out that by September (I am also currently in my second year) that would pay getting on for £10,000 gross (very roughly) for 2 days work! That's amazing money for so few hours and it would of course go up every year. As a HLTA I don't know whether you would get that even working a full week and your salary wouldn't increase in the same way. Teaching seems like a great job to do part time.
  10. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    I have flu so you're probably right.
    I just can't understand how someone can do all that work and studying and then 'call it a day' after a year.
  11. I also think you should consider part time teaching, as you would reduce your working hours and workload, but keep a halfway decent amount of money. If you were a full time teaching assistant you would still be working 5 full days a week, but for a lot less money. I think you would probably find yourself bored as well, I have a student at the moment and am finding not teaching my class incredibly boring, I just can't bear sitting in there supporting children for any length of time as there isn't enough to do!
  12. I agree with the posters who say go part time rather than take the TA route. If you are enjoying the actual teaching, you would be driven crazy by sitting in on other people's lessons ("Oh goodness, he hasn't made THAT very clear", "I wouldn't have dealt with this objective in this way" etc etc).
    However, be warned, you will STILL work full time (by most people's definition) but at least the planning, marking and prep can be done whilst your kids are at school rather than eating into your evenings and weekends as it does now. It worked great for me in my last year of teaching - you do need a good job-share partner though!
    An alternative (if you love one particular subject) is to move to covering PPA time with, say ART or MUSIC or PE or RE or any of the other subjects that some class teachers shy away from! At my old school we used to have one science specialist and one music specialist covering our PPA in a purposeful way.
  13. paulie86

    paulie86 New commenter

    I agree with others suggestions. What about supply? Bet a couple of days supply a week would easily exceed a TA salery and you would only work the hours you were there, no planning. (Marking if you do it properly, although no one who has ever covered me has!)
  14. I would definately recommend supply teaching as that is what I have been doing for the last 12 years. You can choose which schools you work at and what age you'd like to teach, no staff meetings, no planning, you can have a day off when you feel like it, you can go on holiday when you like and when holidays are a lot cheaper, if you feel stressed you can have a week off, If a school/teacher/class is not very nice you never have to go back there etc. It's great I really enjoy the variety too. The down side is you earn a lot less money I find, especially if you work in Wales, but hey it's worth it.
    Oh and I never leave a school without completing all the marking and I'm sure my regular schools would not have me back if I didn't! My advice would be if a supply teacher doesn't do marking your school should complain to the agency and refuse to have them back, as in my experience there are lots of good supples out there who will complete all marking.
  15. As a HLTA people in complementing me on my teaching skills people often ask why I I don't become a "proper" teacher ?From where I'm standing I'm in a good position to see every reason why not,mainly to do with the pressures placed on teachers and the endless demands made on them.So I quite understand why the original question was mooted.However ,I agree that the part-time teaching route is the best way.Don't get me wrong,I love my job and I get a lot of satifaction and variation.I still though pressure myself to do the best for the children which can lead to planning at weekends and letting my worklife balance suffer .No matter though how professional I am in what I do ( PPA cover,extra curricular activities,governor etc etc) there will always be those who look down their judgemental noses at a member of the support staff teaching.A qualified teacher would not relish this anymore than I do.Hang on to what you have achieved and the respect that goes with it.Good luck.
  16. charlotte2798

    charlotte2798 New commenter

    I've got 2 young children and have done supply - which is great as there is no planning and staff meeting etc, <u>but</u> the income is unreliable and you don't feel part of a team. I now have a 2 day a week contract covering PPA (with my own PPA for an afternoon every other week) and I think it's just the right balance for work and home life. The schools generally let you choose which subjects you want to teach, so you only plan things you know about. I DO spend another school day a week planning in my own time - but it's only whilst the girls are at school and I can still walk the dog, clean, cook and do all the other boring but necessary stuff of family life. Another benefit is that I can choose the few staff meetings I want to go too, don't have parents' evenings and have no commitment to INSETS on my days off, unless I want to go.
    I have considered a teaching assistant post but I think I'd be frustrated and very critical of any teacher I work with!
    Good luck - I can really appreciate what you're going through and, having recieved my first part time pay cheque for last month, can say emphatically that I will never go back full time. My family is more important.

  17. beesknees71, I really feel that you should try and stick at it. I've nearly finished my training as a primary teacher and you devote so much time and effort to passing your course, it does seem a shame to pack it all in so quickly. I have been teaching each day recently while I've been on placement and initially I would spend all night planning. I was teaching up to 4 lessons a day. You soon learn though, which things make you waste time and how to overcome it. For me and others will probably do it differently, especially if you're working 5 days a week and want to relax at weekends with family, I try to get all of my work done at the weekend like all my marking and planning, so that I have the evenings during the week just to do marking. For me, it's a comfort to know that all my resources are prepared and ready for each lesson during the week and all my planning is done. That's a way which works for me. I also set myself time deadlines all the time to do things. I'm sure you're perfectly competetent and organised. I'm just trying to say what works for me. Anyway, I use a timer and if you know you only have a certain amount of time to get a task done, you make sure you get it done in that time. For me, it's a bit stressful but it really helps to get me motivated enough to keep working and get everything done. It really works well for me so it's well worth giving a go. Basically just try really making the most of every minute. Maybe you could make yourself a schedule and plan for both family time and work time. If you stick to this (as far as possible, because we all know things crop up) then at least this may help. Make time each week for family time. It could be a set time each week/day. It's just about having a work, life balance. I used to let work take over my life but if you really try to balance the two and set yourself special deadlines and things (i always say to myself it has to be done by this time!) this helps to achieve this.

    All I'm saying is that you should try different things before packing full-time teaching in and if this is still not working, then you need to do what's right for you.
    I hope that this has helped in some way and wish you the best of luck. I'm only a trainee, but I do have a lot of teaching experience and do try to help people if I can.

  18. Hi beesknees71
    I totally sympathise with your predicament as I was recently in a very similar position. After almost 20 years considering teaching I finally took the plunge and did my PGCE. I was elated to get a job immediately and I knew how lucky I was when many of my friends were still applying for anything and everything. The harsh reality however was that I had never been so unhappy - despite working part time. I spent every day off, every evening and every weekend sat on my laptop planning, or marking, assessing, preparing resources etc. It was relentless and I couldn't see how it would ever change. The penny dropped when my 10 yr old son said "I know you're my mum cos you always will be, but you're not around much anymore, and when you are, it's like you're not there anyway". Says it all really. What's the point in being the most fantastic, dedicated teacher if your own kids don't know you, you never speak to your husband anymore and you have no time for any social life?
    On a positive note I resigned from my teaching job, took a month to contemplate what was important and started applying for TA jobs. I'm so lucky to be starting my new job as a TA after half term. I've met my class teacher who seems lovely and is keen to involve me in team teaching and share ideas with me. The new school is a woderful, happy, supportive place and I know that will make me happy. Perhaps the money will be rubbish, but at least I won't pay much tax. And most importantly of all, I'll have my family back and they are the most important thing in the world to me and always will be.
    Follow your heart and choose what is right for you and your circumstances. You can always go back to teaching if you want to in a few years time when your children ae more independent, but you can never recapture those missed years. What will you regret most in life? We are all different but I can honestly say I have never been happier (even if I was totally terrified at the time of making my decision).
    Good luck.
  19. Maybe before you leave or go part time, look for ways that cut your 'homework' time. I know many teachers who do not take their work home with them. This means planning activities that are selfsustaining with less marking (like reader's and writer's workshop) and fewer worksheets. Think assessment rather than marking every piece of work they do (though not sure what grade you're in...this is easier in primary probably). Ask for advice from other teachers as to how they get more done at school and keep from bringing things home. Designate certain days/times for planning and stick to them. The more routine you have in your class, they less you have to plan. I'd hate to see you give it up and then miss it (I agree with posters who say you'd have a hard time sitting and listening to others lessons...I sure would) and subbing is not for everyone. Unless you've done subbing and know what you're in for. Subbing is great for not having responsibilities, but it also means you have no control over anything. It works for some and not for others. Good luck!
  20. Job sharing is the way to go! All the advantages of being a teacher with the added advantages of part time work. You get a close colleague to let off steam to and share the workload but still have control of what happens in class. I did it in a variety of schools (including small village primaries and large town ones y6 to reception including whole KS classes) for 23 years while my 3 children were at home. Now back full time as all 3 have flown the nest and I need to get my pension up. I'd recommend it to anyone.


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